Monday, July 15, 2013

Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

'Meditations' is split into twelve books, each one again split into numbered sections.  The overall length is fairly short but it took some time for me to get through it.  After twenty or so of the sections, I found it hard to concentrate on more.  I was too busy chewing on what had already been written.  I could only do about half of a 'book' at a time.  If I read it again, I'd rather do so over a much longer period of time.  If anyone reading this is thinking of working the way through the list, I'd suggest tackling 'Meditations' bit by bit while reading through the earlier pieces of the second year.
Is it good?  In some ways it's fantastic.  It would be easy to take parts of Marcus Aurelius and form a pretty good motivational course.  He writes about how:
" endure labor; nor to need many things; when I have anything to do it myself rather than by others; not to meddle with many businesses; and not easily to admit of any slander."
Which all seems pretty useful.  He was, of course, one of the most prominent speakers of the Stoic philosophy.  (There's a pretty good post on the differences between the Stoics and the Epicureans here.)  It's not always a comfortable philosophy but cultures that have employed it have been wildly successful.  I'm thinking mostly of the Romans and the English empires.) 
The books themselves repeat several themes over and over.  I'll cover some of them in the next couple of weeks.  I didn't find all of these things convincing, but there is a ton of wisdom in 'Meditations'.  All in all, it's a wildly quotable book.  You could easily make a 'Meditations' page a day calendar, but I don't know if it would sell today.
More to come!


  1. Yeah, Meditations was clearly not meant to be read at the pace we were reading it. A Meditations daily calendar is a great idea. I would buy it, for one. Thanks for the plug btw. ;)

    1. I did a quick check and I don't see such a calendar available. Wonder how much it would cost to publish...