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Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9,879109540 (4.13)1 / 143
A new translation, the first in thirty-five years, of one of the most influential and admired books of the ages, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and emperor of Rome 161-180 A.D., few books have meant as much to as many as Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. It remains a life-enhancing work of the basics of Stoic doctrine, Aurelius's life and career, the recurring themes and structure of the work's ongoing influence.… (more)
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» See also 143 mentions

English (95)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
I read some quotes from this to my wife and she said, "It's like if Ecclesiastes got drunk and a party and started saying too much."

Don't let yourself forget how many doctors have died, after furrowing their brows over how many deathbeds. How many astrologers, after pompous forecasts about others' ends. How many philosophers, after endless disquisitions on death and immortality. How many warriors, after inflicting thousands of casualties themselves. How many tyrants, after abusing the power of life and death atrociously, as if they were themselves immortal.

How many whole cities have met their end: Helike, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and countless others.

And all the ones you know yourself, one after another. One who laid out another for burial, and was buried himself, and then the man who buried him - all in the same short space of time.

In short, know this: Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash.

To pass through this brief life as nature demands. To give it up without complaint.

Like an olive that ripens and falls.

Praising its mother, thanking the tree it grew on.

(IV.48) ( )
  exhypothesi | Mar 7, 2021 |
I first learned about Marcus Aurelius's Meditations when my World Literature teacher handed out mimeographed sheets to my twelfth grade high school class.

A year later I was in an Ancient Philosophy class at a small liberal arts college reading the Meditations. Shortly after, I purchased a antique copy with a 1902 gift dedication.

Inside is a vintage Wendy's napkin, yellow and red, on which I had written down favorite passages.

I was eighteen when I first read the entire Meditations. Fifty years later, seeing this annotated version in a new translation, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the work again.

My antique volume is stilted in language. "But do thou, I say, simply and freely choose the better, and hold on to it--" is one quote on that napkin. In this new version I read, "So, as I say, you must simply and freely choose the better course and stay with it."

The Preface introduces readers to Stoicism and the historical Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor whose military victories protecting belies the private man who would have chosen a life of contemplation. But, as Aurelius reminds himself often in these thoughts, we must uncomplainingly embrace our lot in life. And besides, nothing external can alter our command center and internal values. Unless we allow it.

It is that which I recall most being impressed with--the idea that what people think and do is their problem, and cannot affect me, unless I allow it. It gave me a great sense of control and also the freedom to think and act differently.

...remember that it's not people's actions that disturb our peace of mind...but our own opinions of their actions.~Notebook 11, Meditations

The Stoic world view embraced by Aurelius is moral and ethical, and divinely ordered. Life and death is a natural cycle, our bodily atoms reentering the matter of the universe, while our spirit had a brief pneumatic afterlife.

The present is all one has.~ from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Aurelius constantly reminds himself that we only have this moment in time; the past and the future is not ours. So every moment we must decide to live according to our 'command center' and Stoic values.

A core part of those values involves being a part of human society, showing fairness and forgiveness, for we are to serve one another.

Have I done something that contributes to the common good? Then I've been benefited.~from Mediations by Marcus Aurelius

Comfort and Pleasure should not affect our actions, we should not complain or become angry or lose control over our passions. We have no control over what happens to us. But we can control our response.

The notebooks were Aurelius's contemplation, self-examination, and a reminder to follow the discipline of Stoicism. There is repetition of ideas, references to well known Greek philosophers and to forgotten men.

I read an ebook. I could click on the footnote number and up popped the annotation for the passage, a very useful device. The notes greatly increased my understanding of the passage.

The translation is accessible and modern, sometimes even conversational as if the writer were talking to us.

At the start of the day tell yourself: I shall meet people who are officious, ungrateful, abusive, treacherous, malicious, and selfish. In every case, they've got like this because of their ignorance of good and bad....None of them can harm me, anyway, because none of them can infect me with immorality, nor can I become angry with someone who's related to me, or hate him, because we were born to work together, like feet or hands or eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. To work against each other is therefore unnatural--and anger and rejections count as "working against." ~Notebook 2, 1, Meditations The Annotated Edition

These teachings are as relevant today as in Roman times. We need to be continually reminded to "work together."

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Feb 26, 2021 |
This was a required book for a class on the literature of Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Charles Williams, which at first glance seems like an odd choice. But it was one of the best books I have ever read for a class, regardless of topic. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
I swear everytime I try to read a philosophical book I utterly fail out of boredom. It doesn't help that I could barely understand what was being said.

I'm obviously not cultured or mature enough to read this book so maybe I'll come to it... ( )
  arashout | Dec 13, 2020 |
A solid if slightly repetitive formulation of stoicism. ( )
  Neal_Anderson | Sep 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
The translation doesn't shrink from anachronism (there's talk of atoms) and sometimes verges on the new age: "Stay centred on that", "Let it hit you". But it's sparky and slangily readable, and for those who know Marcus only as the Richard Harris character in Ridley Scott's Gladiator, this is a chance to become better acquainted.

As a critic once said, the Meditations are an "unassailable wintry kingdom". But in the desert of 2003, their icy blasts are refreshing and restorative. They tell you the worst. And having heard the worst, you feel less bad.
 

» Add other authors (439 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marcus Aureliusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hays, GregoryTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Long, GeorgeTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ahonen, MarkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ķemere, InāraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brett, SimonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casaubon, MericTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cīrule, BrigitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clay, DiskinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collier, JeremyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García Gual, Carlossecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammond, MartinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hard, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hicks, C. ScotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hicks, David V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McPharlin, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Needleman, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Onayemi, PrenticeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piazza, John P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubene, MāraForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubenis, AndrisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segura Ramos, BartoloméTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staniforth, MaxwellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wester, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wittstock, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My grandfather Verus: Character and self control.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

A new translation, the first in thirty-five years, of one of the most influential and admired books of the ages, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and emperor of Rome 161-180 A.D., few books have meant as much to as many as Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. It remains a life-enhancing work of the basics of Stoic doctrine, Aurelius's life and career, the recurring themes and structure of the work's ongoing influence.

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Book description
Marcus Aurelius wrote 'Meditations' around 170 - 180, whilst on a campaign in central Europe, most probably in what is now Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
The 12 books that make up 'Meditations' were not written as an exercise in explaining his philosophy but rather as a personal notebook for self-improvement and study.
'Meditations' illustrates just how important the Stoic Epictetus was to Marcus as he quotes the Greek philosopher's famed 'Discourses' on more than one occasion. Epictetus was a legendary figure in Greek philosophy and many claim he is the greatest of the Stoics; texts that remain in existence from the period suggest that in his native Greece, he was even more popular than Plato.
As was previously mentioned, 'Meditations' was not written for public consumption but rather as an aid to personal development. Marcus wanted to change his way of living and thinking and to do this he embarked on a set of philosophical exercises. He would reflect on philosophical ideas and by writing them down and by repeating them he hoped to re-programme his mind and find his own philosophy to live by.One of the key exercises in the book discusses Marcus attempting to look at the world from 'the point of view of the cosmos' in a bid to try and look at life and the universe outside of the common and limited parameters of individual concerns.
“You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles located wholly in your judgment, and to possess a large room for yourself embracing in thought the whole cosmos, to consider everlasting time, to think of the rapid change in the parts of each thing, of how short it is from birth until dissolution, and how the void before birth and that after dissolution are equally infinite.”
Marcus Aurelius died on March 17, 180, in the city of Vindobona which was situated where Vienna is today.
Haiku summary
Live life with reason. / The cosmos doesn't need you. / Be still. Watch. Listen. (johnxlibris)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449337, 0141018828, 0143566326

Liberty Fund, Inc

2 editions of this book were published by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Editions: 0865975116, 0865975108

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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