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September 27, 2012

‘Unfortunate am I that this has befallen me.’ No, quite the contrary: ‘Fortunate am I, that when such a thing has befallen me, I remain undisturbed, neither crushed by the present nor afraid of what is to come’. For such a thing could have happened to anyone, but not everyone would have remained undisturbed in the face of such a blow. So why is this a misfortune rather than something fortunate? Or do you generally say that human misfortune can lie in something other than a deviation from man’s true nature? And do you suppose anything to be a deviation from man’s nature if it does not conflict with the will of nature? Well then, you have learned to know what that will is. Can what has happened to you prevent you in any way from being just, high-minded, self-controlled, prudent, deliberate in your judgment, empty of deceit, self-respecting, free, or prevent you from possessing any of the qualities that, by their presence, make it possible for man’s nature to come into its own? So henceforth, in the face of every difficulty that leads you to feel distress, remember to apply this principle: this is no misfortune, but to fear it with a noble spirit is good fortune.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:19 PM

If one of the gods informed you, ‘You will die tomorrow or, at any rate, the day after tomorrow’, you would consider it no great matter whether it were the day after tomorrow rather than tomorrow, unless, indeed, you were a terrible coward, for the difference is minimal; so likewise, consider it no great matter whether you will die after many a long year rather than tomorrow.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:15 PM

What is worthy of our striving? This alone, a mind governed by justice, deeds directed to the common good, words that never lie, and a disposition that welcomes all that happens, as necessary, as familiar, as flowing from the same kind of origin and spring.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:13 PM

Love the art that you have learned and take your rest in it; and pass through the rest of your life as one who has entrusted all that he has, with a full heart, to the gods, and makes himself neither a tyrant nor a slave to any man.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:11 PM

And among the percepts which you keep most closely at hand for frequent reference, let the following be included: firstly, that things of themselves have no hold on the mind, but stand motionless outside it, and all disturbances arise solely from the opinions within us; and secondly, that all that you presently behold will change in no time whatever and cease to exist; and constantly reflect on how many such changes you yourself have already witnessed. ‘The universe is change, and life mere opinion.’

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:09 PM

Do not wander astray in your mind, but with regard to every impulse deliver what is right, and with regard to every idea that presents itself preserve your power of judgment.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:07 PM

Try living the life of a good man, and see how you fare as one who is well pleased with what is allotted to him from the whole and finds his contentment in his own just conduct and benevolent disposition.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:06 PM

Now consider this. Do not disturb yourself; strive to be simple. Someone is doing wrong? The wrong is to himself. Something has happened to you? That is good and well, for all that happens to you from the whole was ordained for you from the beginning and spun to be your fate. In short, life is brief, and you should profit from the present with prudence and justice. Be sober and yet relaxed.

The Meditations

Posted by amin at 12:03 PM

September 1, 2012

"Enlarge not thy destiny," said the oracle: "endeavor not to do more than is given thee in charge." The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation: and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine; property and its cares, friends, and a social habit, or politics, or music, or feasting. Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more, and drives us home to add one stroke of faithful work. Friends, books, pictures, lower duties, talents, flatteries, hopes, — all are distractions which cause oscillations in our giddy balloon, and make a good poise and a straight course impossible. You must elect your work; you shall take what your brain can, and drop all the rest. Only so, can that amount of vital force accumulate, which can make the step from knowing to doing. No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. 'Tis a step out of a chalk circle of imbecility into fruitfulness. Many an artist lacking this, lacks all: he sees the masculine Angelo or Cellini with despair. He, too, is up to Nature and the First Cause in his thought. But the spasm to collect and swing his whole being into one act, he has not. The poet Campbell said, that "a man accustomed to work was equal to any achievement he resolved on, and, that, for himself, necessity not inspiration was the prompter of his muse.

Emerson - Power

Posted by amin at 11:41 PM