Read: July 2022
Inspiration: What were Marcus Aurelius’ famous writings? Why is he so frequently discussed in Stoicism?
Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.
“Meditations” is a book of philosophical musings written by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. It is considered one of the most important works of Stoic philosophy, and has had a lasting influence on Western thought. The book is a series of personal reflections written in the form of short essays, in which Aurelius grapples with questions about the nature of the universe, the role of the individual within it, and the Stoic approach to living a virtuous life. Throughout the book, Aurelius emphasizes the importance of living in accordance with reason and virtue, and of not being swayed by external circumstances or the opinions of others. He also advises readers to cultivate an inner sense of peace and contentment, and to focus on what they can control rather than worrying about things beyond their control.
Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.
Book 1: do not be satisfied with superificial understanding of a book, be quick to pacify not to anger/judgment, approach all with cheerfulness and humility/understanding, embrace contiual investigation and reassessment of ideas, Book 2: recognize you will encounter those who are angry/ugly but that is not to impact your mental state, Book 3: every man lives only his present time—rest of life is past or uncertain, recognize brevity of life and posthumous fame, do not profit at expense of others or broken promises, Book 4: life is opinions, looking inward to reflect is key to tranquility and steadiness, take away opinion and thus take away complaint, true beauty is in itself and not requires praise (unaffected), posthumous fame is fleeting as those you desire to remember you will die too and so on, observe what those considered wise both do and avoid, what is not good for the swarm is not good for the bee, be in the speakers mind as much as possible, Book 7: do not be disturbed by the futurr as you will approach it with same reason as you do the present, it is up to you to adapt to present condition and be tranquil, Book 8: do not receive wealth with arrogance and be ready to let it go, external things cause pain via own judgement of the thing—within one’s power to wipe out pain, can learn to accept things ninstead of endlessly question, Book 9: loss is change and change is nature, those who do bad do bad unto themselves as they become bad people, Book 10: aim to be rational (freedom from negligence), equanimity (acceptance of things above all), magnanimous (intelligence above pleasure or pain), Book 11: important to consider circumstance of other when they act as they do, carry a genuine kind disposition in the face of others acting bad (recognize it is your opinions that carry reality and other bad person is a person too), to expect bad men to not do wrong is madness—desire the impossible, to expect men to behave poorly to others and not to you is irrational, Book 12: everything is opinion and opinion is in your power, recognize the fleeting nature and brevity of life—things happens out of your control but you control your opinion of all