Marcus Aurelius


"Do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored.”

Ryan Holiday : The 16 Greatest Lessons From 16 Years With Marcus Aurelius -

  1. It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character.
  2. To accept without arrogance, to let it go with indifference. aka Receive without pride, let go without attachment.
  3. Philosophy is designed to help us deal with the difficulties of life
  4. Stoicism into three distinct disciplines (perception, action, will) ... See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must
  5. “Go straight to the seat of intelligence,” and, “Mastery of reading and writing requires a master. Still, more so life.” - RG Robert Greene
  6. “No man steps in the same river twice,” Heraclitus
  7. “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Memento Mori
  8. Books are investments
  9. Marcus has a wonderful phrase for the approval and cheering of other people. He calls it “the clacking of tongues” — that’s all public praise is
  10. “The student as a boxer, not a fencer.” Why? Because the fencer has a weapon they must pick up. A boxer’s weapons are a part of him, he and the weapon are one. Same goes for knowledge, philosophy and wisdom.
  11. “It stares you right in the face,” Marcus writes. “No role is so well suited to philosophy as the one you happen to be in right now.”
  12. Almost every other piece of literature is a kind of performance — it’s made for the audience. Meditations isn’t. In fact, their original title (Ta eis heauton) roughly translates as To Himself.
  13. A great rhetorical exercise from Marcus goes essentially like this: “Is a world without shameless people possible? No. So this person you’ve just met is one of them. Get over it.” It’s something I try to remind myself every time I meet someone who frustrates or bothers me.
  14. “contemptuous expressions” - see these things as they really are, to “strip away the legend that encrusts them.”
  15. Pierre Hadot’s excellent book The Inner Citadel - an explicit explanation of a Stoic exercise he calls “turning obstacles upside down.” - the obstacle is the path
  16. Gregory Hays favorite passage “Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone–those that are now and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the ‘what’ is in constant flux, the ‘why’ has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us — a chasm whose depths we cannot see.”

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