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The Essential Marcus Aurelius (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions) Paperback – January 10, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
No point naming names. They don't matter. If these people didn't vie for our attention --- and our rage, our envy and our amusement --- others would. Life is incessant. And busy. And it's been that way forever.
"Life is all warfare and a stranger's wanderings, and the reward is oblivion," Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) writes. His remedy:
Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors... To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming --- in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you --- means a loss of opportunity for some other task.
Marcus Aurelius was not the first to see the world as a play in which the characters chase after shadows, forget they are the leading actors of their own dramas and discover too late --- if at all --- that they have wasted their lives. And he was not the first to know what to do about it. But he was blunt and brief and non-judgmental, and the combination makes him stand out from other philosophers. Almost 2,000 years after his death, you can read him as if he published his book last week.
And not just read Marcus Aurelius. Re-read him. Like all great art, the "Meditations" change as you change --- the book you read in school is different at age 30, and completely fresh again at 60. Lucky is the reader who has one copy all his/her life.Read more ›
-- Alice R. Berntson, New Connexion Journal
For example, in 8.29:
"Master your impressions by continually saying this to yourself: 'Now it is in my power that within this soul there be no wickedness, appetite, nor any agitation at all. But, seeing things for what they truly are, I will make use of each one according to its real worth' Remember the power that you have been given by Nature"
Replacing "Nature" for "God" works on much of his writing.
Just reading the words "..nor any agitation at all" makes one realize that letting go of the inner agitations is all it takes to find your center again.
The Essential Marcus Aurelius (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions)
That's a noble goal, I guess, but enough has been left out that it makes me wary of what's been left in. In other words, is this really Marcus Aurelius, or is it more Needleman and Piazza?
What's in this slim volume is just fine, a combination of Hellenistic Stoicism and August Comte ("this is the best of all possible worlds"), and the translation is crisp and readable. Marcus Aurelius, who spent most of his time as emperor fighting off barbarians far from Rome, was profoundly influenced by the Stoic thought that had developed over the past 400 years (he lived in the 2nd century CE). The goal was to live a happy, fulfilled life, and the Stoics argued that such a life was only possible in the haven of one's own mind. The body and the world were too full of pain and suffering to rely on, so a good Stoic would do his best (women were given short shrift in the ancient world) to rise above pain, suffering and bad luck by comforting himself with the knowledge that he was doing the best he could to act in a proper manner,
At the same time, Marcus Aurelius convinced himself that the universe was essentially good, and in fact, everything in it happened for the best, even though mere humans couldn't grasp the plan.
The philosophy expressed in "The Essential Marcus Aurelius" is not only durable but also useful, even if readers can't quite swallow all of an emperor's sunny view of life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent, thought provoking book. I had to keep reminding of his station and position in life.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a treasure of time thoughts on Life, Living and human values. It echoes the bible. The ancient vedic scriptures of India, the teachings of the Buddha and the like. Read morePublished 9 months ago by venkat bharathan
LOVE this book! I"ve bought multiple copies for many years so that we always have on hand. My husband loves to give this book to friends and business associates. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lane B.
Perhaps one of the smartest minds to exist, his simple dialect and sophisticated reasoning lead to an unsurpassed level of communicative clarity and expression of thought. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mackenzie