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The Essential Marcus Aurelius (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions) Paperback – January 10, 2008
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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)
The introduction was very readable and I enjoyed it almost as much as the text. The translator is a deft philosopher as well as translator. The translator notes that some sayings and sections have been cut out as they are highly debated and require more commentary to decode than this particular version can accommodate. I found I was okay with that. This is an introduction, and while it is of a scholarly quality, I do not think it is for serious scholars. There is no extensive commentary and precious few footnotes
But that's the great thing about this text, you don't have to have any degrees or prior knowledge to understand and comprehend Aurelius' insight. It is the most accessible and practically applicable philosophical text I've ever read. Aurelius reached out to the philosopher in every human and shared his wisdom without pomp.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent, thought provoking book. I had to keep reminding of his station and position in life.Published 9 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 15 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 19 months ago by Lane B.