Friday, July 5, 2013

Bookworming: Meditations

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, ***
I find it hard to assign a rating to something like Marcus Aurelius's meditations. They are clearly the journal entries of a man struggling to define, or perhaps maintain, his own equanimity in the face of the struggles he met with daily. There is much philosophy here to be cherished, and much to be discarded. His thoughts may not be your thoughts. Along the way through my life, one of the things I have discovered is that examining what other people believe can be a good way to help you figure out what you believe yourself. And that, I believe, is the value of Meditations.

A dense read, as are most translated works, it took me quite a while to make it through the less than one hundred pages. This is not something for everyone, and I wouldn't even call it an enjoyable read. But it is somewhat reassuring to see that every man, even Roman emperors, struggle in their day to day lives to rise above the pervasive mess that is life. Come for the Stoic philosophy, if that interests you, finish for the underlying humanity that required the emperor to remind himself what he should be striving for.

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