Kurt McGann 11/12/11 Period 1 Mythology Hart Personal Meditations Section 1 Stoicism: “a systematic philosophy, dating from around 300 b. c. , that held the principles of logical thought to reflect a cosmic reason instantiated in nature. ” (dictionary. com). Marcus Aurelius (the author of “Meditations”) was a stoic as well as an emperor. The book he wrote was a collection of thoughts, things he advised himself to do, a piece reflecting his stoicism, and a personal diary of sorts. The kinds of things put into this book were sometimes crazy, sometimes contradictory, yet sometimes very true and insightful.
Marcus wasn’t a professional philosopher, and this comes out in his work, but he had an interesting way of living his life. His writings are very bold and thought stimulating, inspiring even, but sometimes held to be completely wrong by some readers. As a reader of Marcus’s work, I stand somewhere in between; both agreeing and disagreeing with certain aspects of his ideas. Marcus believed that we should be not as concerned with the things outside of our control, but to make ourselves happy and content with the things that we can control.
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Marcus believes in “things indifferent” , which is the belief of not being affected by events and happenings around us. In the case that you are affected by something out of your control Marcus says that the event is not to blame, but your perception of it is. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment”. I agree with what Marcus is saying here; that we are not effected by external events unless we allow them to do so.
This is a Stoic Ideal, and one I hold to be very true. Change. It can either be for better or for worse. This is one of the ideals of Marcus’s I’m not sure where I stand. Marcus makes a good point about change, that the only way to obtain the benefit of some things is too change them. “We shrink from change; yet is there anything that can come into being without it? What does nature hold dearer, or more proper to herself? Could you have a hot bath unless the firewood underwent some change? Could you be nourished if the food suffered no change?
Is it possible for any useful thing to be achieved without change? Do you not see, then, that change in yourself is of the same order, and no less necessary to nature? ” Many things we reap benefits from only come from the change of that item, as marcus explains. As well as getting benefits from change, we can also get cons. If we change things, such as law reforms, many will be mad, and just as many will be happy. So when it comes to change, it can leave bad effects just as well as it can leave good effects. Although Marcus has good intent, I can’t head all of his advice.
Marcus believed along with other things, that self-improvement was important over many a things. I agree that self-improvement is well, self-improvement; and by the nature of the phrase itself is a good thing. Marcus holds this true at a more extreme level, putting it before things that lead to your own happiness. If today was your last day to live (assuming you are certain it is your last day to live) and you had a responsibility to better yourself given to you before your death, Marcus would say to go through with that responsibility, even if it resulted in your own discomfort.
Marcus sees the improvement of one’s self would be more important than your own happiness, saying that dying a better person is better than dying content. I completely disagree with Marcus in this regard. If today was my last day, I would do as much as I possibly could to make my premature death not as tragic. In total, Marcus’s book has things I both agree with and don’t agree with, and some with both. Marcus spent time writing his book, and he deserves credit for his insight and good ideas. Although some ideals are not favored by some, his ideals are still of stoicism and still very intelligent.
He still lived a well lead life, and it was due to his ideals. Personal Meditations section 2 This is the part of this assignment I looked forward too, where I get to share some ideas I have had of myself. After reading “Meditations” I have a new idea on how to right out and express how I feel about this questionable world. 1: The world should not have any concern about an afterlife. Nobody has a sure answer as to what is going to happen after we die; this being said we should live our lives to the fullest, and make the best of the little time we have.
If there is a god, and there really is a heaven, when I arrive to the pearly gates I will bow my head and admit the error in my way and accept my sins. If I die and there is nothingness, then I know that a life of sin would not have mattered, as there was no higher power to judge my sins and what I did whilst alive. People should not be as concerned about what happens after death, as it leads to a life not as fully lived. 2: Those who try change others to fit their own ways are wrong in there ways. Forcing one to fit your lifestyle is one of the worst things a person can do to another.
Preachers try to convince others of their own ways, yet they don’t keep an open mind themselves. 3: If you want to try something new, but aren’t sure about the repercussions, try it anyway. If you try something new, then you might have a different way of looking at the rest of the world. Looking at this world with as many different perspectives as possible is the best way to get to know the most about this planet we live on. 4: The best way to live your own life is to go about it as robust as you can. Living your life loud and proud is the best way to live a good life. : we all have something in our life that completes us. For me it’s the piano. When I play piano, I feel a sense of completion and joy I haven’t ever felt. Everybody in this world has an equivalent to what the piano is to me, and we must all find that thing. This concludes the philosophies of my own that I’m going to write on this assignment. I have many more, but I do not want to right an entire book like Marcus has. The five I have written are of the most important to me, and the ones I wanted to share.