Du Nguyen's Reviews > Meditations

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
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it was amazing
bookshelves: owned

First of all I read the Gregory Hays translation which I think was pretty good and fairly easy to read.

Meditations is a book written by Marcus Aurelius who was the emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 A.D. to 180 A.D. As a Roman Emperor who presided the Roman Empire when it was still strong he has had some unique insight to life and we can consider ourselves lucky to even have this work of his as it was written by him and most likely for himself too.
As of such the book can sometimes seem a bit hard to follow as some of it references things that we have no chance of knowing now and the translator himself admits that he had to cut some sections because it would not make sense. Despite of this it remains one of the best resources on stoicism. Considering what he has lived through (early death of his father, war with Parthia, war with Dacia, rising trouble with the Germanic tribes) his legacy is still as one of the best Roman Emperors. This incredible feat requires a strong character and in Meditations you sense what underlies the actions of Marcus Aurelius.

The book is filled with great quotes and lines about the tenets of stoicism and is distilled by Marcus Aurelius as three things: perception, action and will. Marcus Aurelius explains about perception as such: "Disgust at what things are made of: Liquid, dust, bones, filth. Or marble as hardened dirt, gold and silver as residues, clothes as hair, purple dye as shellfish blood." This means that see things for what they really are and try not to put your own or others opinion in it.
Of action he writes: "treat this person as he should be treated." Of always doing what is right and in much tradition with the Roman duty.
Of will he writes that everyone should learn the art of acquiescence. This means to accept the things that are beyond your control.

The book itself is filled with many more writings about stoicism and reflects more on these three tenets and other aspects of stoicism. The book itself can be a bit hard to read through as it reads more like a stream of consciousness but I would recommend it to anyone curious about stoicism. If this book is just too hard to read through then you should check out Letters from a Stoic written by Seneca which is in letter style and more easily readable. But this and Seneca's work are both highly recommended by me.
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Quotes Du Liked

Marcus Aurelius
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius , Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Marcus Aurelius
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Reading Progress

November 1, 2014 – Shelved
Started Reading
November 2, 2014 – Finished Reading
December 6, 2014 – Shelved as: owned

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