“Remember how long you have put off these things; and how often you have neglected to use the opportunities offered you by the Gods. It is high time to understand what sort of whole you are a part of; and who that President in the universe is, from whom you flowed, as a small stream from a great fountain. There is a certain time appointed for you, which, if you don’t employ in making all calm and serene within you, it will pass away, and you along with it; and never more return.”
It is heartening to see that Marcus thought it necessary to remind himself of the same sorts of positions I also need. It’s shocking, really, how astute the classical Stoics’ observations on humanity were, that so many of them are as relevant in 300 BC Athens as AD 2018 America. This ‘equity in failing.’ I suspect, is one of the reasons his words still touch people nearly 2000 years after they were written. The struggles of a philosophically inclined monarch are analogues to my own, and probably to yours. It’s not because either of us is extraordinary in this respect, but because of the struggles of life as humans.
Meditations is probably the “core” Stoic text I re-read the least, but every time I dip back into it, I’m startled to find how poignant it is. Meditations is a work that speaks to something in me that often doesn’t get articulated, whereas Epictetus and Musonius speak directly to the logical sense of myself.
“Remember these things always: what the nature of the universe is: what thine own nature: and how related to the universe: What sort of part thou art, and of what sort of whole: and that no man can hinder thee to act and speak what is agreeable to that whole, of which thou art a part.”