Anand Patel's Reviews > Meditations

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
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's review
Oct 17, 2007

liked it
Read in October, 2007

It reads like a long affirmation and reaffirmation of Aurelius's beliefs, punctuated by very clever and thoughtful moments. A majority of it felt like a rather painful slog through repetitive discourses on Stoic philosophy. I certainly can't blame the author - it's clear that he never intended for this to be read by anyone other than himself. Nevertheless, there's clearly value in reading this book - I just wouldn't call it a page-turner.

I think the two most interesting parts of the book are (1) his fascination with the brevity/meaninglessness of life and (2) the obsession with performing his duty (in the grand scheme of the Universe sort of way). To me, those two ideas are pretty incompatible - if nothing matters, why should anyone care? And I think you can really see the author try to work through that contradiction. I don't think he ever reaches a real conclusion, but it's gratifying to see someone grapple with difficult ideas instead of presenting a simple, watered-down solution.
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