Today’s selection hits three points:
- Marcus’ daily premeditation on adversity for dealing with others.
- An objective description of the body, and what the far more noble part of man is.
- A reminder on the Providential ordering of the cosmos, and what his work is and is not.
This selection in itself could be used as an example that these notes are a philosophical exercise, and not the workings of a depressive or addicted mind as some have claimed. All three of this have a common thread woven in them. These exercise are used to help Marcus, and by extension us, prepare himself for the realities of dealing with others as we find them. We also see a nod back to the Socratic position that all who do evil do so against their will, because they misunderstand the nature of the Good.
Marcus prepares himself to deal with the less-than-best in others, and it immediately follows with the why. There are two reasons for this:
- 1) These others who may fall short of their own best are still brothers in the Logos.
- 2) The wrongdoing of others doesn’t affect our own virtue.
Many of Marcus’ reminders are focused on his roles, which with his affection for the Discourses of Epictetus and his own personal situation is not surprising. He constantly reminds himself to put away distractions and focus on his obligations. A very interesting part of the Meditations is that we get to see how Marcus himself thought about his struggles, where his own impediments lay, and how he sought to work through them.