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June 25, 2022
July 8, 5022 U
   
     
 

 

 

 

MEDITATIONS

 

BY

MARCUS AURELIUS

 

 

[English Version]

edited by C.R. Haines

 

Copyright © 1918. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

LONDON, ENGLAND

 

 

 
     
     
 

PART 3

 
     
 

 

[Koine Greek]

198

BOOK VIII

1. This too serves as a corrective to vain-gloriousness, that

thou art no longer able to have lived thy life wholly, or even

from thy youth up, as a philosopher. Thou canst clearly

perceive, and many others can see it too, that thou art far from

Philosophy. So then thy life is a chaos, and no longer is it easy

for thee to win the credit of being a philosopher; and the facts of

thy life too war against it. If then thine eyes have verily seen

where the truth lies, care no more what men shall think of thee,

but be content if the rest of thy life, whether long or short, be

lived as thy nature wills. Make sure then what that will is, and

let nothing else draw thee aside. For past experience tells thee

in how much thou hast gone astray, nor anywhere lighted upon

the true life; no, not in the subtleties of logic, or in wealth or

fame or enjoyment, or anywhere. Where then is it to be found?

In doing that which is the quest of man's nature. How then shall

a man do this? By having axioms as the source of his impulses

and actions. What axioms? On the nature of Good and Evil,

shewing that nothing is for a man's good save what makes him

just, temperate, manly, free; nor any

199

[Koine Greek]

200

BOOK VIII (cont.)

thing for his ill that makes him not the reverse of these.


2. In every action ask thyself, How does this affect me?

Shall I regret it? But a little and I am dead and all is past and

gone. What more do I ask for, as long as my present work is

that of a living creature, intelligent, social, and under one law

with God?


3. What are Alexander and Gaius and Pompeius to Diogenes

and Heraclitus and Socrates? For these latter had their eyes

opened to things and to the causes and the material substance of

things, and their ruling Reason was their very own. But

those—what a host of cares, what a world of slavery!


4. Thou mayst burst thyself with rage, but they will go on

doing the same things none the less.


5. Firstly, fret not thyself, for all things are as the Nature of

the Universe would have them, and within a little thou shalt be

non-existent, and nowhere, like Hadrianus and Augustus.

Secondly, look steadfastly at the thing, and see it as it is and,

remembering withal that thou must be a good man, and what the

Nature of man calls for, do this without swerving, and speak as

seemeth to thee most just, only be it graciously, modestly, and

without feigning.


6. The Nature of the Universe is charged with this task, to

transfer yonder the things which are here, to interchange them,

to take them hence and convey them thither. All things are but

phases of

201

[Koine Greek]

202

BOOK VIII (cont.)

change, but nothing new-fangled need be feared; all things are

of the wonted type, nay, their distributions also are alike.


7. Every nature is content with itself when it speeds well on

its way; and a rational nature speeds well on its way, when in its

impressions it gives assent to nothing that is false or obscure,

and directs its impulses towards none but social acts, and limits

its inclinations and its aversions only to things that are in its

power, and welcomes all that the Universal Nature allots it. For

it is a part of that, as the nature of the leaf is of the plant-nature;

with the difference however, that in the case of the plant the

nature of the leaf is part of a nature void both of sentience and

reason, and liable to be thwarted, while a man's nature is part of

a nature unthwartable and intelligent and just, if indeed it

divides up equally and in due measure to every one his quotas

of time, substance, cause, activity, circumstance. And consider,

not whether thou shalt find one thing in every case equal to one

thing, but whether, collectively, the whole of this equal to the

aggregate of that.


8. Thou canst not be a student. But thou canst refrain from

insolence; but thou canst rise superior to pleasures and pains;

but thou canst tread under thy feet the love of glory; but thou

canst forbear to be angry with the unfeeling and the thankless,

aye and even care for them.


9. Let no one hear thee any more grumbling at life in a

Court, nay let not thine own ears hear thee.


10. Repentance is a sort of self-reproach at some useful

thing passed by; but the good must needs be a useful thing, and

ever to be cultivated by the true

203

[Koine Greek]

204

BOOK VIII (cont.)

good man; but the true good man would never regret having

passed a pleasure by. Pleasure therefore is neither a useful thing

nor a good.


11. What of itself is the thing in question as individually

constituted? What is the substance and material of it? What the

causal part? What doeth it in the Universe? How long doth it

subsist?


12. When thou art loth to get up, call to mind that the due

discharge of social duties is in accordance with thy constitution

and in accordance with man's nature, while even irrational

animals share with us the faculty of sleep; but what is in

accordance with the nature of the individual is more congenial,

more closely akin to him, aye and more attractive.


13. Persistently and, if possible, in every case test thy

impressions by the rules of physics, ethics, logic.


14. Whatever man thou meetest, put to thyself at once this

question: What are this mans convictions about good and evil?

For if they are such and such about pleasure and pain and

what is productive of them, about good report and ill report,

about death and life, it will be in no way strange or surprising to

me if he does such and such things. So I will remember that he

is constrained to act as he does.


15. Remember that, as it is monstrous to be surprised at a

fig-tree bearing figs, so also is it to be surprised at the Universe

bearing its own particular crop. Likewise it is monstrous for a

physician or a steersman to be surprised that a patient has

fever or that a contrary wind has sprung up.

205

[Koine Greek]

206

BOOK VIII (cont.)

16. Remember that neither a change of mind nor a

willingness to be set right by others is inconsistent with true

freedom of will. For thine alone is the active effort that effects

its purpose in accordance with thy impulse and judgment, aye

and thy intelligence also.


17. If the choice rests with thee, why do the thing? if with

another, whom dost thou blame? Atoms or Gods? To do either

would be crazy folly. No one is to blame. For if thou canst, set

the offender right. Failing that, at least set the thing itself right.

If that too be impracticable, what purpose is served by imputing

blame? For without a purpose nothing should be done.


18. That which dies is not cast out of the Universe. As it

remains here, it also suffers change here and is dissolved into

its own constituents, which are the elements of the Universe

and thy own. Yes, and they too suffer change and murmur not.


19. Every thing, be it a horse, be it a vine, has come into

being for some end. Why wonder? Helios himself will say:

I exist to do some work; and so of all the other Gods. For what

then dost thou exist? For pleasure? Surely it is not to be

thought of.


20. Nature has included in its aim in every case the ceasing

to be no less than the beginning and the duration, just as the

man who tosses up his ball. But what good does the ball gain

while tossed upwards, or harm as it comes down, or finally

when it reaches the ground? Or what good accrues to the

bubble while it coheres, or harm in its bursting? And the same

holds good with the lamp-flame.

207

[Koine Greek]

208

BOOK VIII (cont.)

21. Turn it inside out and see what it is like, what it comes

to be when old, when sickly, when carrion.


They endure but for a short season, both praiser and praised,

rememberer and remembered. All this too in a tiny corner of

this continent, and not even there are all in accord, no nor a man

with himself; and the whole earth is itself a point.


22. Fix thy attention on the subject-matter or the act or the

principle or the thing signified.


Rightly served! Thou wouldst rather become a good man to-

morrow than be one to-day.


23. Am I doing some thing? I do it with reference to the

well-being of mankind. Does something befall me? I accept it

with a reference to the Gods and to the Source of all things from

which issue, linked together, the things that come into being.


24. What bathing is when thou thinkest of it—oil, sweat,

filth, greasy water, everything revolting—such is every part of

life and every object we meet with.


25. Lucilla buried Verus, then Lucilla was buried; Secunda

Maximus, then Secunda; Epitynchanus Diotimus, then

Epitynchanus; Antoninus Faustina, then Antoninus. The same

tale always: Celer buried Hadrianus and then Celer was buried.

And those acute wits, men renowned for their prescience or

their pride, where are they? Such acute wits, for instance, as

Charax and Demetrius [the Platonist]

209

[Koine Greek]

210

BOOK VIII (cont.)

and Eudaemon, and others like them. All creatures of a day,

dead long ago!—some not remembered even for a while, others

transformed into legends, and yet others from legends faded

into nothingness! Bear then in mind that either this thy

composite self must be scattered abroad, or thy vital breath be

quenched, or be transferred and set elsewhere.


26. It brings gladness to a man to do a man's true work. And

a man's true work is to shew goodwill to his own kind, to

disdain the motions of the senses, to diagnose specious

impressions, to take a comprehensive view of the Nature of the

Universe and all that is done at her bidding.


27. Thou hast three relationships—the first to the vessel thou

art contained in; the second to the divine Cause wherefrom issue

all things to all; and the third to those that dwell with thee.


28. Pain is an evil either to the body—let the body then

denounce it—or to the Soul; but the Soul can ensure her own

fair weather and her own calm sea, and refuse to account it an

evil. For every conviction and impulse and desire and aversion

is from within, and nothing climbs in thither.


29. Efface thy impressions, saying ever to thyself: Now lies

it with me that this soul should harbour no wickedness nor lust

nor any disturbing element at all; but that, seeing the true

nature of all things, I should deal with each as is its due.

Bethink thee of this power that Nature gives thee.

211

[Koine Greek]

212

BOOK VIII (cont.)

30. Say thy say in the Senate or to any person whatsoever

becomingly and naturally. Use sound speech.


31. The court of Augustus—wife, daughter, descendants,

ancestors, sister, Agrippa, kinsfolk, household, friends, Areius,

Maecenas, physicians, diviners—dead, the whole court of them!

Pass on then to other records and the death not of individuals but

of a clan, as of the Pompeii. And that well-known epitaph, Last

of his race—think over it and the anxiety shewn by the man's

ancestors that they might leave a successor. But after all some

one must be the last of the line—here again the death of a whole

race!


32. Act by act thou must build up thy life, and be content, if

each act as far as may be fulfils its end. And there is never a

man that can prevent it doing this. But there will be some

impediment from without. There can be none to thy behaving

justly, soberly, wisely. But what if some other exercise of activity

be hindered? Well, a cheerful acceptance of the hindrance and a

tactful transition to what is allowed will enable another action to

be substituted that will be in keeping with the built-up life of

which we are speaking.


33. Accept without arrogance, surrender without reluctance.

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[Koine Greek]

214

BOOK VIII (cont.)

34. Thou hast seen a hand cut off or a foot, or a head severed

from the trunk, and lying at some distance from the rest of the

body. Just so does the man treat himself, as far as he may, who

wills not what befalls and severs himself from mankind or acts

unsocially. Say thou hast been tom away in some sort from the

unity of Nature; for by the law of thy birth thou wast a part; but

now thou hast cut thyself off. Yet here comes in that exquisite

provision, that thou canst return again to thy unity. To no other

part has God granted this, to come together again, when once

separated and cleft asunder. Aye, behold His goodness,

wherewith He hath glorified man! For He hath let it rest with a

man that he be never rent away from the Whole, and if he do

rend himself away, to return again and grow on to the rest and

take up his position again as part.


35. Just as the Nature of rational things has given each

rational being almost all his other powers, so also have we

received this one from it; that, as this Nature moulds to its

purpose whatever interference or opposition it meets, and gives

it a place in the destined order of things, and makes it a part of

itself, so also can the rational creature convert every hindrance

into material for itself and utilize it for its own purposes.


36. Let not the mental picture of life as a whole confound

thee. Fill not thy thoughts with what and how many ills may

conceivably await thee, but in every present case ask thyself:

What is there in this experience so crushing, so insupportable?

Thou wilt blush

215

[Koine Greek]

216

BOOK VIII (cont.)

to confess. Remind thyself further that it is not the future nor

the past but the present always that brings thee its burden. But

this is reduced to insignificance if thou isolate it, and take thy

mind to task if it cannot hold out against this mere trifle.


37. Does Pantheia now watch by the urn of her lord, or

Pergamus? What, does Chabrias or Diotimus by Hadrian's?

Absurd! What then? Had they sat there till now, would the

dead have been aware of it? and, if aware of it, would they

have been pleased? and, if pleased, would that have made the

mourners immortal? Was it not destined that these like others

should become old women and old men and then die? What

then, when they were dead, would be left for those whom they

had mourned to do? It is all stench and foul corruption 'in a

sack of skin.'


38. Hast thou keenness of sight? Use it with judgment ever

so wisely, as the saying goes.


39. In the constitution of the rational creature I see no virtue

incompatible with justice, but incompatible with pleasure I

see—continence.


40. Take away thy opinion as to any imagined pain, and

thou thyself art set in surest safety. What is 'thyself'? Reason.

But I am not reason. Be it so. At all events let the Reason not

cause itself pain, but if any part in thee is amiss, let it form its

own opinion about itself.

217

[Koine Greek]

2l8

BOOK VIII (cont.)

41. To the animal nature a thwarting of sense-perception is an

evil, as is also to the same nature the thwarting of impulse.

There is similarly some other thing that can thwart the

constitution of plants and is an evil to them. Thus then the

thwarting of intelligence is an evil to the intelligent nature.

Transfer the application of all this to thyself. Does pain, does

pleasure take hold of thee? The senses shall look to it. Wast

thou impelled to a thing and wast thwarted? If thy impulse

counts on an unconditional fulfilment, failure at once becomes

an evil to thee as a rational creature. But accept the universal

limitation, and thou hast so far received no hurt nor even been

thwarted. Indeed no one else is in a way to thwart the inner

purposes of the mind. For it no fire can touch, nor steel, nor

tyrant, nor obloquy, nor any thing soever: a sphere once

formed continues round and true.


42. It were not right that I should pain myself for not even

another have I ever knowingly pained.


43. One thing delights one, another thing another To me it is

a delight if I keep my ruling Reason sound, not looking askance

at man or anything that befalls man, but regarding all things

with kindly eyes, accepting and using everything for its intrinsic

worth.


44. See thou dower thyself with this present time. Those that

yearn rather for after-fame do not realize that their successors

are sure to be very much the same as the contemporaries whom

they find such a

219

[Koine Greek]

220

BOOK VIII (cont.)

burden, and no less mortal. What is it anyway to thee if there be

this or that far-off echo of their voices, or if they have this or

that opinion about thee?


45. Take me up and cast me where thou wilt. For even there

will I keep my 'genius' gracious, that is, content if in itself and

in its activity it follow the laws of its own constitution.

Is this worth while, that on its account my soul should be ill

at ease and fall below itself, grovelling, grasping, floundering,

affrighted? What could make it worth while?


46. Nothing can befall a man that is not a contingency natural

to man; nor befall an ox, that is not natural to oxen, nor a vine,

that is not natural to a vine, nor to a stone that is not proper to it.

If therefore only what is natural and customary befalls each,

why be aggrieved? For the common Nature brings thee nothing

that thou canst not bear.


47. When thou art vexed at some external cross, it is not the

thing itself that troubles thee, but thy judgment on it. And this

thou canst annul in a moment. But if thou art vexed at

something in thine own character, who can prevent thee from

rectifying the principle that is to blame? So also if thou art

vexed at not undertaking that which seems to thee a sound act,

why not rather undertake it than be vexed? But there is a lion in

the path! Be not vexed then, for the blame of inaction rests not

with thee. But life is not worth living, this left undone. Depart

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[Koine Greek]

222

BOOK VIII (cont.)

then from life, dying with the same kindly feelings as he who

effects his purpose, and accepting with a good grace the

obstacles that thwart thee.


48. Never forget that the ruling Reason shews itself

unconquerable when, concentrated in itself, it is content with

itself, so it do nothing that it doth not will, even if it refuse from

mere opposition and not from reason—much, more, then, if it

judge of a thing on reasonable grounds and advisedly. Therefore

the Mind, unmastered by passions, is a very citadel, for a man

has no fortress more impregnable wherein to find refuge and

be untaken for ever. He indeed who hath not seen this is

ignorant, but he that hath seen it and takes not refuge therein is

luckless.


49. Say no more to thyself than what the initial impressions

report. This has been told thee, that so and so speaks ill of thee.

This has been told thee, but it has not been told thee that thou

art harmed. I see that my child is ailing. I see it, but I do not see

that he is in danger. Keep then ever to first impressions and

supplement them not on thy part from within, and nothing

happens to thee. And yet do supplement them with this, that

thou art familiar with every possible contingency in the world.


50. The gherkin is bitter. Toss it away. There are briars in

the path. Turn aside. That suffices, and thou needest not to add

Why are such things found in the world? For thou wouldst be a

laughing stock to any student of nature; just as thou wouldst be

laughed at by a carpenter and a cobbler if thou tookest them to

task because in their shops are seen sawdust and parings from

what they are

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[Koine Greek]

224

BOOK VIII (cont.)

making. And yet they have space for the disposal of their

fragments; while the Universal Nature has nothing outside

herself; but the marvel of her craftsmanship is that, though she

is limited to herself, she transmutes into her own substance all

that within her seems to be perishing and decrepit and useless,

and again from these very things produces other new ones;

whereby she shews that she neither wants any substance outside

herself nor needs a corner where she may cast her decaying

matter. Her own space, her own material, her own proper

craftsmanship is all that she requires.


51. Be not dilatory in doing, nor confused in conversation,

nor vague in thought; let not thy soul be wholly concentred in

itself nor uncontrollably agitated; leave thyself leisure in thy

life.


They kill us, they cut us limb from limb, they hunt us with

execrations! How does that prevent thy mind being still pure,

sane, sober, just? Imagine a man to stand by a crystal-clear

spring of sweet water, and to rail at it; yet it fails not to bubble

up with wholesome water. Throw in mud or even filth and it

will quickly winnow them away and purge itself of them and

take never a stain. How then possess thyself of a living fountain

and no mere well? By guiding thyself carefully every hour into

freedom with kindliness, simplicity, and modesty.


52. He that knoweth not what the Universe is knoweth not

where he is. He that knoweth not the end of its being knoweth

not who he is or what the Universe is. But he that is wanting in

the knowledge of any

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[Koine Greek]

226

BOOK VIII (cont.)

of these things could not tell what is the end of his own being.

What then must we think of those that court or eschew the

verdict of the clappers, who have no conception where or who

they are?


53. Carest thou to be praised by a man who execrates himself

thrice within the hour? Carest thou to win the approval of a man

who wins not his own? Can he be said to win his own approval

who regrets almost every thing he does?


54. Be no longer content merely to breathe in unison with the

all-embracing air, but from this moment think also in unison

with the all-embracing Intelligence. For that intelligent faculty

is everywhere diffused and offers itself on every side to him

that can take it in no less than the aerial to him that can breathe.


55. Taken generically, wickedness does no harm to the

Universe, and the particular wickedness does no harm to

others. It is harmful to the one individual alone, and he has been

given the option of being quit of it the first moment he pleases.


56. To my power of choice the power of choice of my

neighbour is as much a matter of indifference as is his vital

breath and his flesh. For however much we may have been

made for one another, yet our ruling Reason is in each case

master in its own house. Else might my neighbour's wickedness

become my bane; and this was not God's will, that another

might not have my unhappiness in his keeping.


57. The sun's light is diffused down, as it seems, yes, and in

every direction, yet it does not diffuse itself away. For this

diffusion is an extension. At any

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[Koine Greek]

228

BOOK VIII (cont.)

rate the beams of the Sun are called Extensions, because they

have an extension in space. And what a ray is you may easily

see, if you observe the sun's light entering through a narrow

chink into a darkened room, for it extends straight on, and is as

it were brought up against any solid body it encounters that

cuts off the air beyond. There the ray comes to a standstill,

neither slipping off nor sinking down. Such then should be the

diffusion and circumfusion of the mind, never a diffusing away

but extension, and it should never make a violent or

uncontrollable impact against any obstacle it meets with, no,

nor collapse, but stand firm and illuminate what receives it. For

that which conducts it not on its way will deprive itself wilfully

of its beams.


58. Dread of death is a dread of non-sensation or new

sensation. But either thou wilt feel no sensation, and so no

sensation of any evil; or a different kind of sensation will be

thine, and so the life of a different creature, but still a life.


59. Mankind have been created for the sake of one another.

Either instruct therefore or endure?


60. One is the way of an arrow, another of the mind.

Howbeit the mind, both when it cautiously examines its ground

and when it is engaged in its enquiry, is none the less moving

straight forward and towards its goal.


61. Enter into every man's ruling Reason, and give every one

else an opportunity to enter into thine?

229

[Koine Greek]

230

BOOK IX

1. Injustice is impiety. For in that the Nature of the

Universe has fashioned rational creatures for the sake of one

another with a view to mutual benefit based upon worth, but by

no means for harm, the transgressor of her will acts with

obvious impiety against the most venerable of Deities.

And the liar too acts impiously with respect to the same

Goddess. For the Nature of the Universe is the Nature of the

things that are. And the things that are have an intimate

connexion with all the things that have ever been, Moreover this

Nature is named Truth, and is the primary cause of all that is

true. The willing liar then is impious in so far as his deceit is a

wrong-doing; and the unwilling liar too, for he is out of tune

with the Nature of the Whole, and an element of disorder by

being in conflict with the Nature of an orderly Universe; for he

is in conflict who allows himself, as far as his conduct goes, to

be carried into opposition to what is true. And whereas he had

previously been endowed by nature with the means of

distinguishing false from true, by neglecting to use them he has

lost the power.


Again he acts impiously who seeks after pleasure as a good

thing and eschews pain as an evil. For

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[Koine Greek]

232

BOOK IX (cont.)

such a man must inevitably find frequent fault with the

Universal Nature as unfair in its apportionments to the

worthless and the worthy, since the worthless are often lapped

in pleasures and possess the things that make for pleasure, while

the worthy meet with pain and the things that make for pain.

Moreover he that dreads pain will some day be in dread of

something that must be in the world. And there we have impiety

at once. And he that hunts after pleasures will not hold his hand

from injustice. And this is palpable impiety.


But those, who are of one mind with Nature and would walk

in her ways, must hold a neutral attitude towards those things

towards which the Universal Nature is neutral—for she would

not be the Maker of both were she not neutral towards both. So

he clearly acts with impiety who is not himself neutral towards

pain and pleasure, death and life, good report and ill report,

things which the Nature of the Universe treats with neutrality.

And by the Universal Nature treating these with neutrality I

mean that all things happen neutrally in a chain of sequence to

things that come into being and to their after products by some

primeval impulse of Providence, in accordance with which She

was impelled by some primal impulse to this making of an

ordered Universe, when She had conceived certain principles

for all that was to be, and allocated the powers generative of

substances and changes and successions such as we see.


2. It were more graceful doubtless for a man to depart from

mankind untainted with falsehood and

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[Koine Greek]

234

BOOK IX (cont.)

all dissimulation and luxury and arrogance; failing that,

however, the 'next best course' is to breathe out his life when

his gorge has risen at these things. Or is it thy choice to throw in

thy lot with vice, and does not even thy taste of it yet persuade

thee to fly from the pestilence? For the corruption of the mind

is a pest far worse than any such miasma and vitiation of the air

which we breathe around us. The latter is a pestilence for living

creatures and affects their life, the former for human beings and

affects their humanity.


3. Despise not death, but welcome it, for Nature wills it like

all else. For dissolution is but one of the processes of Nature,

associated with thy life's various seasons, such as to be young,

to be old, to wax to our prime and to reach it, to grow teeth and

beard and gray hairs, to beget, conceive and bring forth. A man

then that has reasoned the matter out should not take up towards

death the attitude of indifference, eagerness, or scorn, but await

it as one of the processes of Nature. Look for the hour when

thy soul shall emerge from this its sheath, as now thou awaitest

the moment when the child she carries shall come forth from

thy wife's womb.


But if thou desirest a commonplace solace too that will

appeal to the heart, nothing will enable thee to meet death with

equanimity better than to observe the environment thou art

leaving and the sort of characters with whom thy soul shall no

longer be

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[Koine Greek]

236

BOOK IX (cont.)

mixed up. For while it is very far from right to fall foul of

them, but rather even to care for and deal gently with them, yet

it is well to remember that not from men of like principles with

thine will thy release be. For this alone, if anything, could draw

us back and bind us to life, if it were but permitted us to live

with those who have possessed themselves of the same

principles as ours. But now thou seest how thou art driven by

sheer weariness at the jarring discord of thy life with them to

say: Tarry not, O Death, lest peradventure I too forget myself.


4. He that does wrong, does wrong to himself. The unjust

man is unjust to himself, for he makes himself bad.


5. There is often an injustice of omission as well as of

commission.


6. The present assumption rightly apprehended, the present

act socially enacted, the present disposition satisfied with all

that befalls it from the Cause external to it—these will suffice.


7. Efface imagination. Restrain impulse. Quench desire.

Keep the ruling Reason in thine own power.


8. Among irrational creatures one life is distributed, and

among the rational one intellectual soul has been parcelled out.

Just as also there is one earth for all the things that are of the

earth; and

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BOOK IX (cont.)

one is the light whereby we see, and one the air we all breathe

that have sight and life.


9. All that share in a common element have an affinity for

their own kind. The trend of all that is earthy is to earth; fluids

all run together; it is the same with the aerial; so that only

interposing obstacles and force can keep them apart. Fire indeed

has a tendency to rise by reason of the elemental fire, but is so

quick to be kindled in sympathy with all fire here below that

every sort of matter, a whit drier than usual, is easily kindled

owing to its having fewer constituents calculated to offer

resistance to its kindling. So then all that shares in the Universal

Intelligent Nature has as strong an affinity towards what is akin,

aye even a stronger. For the measure of its superiority to all

other things is the measure of its readiness to blend and coalesce

with that which is akin to it.


At any rate to begin with among irrational creatures we find

swarms and herds and birdcolonies and, as it were, love-

associations. For already at that stage there are souls, and the

bond of affinity shews itself in the higher form to a degree of

intensity not found in plants or stones or timber. But among

rational creatures are found political communities and

friendships and households and gatherings, and in wars treaties

and armistices. But in things still higher a sort of unity in

separation even exists, as in the stars. Thus the ascent to the

higher form is able to effect a sympathetic connexion even

among things which are separate.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK IX (cont.)

See then what actually happens at the present time; for at the

present time it is only the intelligent creatures that have forgotten

their mutual affinity and attraction, and here alone there is no sign

of like flowing to like. Yet flee as they will, they are nevertheless

caught in the toils, for Nature will have her way. Watch closely

and thou wilt see 'tis so. Easier at any rate were it to find an earthy

thing in touch with nothing earthy than a man wholly severed from

mankind.


10. They all bear fruit—Man and God and the Universe: each

in its due season bears. It matters nought that in customary

parlance such a term is strictly applicable only to the vine and such

things. Reason too hath its fruit both for all and for itself, and there

issue from it other things such as is Reason itself.


11. If thou art able, convert the wrong-doer. If not, bear in

mind that kindliness was given thee to meet just such a case. The

Gods too are kindly to such persons and even co-operate with

them for certain ends—for health, to wit, and wealth and fame, so

benignant are they. Thou too canst be the same; or say who is

there that prevents thee.


12. Do thy work not as a drudge, nor as desirous of pity or

praise. Desire one thing only, to act or not to act as civic reason

directs.


13. This day have I got me out of all trouble, or rather have cast

out all trouble, for it was not from without, but within, in my own

imagination.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK IX (cont.)

14. All these are things of familiar experience; in their

duration ephemeral, in their material sordid. Everything is now

as it was in the days of those whom we have buried.


15. Objective things stand outside the door, keeping

themselves to themselves, without knowledge of or message

about themselves. What then has for us a message about them?

The ruling Reason.


16. Not in being acted upon but in activity lies the evil and

the good of the rational and civic creature, just as his virtue too

and his vice lie in activity and not in being acted upon.


17. The stone that is thrown into the air is none the worse for

falling down, or the better for being carried upwards.


18. Find the way within into their ruling Reason, and thou

shalt see what these judges are whom thou fearest and what their

judgment of themselves is worth.


19. Change is the universal experience. Thou art thyself

undergoing a perpetual transformation and, in some sort,

decay: aye and the whole Universe as well.


20. Another's wrong-doing should be left with him.


21. A cessation of activity, a quiescence from impulse and

opinion and, as it were, their death, is no evil. Turn now to

consider the stages of thy life—childhood, boyhood, manhood,

old age—each step in the ladder of change a death. Is there

anything terrible here? Pass on now to thy life under thy

grandfather, then under thy mother, then under thy

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK IX (cont.)

father, and finding there many other alterations, changes, and

cessations, ask thyself: Is there anything terrible here? No, nor

any in the ending and quiescence and change of the whole of

life.


22. Speed to the ruling Reason of thyself, and of the

Universe, and of thy neighbour: of thine own, that thou mayest

make it just; of that of the Universe, that thou mayest

therewithal remember of what thou art a part; of thy neighbour,

that thou mayest learn whether it was ignorance with him or

understanding, and reflect at the same time that it is akin to

thee.


23. As thou thyself art a part perfective of a civic organism,

let also thine every act be a part perfective of civic life. Every

act of thine then that has no relation direct or indirect to this

social end, tears thy life asunder and destroys its unity, and

creates a schism, just as in a commonwealth does the man who,

as far as in him lies, stands aloof from such a concord of his

fellows.


24. Children's squabbles and make-believe, and little souls

bearing up corpses—the Invocation of the Dead might strike

one as a more vivid reality!


25. Go straight to that which makes a thing what it is, its

formative cause, and, isolating it from the material, regard it

so. Then mark off the utmost time for which the individual

object so qualified is calculated to subsist.

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BOOK IX (cont.)

26. By not being content with thy ruling Reason doing the

work for which it was constituted, thou hast borne unnumbered

ills. Nay, 'tis enough!


27. When men blame or hate thee or give utterance to some

such feelings against thee, turn to their souls, enter into them,

and see what sort of men they are. Thou wilt perceive that thou

needest not be concerned as to what they think of thee. Yet

must thou feel kindly towards them, for Nature made them dear

to thee. The Gods too lend them aid in divers ways by dreams

and oracles, to win those very things on which their hearts are

set.


28. The same, upwards, downwards, from cycle to cycle are

the revolutions of the Universe. And either the Universal Mind

feels an impulse to act in each separate case—and if this be so,

accept its impulsion—or it felt this impulse once for all, and

all subsequent things follow by way of consequence; and what

matters which it be, for if you like to put it so the world is all

atoms [or indivisible]. But as to the Whole, if God—all is well;

if haphazard—be not thou also haphazard.


Presently the earth will cover us all. It too will anon be

changed, and the resulting product will go on from change to

change, and so for ever and ever. When a man thinks of these

successive waves of change and transformation, and their

rapidity, he will hold every mortal thing in scorn.


29. The World-Cause is as a torrent, it sweeps everything

along. How negligible these manikins

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK IX (cont.)

that busy themselves with civic matters and flatter themselves

that they act therein as philosophers! Drivellers all! What then,

O Man? Do what Nature asks of thee now. Make the effort if it

be given thee to do so and look not about to see if any shall

know it. Dream not of Utopias, but be content if the least thing

go forward, and count the outcome of the matter in hand as a

small thing. For who can alter another's conviction? Failing a

change of conviction, we merely get men pretending to be

persuaded and chafing like slaves under coercion. Go to now and

tell me of Alexander and Philip and Demetrius of Phalerum.

Whether they realized the will of Nature and schooled

themselves thereto, is their concern. But if they played the

tragedy-hero, no one has condemned me to copy them. Simple

and modest is the work of Philosophy: lead me not astray into

pomposity and pride.


30. Take a bird's-eye view of the world, its endless

gatherings and endless ceremonials, voyagings manifold in

storm and calm, and the vicissitudes of things coming into being,

participating in being, ceasing to be. Reflect too on the life lived

long ago by other men, and the life that shall be lived after thee,

and is now being lived in barbarous countries; and how many

have never even heard thy name, and how many will very soon

forget it, and how many who now perhaps acclaim, will very

soon blame thee, and that neither memory nor fame nor anything

else whatever is worth reckoning.


31. Freedom from perturbance in all that befalls

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK IX (cont.)

from the external Cause, and justice in all that thine own inner

Cause prompts thee to do; that is, impulse and action finding

fulfilment in the actual performance of social duty as being in

accordance with thy nature.


32. It is in thy power to rid thyself of many unnecessary

troubles, for they exist wholly in thy imagination. Thou wilt at

once set thy feet in a large room by embracing the whole

Universe in thy mind and including in thy purview time

everlasting, and by observing the rapid change in every part of

everything, and the shortness of the span between birth and

dissolution, and that the yawning immensity before birth is only

matched by the infinity after our dissolution.


33. All that thine eyes behold will soon perish and they, who

live to see it perish, will in their turn perish no less quickly; and

he who outlives all his contemporaries and he who dies before

his time will be as one in the grave.


34. What is the ruling Reason of these men, and about what

sort of objects have they been in earnest, and from what motives

do they lavish their love and their honour! View with the mind's

eye their poor little souls in their nakedness. What immense

conceit this of theirs, when they fancy that there is bane in their

blame or profit in their praises!


35. Loss and change, they are but one. Therein doth the

Universal Nature take pleasure, through whom are all things

done now as they have been in like fashion from time

everlasting; and to eternity shall other like things be. Why then

dost thou say that all things have been evil and will remain evil

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[Koine Greek]

252

BOOK IX (cont.)

to the end, and that no help has after all been found in Gods, so

many as they be, to right these things, but that the fiat hath gone

forth that the Universe should be bound in an unbroken chain of

ill?


36. Seeds of decay in the underlying material of

everything—water, dust, bones, reek! Again, marble but

nodules of earth, and gold and silver but dross, garments merely

hair-tufts, and purple only blood. And so with everything else.

The soul too another like thing and liable to change from this to

that.


37. Have done with this miserable way of life, this

grumbling, this apism! Why fret? What is the novelty here?

What amazes thee? The Cause? Look fairly at it. What then,

the Material? Look fairly at that. Apart from these two, there is

nothing. But in regard to the Gods also now even at the eleventh

hour show thyself more simple, more worthy.

Whether thy experience of these things lasts three hundred

years or three, it is all one.


38. If he did wrong, with him lies the evil. But maybe he did

no wrong.


39. Either there is one intelligent source, from which as in

one body all after things proceed—and the part ought not to

grumble at what is done in the interests of the whole—or there

are atoms, and nothing but a medley and a dispersion. Why

then be harassed? Say to thy ruling Reason: Thou art dead!

Thou art corrupt! Thou hast become a wild beast! Thou art a

hypocrite! Thou art one of the herd! Thou battenest with them!


40. Either the Gods have no power or they have

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[Koine Greek]

254

BOOK IX (cont.)

power. If they have no power, why pray to them? But if they

have power, why not rather pray that they should give thee

freedom from fear of any of these tilings and from lust for any

of these things and from grief at any of these things [rather] than

that they should grant this or refuse that. For obviously if they

can assist men at all, they can assist them in this. But perhaps

thou wilt say: The Gods have put this in my power. Then is it

not better to use what is in thy power like a free man than to

concern thyself with what is not in thy power like a slave and an

abject? And who told thee that the Gods do not co-operate with

us even in the things that are in our power? Begin at any rate

with prayers for such things and thou wilt see. One prays: How

may I lie with that woman! Thou: How may I not lust to lie

with her! Another: How may I be quit of that man! Thou: How

may I not wish to be quit of him! Another: How may I not lose

my little child! Thou: How may I not dread to lose him. In a

word, give thy prayers this turn, and see what comes of it.


41. Listen to Epicurus where he says: In my illness my talk

was not of any bodily feelings, nor did I chatter about such

things to those who came to see me, but I went on with my

cardinal disquisitions on natural philosophy, dwelling

especially on this point, how the mind, having perforce its share

in such affections of the flesh, yet remains unperturbed,

safeguarding its own proper good. Nor did I—he goes on—let

the physicians ride the high horse as if they were doing

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[Koine Greek]

256
BOOK IX (cont.)

grand things, but my life went on well and happily. Imitate him

then in sickness, if thou art sick, and in any other emergency; for

it is a commonplace of every sect not to renounce Philosophy

whatever difficulties we encounter, nor to consent to babble as

he does that is unenlightened in philosophy and nature; . . .

devote thyself to thy present work alone and thy instrument for

performing it.


42. When thou art offended by shamelessness in any one, put

this question at once to thyself: Can it be then that shameless

men should not exist in the world? It can not be. Then ask not

for what can not be. For this man in question also is one of the

shameless ones that must needs exist in the world. Have the

same reflection ready for the rogue, the deceiver, or any other

wrongdoer whatever. For the remembrance that this class of men

cannot but exist will bring with it kindlier feelings towards

individuals of the class. Right useful too is it to bethink thee at

once of this: What virtue has Nature given man as a foil to the

wrong-doing in question? For as an antidote against the

unfeeling man she has given gentleness, and against another

man some other resource.


In any case it is in thy power to teach the man that has gone

astray the error of his ways. For every one that doth amiss misses

his true mark and hath gone astray. But what harm hast thou

suffered? Thou wilt find that not one of the persons against

whom thou art exasperated has done anything capable of making

thy mind worse; but it is in

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[Koine Greek]

258

BOOK IX (cont.)

thy mind that the evil for thee and the harmful have their whole

existence.


Where is the harm or the strangeness in the boor acting—like

a boor? See whether thou art not thyself the more to blame in

not expecting that he would act thus wrongly. For thy reason too

could have given thee means for concluding that this would

most likely be the case. Nevertheless all this is forgotten, and

thou art surprised at his wrongdoing.


But above all, when thou findest fault with a man for

faithlessness and ingratitude, turn thy thoughts to thyself. For

evidently the fault is thine own, whether thou hadst faith that a

man with such a character would keep faith with thee, or if in

bestowing a kindness thou didst not bestow it absolutely and as

from the very doing of it having at once received the full

complete fruit.


For when thou hast done a kindness, what more wouldst thou

have? Is not this enough that thou hast done something in

accordance with thy nature? Seekest thou a recompense for it?

As though the eye should claim a guerdon for seeing, or the feet

for walking! For just as these latter were made for their special

work, and by carrying this out according to their individual

constitution they come fully into their own, so also man, formed

as he is by nature for benefiting others, when he has acted as

benefactor or as co-factor in any other way for the general weal,

has done what he was constituted for, and has what is his.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK X

1. Wilt thou then, O my Soul, ever at last be good and

simple and single and naked, shewing thyself more visible than

the body that overlies thee? Wilt thou ever taste the sweets of a

loving and a tender heart? Ever be full-filled and self- sufficing,

longing for nothing, lusting after nothing animate or inanimate,

for the enjoyment of pleasures —not time wherein the longer to

enjoy them, nor place or country or congenial climes or men

nearer to thy liking—but contented with thy present state and

delighted with thy present everything, convincing thyself withal

that all that is present for thee is present from the Gods, and

that everything is and shall be well with thee that is pleasing to

them and that they shall hereafter grant for the conservation of

that Perfect Being that is good and just and beautiful, the

Begetter and Upholder of all things, that embraces and gathers

them in, when they are dissolved, to generate therefrom other

like things? Wilt thou ever at last fit thyself so to be a fellow-

citizen with the Gods and with men as never to find fault with

them or incur their condemnation?

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[Koine Greek]

262

BOOK X (cont.)

2. Observe what thy nature asks of thee, as one controlled by

Nature alone, then do this and with a good grace, if thy nature

as a living creature is not to be made worse thereby. Next must

thou observe what thy nature as a living creature asks of thee.

And this must thou wholly accept, if thy nature as a rational

living creature be not made worse thereby. Now the rational is

indisputably also the civic. Comply with these rules then and be

not needlessly busy about anything.


3. All that befalls either so befalls as thou art fitted by nature

to bear it or as thou art not fitted. If the former, take it not

amiss, but bear it as thou art fitted to do. If the latter, take not

that amiss either, for when it has destroyed thee, it will itself

perish. Howbeit be assured that thou art fitted by nature to bear

everything which it rests with thine own opinion about it to

render bearable and tolerable, according as thou thinkest it thy

interest or thy duty to do so.


4. If a man makes a slip, enlighten him with loving-kindness,

and shew him wherein he hath seen amiss. Failing that, blame

thyself or not even thyself.


5. Whatever befalls thee was set in train for thee from

everlasting, and the interplication of causes was from eternity

weaving into one fabric thy existence and the coincidence of

this event.


6. Whether there be atoms or a Nature, let it be postulated

first, that I am a part of the whole Universe controlled by

Nature; secondly, that I stand in some intimate connexion with

other kindred parts.

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[Koine Greek]

264

BOOK X (cont.)

For bearing this in mind, as I am a part, I shall not be displeased

with anything allotted me from the Whole. For what is

advantageous to the whole can in no wise be injurious to the

part. For the Whole contains nothing that is not advantageous

to itself; and all natures have this in common, but the Universal

Nature is endowed with the additional attribute of never being

forced by any external cause to engender anything hurtful to

itself.


As long then as I remember that I am a part of such a whole,

I shall be well pleased with all that happens; and in so far as I

am in intimate connexion with the parts that are akin to myself,

I shall be guilty of no unsocial act, but I shall devote my

attention rather to the parts that are akin to myself, and direct

every impulse of mine to the common interest and withhold it

from the reverse of this. That being done, life must needs flow

smoothly, as thou mayst see the life flow smoothly of a citizen

who goes steadily on in a course of action beneficial to his

fellow-citizens and cheerfully accepts whatever is assigned him

by the State.


7. The parts of the Whole—all that Nature has comprised in

the Universe—must inevitably perish, taking "perish" to mean

"be changed." But if this process is by nature for them both

evil and inevitable, the Whole could never do its work

satisfactorily, its parts ever going as they do from change to

change and being constituted to perish in diverse ways. Did

Nature herself set her hand to bringing evil upon parts of herself

and rendering them not only liable to fall into evil but of

necessity fallen into it,

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[Koine Greek]

266

BOOK X (cont.)

or was she not aware that such was the case? Both alternatives

are incredible.


But supposing that we even put Nature as an agent out of the

question and explain that these things are "naturally" so, even

then it would be absurd to assert that the parts of the whole are

naturally subject to change, and at the same time to be

astonished at a thing or take it amiss as though it befell contrary

to nature, and that though things dissolve into the very

constituents out of which they are composed. For either there is

a scattering of the elements out of which I have been built up,

or a transmutation of the solid into the earthy and of the

spiritual into the aerial; so that these too are taken back into

the Reason of the Universe, whether cycle by cycle it be

consumed with fire or renew itself by everlasting

permutations.


Aye and so then do not be under the impression that the solid

and the spiritual date from the moment of birth. For it was but

yesterday or the day before that all this took in its increment

from the food eaten and the air breathed. It is then this, that it

took in, which changes, not the product of thy mother's womb.

But granted that thou art ever so closely bound up with that by

thy individuality, this, I take it, has no bearing upon the present

argument.


8. Assuming for thyself the appellations, a good man, a

modest man, a truthteller, wise of heart,

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[Koine Greek]

268

BOOK X (cont.)

sympathetic of heart, great of heart, take heed thou be not new-

named. And if thou shouldst forfeit these titles, e'en make haste

to get back to them. And bear in mind that wise of heart was

meant to signify for thee a discerning consideration of every

object and a thoroughness of thought; sympathetic of heart, a

willing acceptance of all that the Universal Nature allots thee;

great of heart an uplifting of our mental part above the motions

smooth or rough of the flesh, above the love of empty fame, the

fear of death, and all other like things. Only keep thyself entitled

to these appellations, not itching to receive them from others,

and thou wilt be a new man and enter on a new life. For to be

still such as thou hast been till now, and to submit to the

rendings and defilements of such a life, is worthy of a man that

shews beyond measure a dull senselessness and a clinging to

life, and is on a level with the wild-beast fighters that are half-

devoured in the arena, who, though a mass of wounds and gore,

beg to be kept till the next day, only to be thrown again, torn as

they are, to the same teeth and talons.


Take ship then on these few attributions, and if thou canst

abide therein, so abide as one who has migrated to some Isles of

the Blest. But if thou feelest thyself adrift, and canst not win thy

way, betake thyself with a good heart to some nook where thou

shalt prevail, or even depart altogether from life, not in wrath

but in simplicity, independence, and modesty, having at least

done this

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[Koine Greek]

270

BOOK X (cont.)

one thing well in life, that thou hast quitted it thus. Howbeit, to

keep these attributions in mind it will assist thee greatly if thou

bear the Gods in mind, and that it is not flattery they crave but for

all rational things to be conformed to their likeness, and that man

should do a man's work, as the fig tree does the work of a fig-tree,

the dog of a dog, and the bee of a bee.


9. Stage-apery, warfare, cowardice, torpor, servility—these

will day by day obliterate all those holy principles of thine which,

as the student of Nature, thou dost conceive and accept. But thou

must regard and do everything in such a way that at one and the

same time the present task may be carried through, and full play

given to the faculty of pure thought, and that the self-confidence

engendered by a knowledge of each individual thing be kept

intact, unobtruded yet unconcealed.


When wilt thou find thy delight in simplicity? When in dignity?

When in the knowledge of each separate thing, what it is in its

essence, what place it fills in the Universe, how long it is formed

by Nature to subsist, what are its component parts, to whom it can

pertain, and who can bestow and take it away?


10. A spider prides itself on capturing a fly; one man on

catching a hare, another on netting a sprat, another on taking wild

boars, another bears, another Sarmatians. Are not these brigands,

if thou test their principles?

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[Koine Greek]

272

BOOK X (cont.)

11. Make thy own a scientific system of enquiry into the

mutual change of all things, and pay diligent heed to this branch

of study and exercise thyself in it. For nothing is so conducive

to greatness of mind. Let a man do this and he divests himself of

his body and, realizing that he must almost at once relinquish all

these things and depart from among men, he gives himself up

wholly to just dealing in all his actions, and to the Universal

Nature in all that befalls him. What others may say or think

about him or do against him he does not even let enter his mind,

being well satisfied with these two things—justice in all present

acts and contentment with his present lot. And he gives up all

engrossing cares and ambitions, and has no other wish than to

achieve the straight course through the Law and, by achieving

it, to be a follower of God.


12. What need of surmise when it lies with thee to decide

what should be done, and if thou canst see thy course, to take it

with a good grace and not turn aside; but if thou canst not see it,

to hold back and take counsel of the best counsellors; and if any

other obstacles arise therein, to go forward as thy present means

shall allow with careful deliberation holding to what is clearly

just? For to succeed in this is the best thing of all, since in fact

to fail in this would be the only failure.


Leisurely without being lethargic and cheerful as well as

composed shall he be who follows Reason in everything.


13. Ask thyself as soon as thou art roused from sleep: Will it

make any difference to me if another does

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[Koine Greek]

274

BOOK X (cont.)

what is just and right? It will make none. Hast thou forgotten

that those who play the wanton in their praise and blame of

others, are such as they are in their beds, at their board; and

what are the things that they do, the things that they avoid or

pursue, and how they pilfer and plunder, not with hands and feet

but with the most precious part of them, whereby a man calls

into being at will faith, modesty, truth, law, and a good 'genius'?


14. Says the well-schooled and humble heart to Nature that

gives and takes back all we have; Give what thou wilt, take back

what thou wilt. But he says it without any bravado of fortitude,

in simple obedience and good will to her.


15. Thou has but a short time left to live. Live as on a

mountain; for whether it be here or there, matters not provided

that, wherever a man live, he live as a citizen of the World-

City. Let men look upon thee, cite thee, as a man in very deed

that lives according to Nature. If they cannot bear with thee, let

them slay thee. For it were better so than to live their life.


16. Put an end once for all to this discussion of what a good

man should be, and be one.


17. Continually picture to thyself Time as a whole, and

Substance as a whole, and every individual

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[Koine Greek]

276

BOOK X (cont.)

thing, in respect of substance, as but a fig-seed and, in respect to

time, as but a twist of the drill.


18. Regarding attentively every existing thing reflect that it is

already disintegrating and changing, and as it were in a state of

decomposition and dispersion, or that everything is by nature

made but to die.


19. What are they like when eating, sleeping, coupling,

evacuating, and the rest! What again when lording it over

others, when puffed up with pride, when filled with resentment

or rebuking others from a loftier plane! Yet but a moment ago

they were lackeying how many and for what ends, and anon

will be at their old trade.


20. What the Universal Nature brings to every thing is for the

benefit of that thing, and for its benefit then when she brings it.


21. The earth is in love with showers and the majestic sky is

in love. And the Universe is in love with making whatever has

to be. To the Universe then I say: Together with thee I will be in

love. Is it not a way we have of speaking, to say, This or that

loves to be so?


22. Either thy life is here and thou art inured to it; or thou

goest elsewhere and this with thine own will; or thou diest and

hast served out thy service. There is no other alternative. Take

heart then.


23. Never lose sight of the fact that a man's 'freehold' is

such as I told thee, and how all the conditions are the same here

as on the top of a

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BOOK X (cont.)

mountain or on the sea-shore or wherever thou pleasest. Quite

apposite shalt thou find to be the words of Plato: Compassed

about (by the city wall as) by a sheep-fold on the mountain, and

milking flocks.


24. What is my ruling Reason and what am I making of it

now? To what use do I now put it? Is it devoid of intelligence?

Is it divorced and severed from neighbourliness? Does it so

coalesce and blend with the flesh as to be swayed by it?


25. He that flies from his master is a runaway. But the Law is

our master, and he that transgresses the Law is a runaway. Now

he also, that is moved by grief or wrath or fear, is fain that

something should not have happened or be happening or happen

in the future of what has been ordained by that which controls

the whole Universe, that is by the Law laying down all that falls

to a man's lot. He then is a runaway who is moved by fear or

grief or wrath.


26. A man passes seed into a womb and goes his way, and

anon another cause takes it in hand and works upon it and

perfects a babe—what a consummation from what a beginning!

Again he passes food down the throat, and anon another cause

taking up the work creates sensation and impulse and, in fine,

life and strength and other things how many and how

mysterious! Muse then on these

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BOOK X (cont.)

things that are done in such secrecy, and detect the efficient force,

just as we detect the descensive and the ascensive none the less

clearly that it is not with our eyes.


27. Bear in mind continually how all such things as now exist

existed also before our day and, be assured, will exist after us. Set

before thine eyes whole dramas and their stagings, one like

another, all that thine own experience has shewn thee or thou hast

learned from past history, for instance the entire court of

Hadrianus, the entire court of Antoninus, the entire court of

Philip, of Alexander, of Croesus. For all those scenes were such as

we see now, only the performers being different.


28. Picture to thyself every one that is grieved at any

occurrence whatever or dissatisfied, as being like the pig which

struggles and screams when sacrificed; like it too him who, alone

upon his bed, bewails in silence the fetters of our fate; and that to

the rational creature alone has it been granted to submit willingly

to what happens, mere submission being imperative on all.


29. In every act of thine pause at each step and ask thyself: Is

death to he dreaded for the loss of this?


30. Does another's wrong-doing shock thee? Turn

incontinently to thyself and bethink thee what analogous wrong-

doing there is of thine own, such as deeming money to be a good

or pleasure or a little cheap fame and the like. For by marking

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BOOK X (cont.)

this thou wilt quickly forget thy wrath, with this reflection too to

aid thee, that a man is under constraint; for what should he do?

Or, if thou art able, remove the constraint.


31. Let a glance at Satyron call up the image of Socraticus or

Eutyches or Hymen, and a glance at Euphrates the image of

Eutychion or Silvanus, and a glance at Alciphron

Tropaeophorus, and at Severus Xenophon or Crito. Let a glance

at thyself bring to mind one of the Caesars, and so by analogy in

every case. Then let the thought strike thee: Where are they

now? Nowhere, or none can say where. For thus shalt thou

habitually look upon human things as mere smoke and as

naught; and more than ever so, if thou bethink thee that what has

once changed will exist no more throughout eternity. Why strive

then and strain? Why not be content to pass this thy short span

of life in becoming fashion?


What material, what a field for thy work dost thou forgo! For

what are all these things but objects for the exercise of a reason

that hath surveyed with accuracy and due inquiry into its nature

the whole sphere of life? Continue then until thou hast

assimilated these truths also to thyself, as the vigorous digestion

assimilates every food, or the blazing fire converts into warmth

and radiance whatever is cast into it.


32. Give no one the right to say of thee with truth that thou

art not a sincere, that thou art not a

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284

BOOK X (cont.)

good man, but let anyone that shall form any such an idea of

thee be as one that maketh a lie. All this rests with thee. For

who is there to hinder thee from being good and sincere?

Resolve then to live no longer if thou be not such. For neither

doth Reason in that case insist that thou shouldest.


33. Taking our 'material' into account, what can be said or

done in the soundest way? Be it what it may, it rests with thee

to do or say it. And let us have no pretence that thou art being

hindered.


Never shalt thou cease murmuring until it be so with thee

that the utilizing, in a manner consistent with the constitution of

man, of the material presented to thee and cast in thy way shall

be to thee what indulgence is to the sensual. For everything

must be accounted enjoyment that it is in a man's power to put

into practice in accordance with his own nature; and it is

everywhere in his power.


A cylinder we know has no power given it of individual

motion everywhere, nor has fire or water or any other thing

controlled by Nature or by an irrational soul. For the interposing

and impeding obstacles are many. But Intelligence and Reason

make their way through every impediment just as their nature or

their will prompts them. Setting before thine eyes this ease

wherewith the Reason can force its way through every obstacle,

as fire upwards, as a stone downwards, as a cylinder down a

slope, look for nothing beyond. For other hindrances either

concern that veritable corpse, the body, or, apart from

imagination and the surrender of Reason herself, cannot crush

us or work any harm at all.

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BOOK X (cont.)

Else indeed would their victim at once become bad.

In fact in the case of all other organisms, if any evil happen

to any of them, the victim itself becomes the worse for it. But a

man so circumstanced becomes, if I may so say, better and more

praiseworthy by putting such contingencies to a right use. In

fine, remember that nothing that harms not the city can harm

him whom Nature has made a citizen; nor yet does that harm a

city which harms not law. But not one of the so-called

mischances harms law. What does not harm law, then, does no

harm to citizen or city.


34. Even an obvious and quite brief aphorism can serve to

warn him that is bitten with the true doctrines against giving

way to grief and fear; as for instance,


Such are the races of men as the leaves that the wind scatters

earthwards.


And thy children too are little leaves. Leaves also they who

make an outcry as if they ought to be listened to, and scatter

their praises or, contrariwise, their curses, or blame and scoff in

secret. Leaves too they that are to hand down our after-fame.

For all these things


            Burgeon again with the season of spring;


anon the wind hath cast them down, and the forest puts forth

others in their stead. Transitoriness is the common lot of all

things, yet there is none of these that thou huntest not after or

shunnest,

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[Koine Greek]

288

BOOK X (cont.)

as though it were everlasting. A little while and thou shalt close

thine eyes; aye, and for him that bore thee to the grave shall

another presently raise the dirge.


35. The sound eye should see all there is to be seen, but

should not say: I want what is green only. For that is

characteristic of a disordered eye. And the sound hearing and

smell should be equipped for all that is to be heard or smelled.

And the sound digestion should act towards all nutriment as a

mill towards the grist which it was formed to grind. So should

the sound mind be ready for all that befalls. But the mind that

says: Let my children be safe! Let all applaud my every act is

but as an eye that looks for green things or as teeth that look for

soft things.


36. There is no one so fortunate as not to have one or two

standing by his death-bed who will welcome the evil which is

befalling him. Say he was a worthy man and a wise; will there

not be some one at the very end to say in his heart, We can

breathe again at last, freed from this schoolmaster, not that he

was hard on any of us, but I was all along conscious that he

tacitly condemned us? So much for the worthy, but in our own

case how many other reasons can be found for which hundreds

would be only too glad to be quit of us! Think then upon this

when dying, and thy passing from life will be easier if thou

reason thus: I am leaving a life in which even my intimates for

whom I have so greatly toiled, prayed, and thought, aye even

they wish me gone, expecting belike to gain thereby

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[Koine Greek]

290

BOOK X (cont.)

some further ease. Why then should anyone cling to a longer

sojourn here?


Howbeit go away with no less kindliness towards them on

this account, but maintaining thy true characteristics be friendly

and goodnatured and gracious; nor again as though wrenched

apart, but rather should thy withdrawal from them be as that

gentle slipping away of soul from body which we see when a

man makes a peaceful end. For it was Nature that knit and

kneaded thee with them, and now she parts the tie. I am parted

as from kinsfolk, not dragged forcibly away, but going

unresistingly. For this severance too is a process of Nature.


37. In every act of another habituate thyself as far as may be

to put to thyself the question: What end has the man in view?

But begin with thyself, cross-examine thyself first.


38. Bear in mind that what pulls the strings is that Hidden

Thing within us: that makes our speech, that our life, that, one

may say, makes the man. Never in thy mental picture of it

include the vessel that overlies it nor these organs that are

appurtenances thereof. They are like the workman's adze, only

differing from it in being naturally attached to the body. Since

indeed, severed from the Cause that bids them move and bids

them stay, these parts are as useless as is the shuttle of the

weaver, the pen of the writer, and the whip of the charioteer.

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BOOK XI

1. The properties of the Rational Soul are these: it sees itself,

dissects itself, moulds itself to its own will, itself reaps its own

fruits—whereas the fruits of the vegetable kingdom and the

corresponding produce of animals are reaped by others,—it

wins to its own goal wherever the bounds of life be set. In

dancing and acting and such-like arts, if any break occurs, the

whole action is rendered imperfect; but the rational soul in

every part and wheresoever taken shews the work set before it

fulfilled and all-sufficient for itself, so that it can say: I have to

the full what is my own.


More than this, it goeth about the whole Universe and the

void surrounding it and traces its plan, and stretches forth into

the infinitude of Time, and comprehends the cyclical

Regeneration of all things, and takes stock of it, and discerns

that our children will see nothing fresh, just as our fathers too

never saw anything more than we. So that in a manner the man

of forty years, if he have a grain of sense, in view of this

sameness has seen all that has been

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[Koine Greek]

294

BOOK XI (cont.)

and shall be. Again a property of the Rational Soul is the love of

our neighbour, and truthfulness, and modesty, and to prize

nothing above itself— a characteristic also of Law. In this way

then the Reason that is right reason and the Reason that is justice

are one.


2. Thou wilt think but meanly of charming song and dance

and the pancratium, if thou analyze the melodious utterance

into its several notes and in the case of each ask thyself: Has this

the mastery over me? For thou wilt recoil from such a

confession. So too with the dance, if thou do the like for each

movement and posture. The same holds good of the pancratium.

In fine, virtue and its sphere of action excepted, remember to

turn to the component parts, and by analyzing them come to

despise them. Bring the same practice to bear on the whole of

life also.


3. What a soul is that which is ready to be released from the

body at any requisite moment, and be quenched or dissipated or

hold together! But the readiness must spring from a man's inner

judgment, and not be the result of mere opposition [as is the

case with the Christians]. It must be associated with

deliberation and dignity and, if others too are to be convinced,

with nothing like stage-heroics.


4. Have I done some social act? Well, I am amply

rewarded. Keep this truth ever ready to turn to, and in no wise

slacken thine efforts.


5. What is thy vocation? To be a good man.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK XI (cont.)

But how be successful in this save by assured conceptions on the

one hand of the Universal Nature and on the other of the special

constitution of man?


6. Originally tragedies were brought on to remind us of real

events, and that such things naturally occur, and that on life's

greater stage you must not be vexed at things, which on the

stage you find so attractive. For it is seen that these things must

be gone through, and they too have to endure them, who cry

Ah, Kithaeron! Aye, and the dramatic writers contain some

serviceable sayings, for example this more especially:


Though, both my sons and me the gods have spurned,

For this too there is reason;


and again:

It nought availeth to be wroth with things;


and this:

Our lives are reaped like the ripe ears of corn;


and how many more like them.


And after Tragedy the old Comedy was put on the stage,

exercising an educative freedom of speech, and by its very

directness of utterance giving us no unserviceable warning

against unbridled arrogance. In somewhat similar vein

Diogenes also took up this role. After this, consider for what

purpose the Middle Comedy was introduced, and subsequently

the New, which little by little degenerated into ingenious

mimicry. For that some serviceable

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[Koine Greek]

298

BOOK XI (cont.)

things are said even by the writers of these is recognized by all.

But what end in view had this whole enterprize of such poetical

and dramatic composition?


7. How clearly is it borne in on thee that there is no other

state of life so fitted to call for the exercise of Philosophy as this

in which thou now findest thyself.


8. A branch cut off from its neighbour branch cannot but be

cut off from the whole plant. In the very same way a man

severed from one man has fallen away from the fellowship of

all men. Now a branch is cut off by others, but a man separates

himself from his neighbour by his own agency in hating him or

turning his back upon him; and is unaware that he has thereby

sundered himself from the whole civic community. But mark

the gift of Zeus who established the law of fellowship. For it is

in our power to grow again to the neighbour branch, and again

become perfective of the whole. But such a schism constantly

repeated makes it difficult for the seceding part to unite again

and resume its former condition. And in general the branch that

from the first has shared in the growth of the tree and lived with

its life is not like that which has been cut off and afterwards

grafted on to it, as the gardeners are apt to tell you. Be of one

bush, but not of one mind.


9. As those who withstand thy progress along the path of

right reason will never be able to turn thee

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[Koine Greek]

300

BOOK XI (cont.)

aside from sound action, so let them not wrest thee from a

kindly attitude towards them; but keep a watch over thyself in

both directions alike, not only in steadfastness of judgment

and action but also in gentleness towards those who endeavour

to stand in thy path or be in some other way a thorn in thy side.

For in fact it is a sign of weakness to be wroth with them, no

less than to shrink from action and be terrified into surrender.

For they that do the one or the other are alike deserters of their

post, the one as a coward, the other as estranged from a natural

kinsman and friend.


10. 'Nature in no case comelh short of art.' For indeed the

arts are copiers of various natures. If this be so, the most

consummate and comprehensive Nature of all cannot be

outdone by the inventive skill of art. And in every art the lower

things are done for the sake of the higher; and this must hold

good of the Universal Nature also. Aye and thence is the origin

of Justice, and in justice all the other virtues have their root,

since justice will not be maintained if we either put a value on

things indifferent, or are easily duped and prone to slip and

prone to change.


11. If therefore the things, the following after and eschewing

of which disturb thee, come not to thee, but thou in a manner

dost thyself seek them out, at all events keep thy judgment at

rest about them and they will remain quiescent, and thou shalt

not be seen following after or eschewing them.

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BOOK XI (cont.)

12. The soul is 'a sphere truly shaped,' when it neither

projects itself towards anything outside nor shrinks together

inwardly, neither expands nor contracts, but irradiates a light

whereby it sees the reality of all things and the reality that is in

itself.


13. What if a man think scorn of me? That will be his affair.

But it will be mine not to be found doing or saying anything

worthy of scorn. What if he hate me? That will be his affair.

But I will be kindly and goodnatured to everyone, and ready to

shew even my enemy where he has seen amiss, not by way of

rebuke nor with a parade of forbearance, but genuinely and

chivalrously like the famous Phocion, unless indeed he was

speaking ironically. For such should be the inner springs of a

man's heart that the Gods see him not wrathfully disposed at

any thing or counting it a hardship. Why, what evil can happen

to thee if thou thyself now doest what is congenial to thy nature,

and welcomest what the Universal Nature now deems well-

timed, thou who art a man intensely eager that what is for the

common interest should by one means or another be brought

about?


14. Thinking scorn of one another, they yet fawn on one

another, and eager to outdo their rivals they grovel one to

another.


15. How corrupt is the man, how counterfeit, who proclaims

aloud: I have elected to deal straightforwardly with thee!

Man, what art thou at? There is no need to give this out. The

fact will instantly declare itself. It ought to be written on the

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[Koine Greek]

304

BOOK XI (cont.)

forehead. There is a ring in the voice that betrays it at once, it flashes

out at once from the eyes, just as the loved one can read at a glance

every secret in his lover's looks. The simple and good man should

in fact be like a man who has a strong smell about him, so that, as

soon as ever he comes near, his neighbour is, will-he nill-he, aware

of it. A calculated simplicity is a stiletto. There is nothing more

hateful than the friendship of the wolf for the lamb. Eschew that

above all things. The good man, the kindly, the genuine, betrays

these characteristics in his eyes and there is no hiding it.


16. Vested in the soul is the power of living ever the noblest of

lives, let a man but be indifferent towards things indifferent. And

he will be indifferent, if he examine every one of these things both

in its component parts and as a whole, and bear in mind that none

of them is the cause in us of any opinion about itself, nor obtrudes

itself on us. They remain quiescent, and it is we who father these

judgments about them and as it were inscribe them on our minds,

though it lies with us not to inscribe them and, if they chance to

steal in undetected, to erase them at once. Bear in mind too that we

shall have but a little while to attend to such things and presently

life will be at an end. But why complain of the perversity of things?

If they are as Nature wills, delight in them and let them be no

hardship to thee. If they contravene Nature, seek then what is in

accord with thy nature and speed towards that, even though it bring

no fame. For it is pardonable for every man to seek his own good.

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BOOK XI (cont.)

17. Think whence each thing has come, of what it is built up,

into what it changes, what it will be when changed, and that it

cannot take any harm.


18. Firstly: Consider thy relation to mankind and that we came

into the world for the sake of one another; and taking another

point of view, that I have come into it to be set over men, as a ram

over a flock or a bull over a herd. Start at the beginning from this

premiss: If not atoms, then an all-controlling Nature. If the latter,

then the lower are for the sake of the higher and the higher for one

another.


Secondly: What sort of men they are at board and in bed and

elsewhere. Above all how they are the self-made slaves of their

principles, and how they pride themselves on the very acts in

question.


Thirdly: That if they are acting rightly in this, there is no call

for us to be angry. If not rightly, it is obviously against their will

and through ignorance. For it is against his will that every soul is

deprived, as of truth, so too of the power of dealing with each man

as is his due. At any rate, such men resent being called unjust,

unfeeling, avaricious, and in a word doers of wrong to their

neighbours.


Fourthly: That thou too doest many a wrong thing thyself and

art much as others are, and if thou dost refrain from certain

wrong-doings, yet hast thou a disposition inclinable thereto even

supposing that through cowardice or a regard for thy good name or

some such base consideration thou dost not actually commit them.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK XI (cont.)

Fifthly: That thou hast not even proved that they are doing

wrong, for many things are done even 'by way of policy.'

Speaking generally a man must know many things before he can

pronounce an adequate opinion on the acts of another.


Sixthly: When thou art above measure angry or even out of

patience, bethink thee that man's life is momentary, and in a little

while we shall all have been laid out.


Seventhly: That in reality it is not the acts men do that vex

us—for they belong to the domain of their ruling Reason—but the

opinions we form of those acts. Eradicate these, be ready to

discard thy conclusion that the act in question is a calamity, and

thine anger is at an end. How then eradicate these opinions? By

realizing that no act of another debases us. For unless that alone

which debases is an evil, thou too must perforce do many a wrong

thing and become a brigand or any sort of man.


Eighthly: Bethink thee how much more grievous are the

consequences of our anger and vexation at such actions than are

the acts themselves which arouse that anger and vexation.


Ninthly: That kindness is irresistible, be it but sincere and no

mock smile or a mask assumed. For what can the most

unconscionable of men do to thee, if thou persist in being kindly to

him, and when a chance is given exhort him mildly and, at the

very time when he is trying to do thee harm, quietly teach him a

better way thus: Nay, my child, we have been made for other

things. I shall be in

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[Koine Greek]

310

BOOK XI (cont.)

no wise harmed, but thou art harming thyself, my child. Shew him

delicately and without any personal reference that this is so, and

that even honey-bees do not act thus nor any creatures of

gregarious instincts. But thou must do this not in irony or by way

of rebuke, but with kindly affection and without any bitterness at

heart, not as from a master's chair, nor yet to impress the

bystanders, but as if he were indeed alone even though others are

present.


Bethink thee then of these nine heads, taking them as a gift

from the Muses, and begin at last to be a man while life is thine.

But beware of flattering men no less than being angry with

them. For both these are non-social and conducive of harm. In

temptations to anger a precept ready to thy hand is this: to be

wroth is not manly, but a mild and gentle disposition, as it is more

human, so it is more masculine. Such a man, and not he who gives

way to anger and discontent, is endowed with strength and sinews

and manly courage. For the nearer such a mind attains to a passive

calm, the nearer is the man to strength. As grief is a weakness, so

also is anger. In both it is a case of a wound and a surrender.


But take if thou wilt as a tenth gift from Apollo, the Leader of

the Muses, this, that to expect the bad not to do wrong is worthy

of a madman; for that is to wish for impossibilities. But to

acquiesce in their wronging others, while expecting them to

refrain from wronging thee, is unfeeling and despotic.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK XI (cont.)

19. Against four perversions of the ruling Reason thou

shouldest above all keep unceasing watch, and, once detected,

wholly abjure them, saying in each case to thyself: This thought

is not necessary; this is destructive of human fellowship; this

could be no genuine utterance from the heart,—And not to

speak from the heart, what is it but a contradiction in

terms?—The fourth case is that of self-reproach, for that is an

admission that the divine part of thee has been worsted by and

acknowledges its inferiority to the body, the baser and mortal

partner, and to its gross notions.


20. Thy soul and all the fiery part that is blended with thee,

though by Nature ascensive, yet in submission to the system of

the Universe are held fast here in thy compound personality.

And the entire earthy part too in thee and the humid, although

naturally descensive, are yet upraised and take up a station not

their natural one. Thus indeed we find the elements also in

subjection to the Whole and, when set anywhere, remaining

there under constraint until the signal sound for their release

again therefrom.


Is it not then a paradox that the intelligent part alone of thee

should be rebellious and quarrel with its station? Yet is no

constraint laid upon it but only so much as is in accordance with

its nature. Howbeit it does not comply and takes a contrary

course. For every motion towards acts of injustice and

licentiousness, towards anger and grief and fear, but betokens

one who cuts himself adrift from Nature. Aye

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[Koine Greek]

314

BOOK XI (cont.)

and when the ruling Reason in a man is vexed at anything that

befalls, at that very moment it deserts its station. For it was not

made for justice alone, but also for piety and the service of

God. And in fact the latter are included under the idea of a true

fellowship, and indeed are prior to the practice of justice.


21. He who has not ever in view one and the same goal of

life cannot be throughout his life one and the same. Nor does

that which is stated suffice, there needs to be added what that

goal should be. For just as opinion as to all the things that in one

way or another are held by the mass of men to be good is not

uniform, but only as to certain things, such, that is, as affect the

common weal, so must we set before ourselves as our goal the

common and civic weal. For he who directs all his individual

impulses towards this goal will render his actions homogeneous

and thereby be ever consistent with himself.


22. Do not forget the story of the town mouse and the

country mouse, and the excitement and trepidation of the latter.


23. Socrates used to nickname the opinions of the multitude

Ghouls, bogies to terrify children.


24. The Spartans at their spectacles assigned to strangers

seats in the shade, but themselves took their chance of seats

anywhere.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK XI (cont.)

25. Socrates refused the invitation of Perdiccas to his court,

That I come not, said he, to a dishonoured grave, meaning, that

I be not treated with generosity and have no power to return it.


26. In the writings of the Ephesians was laid down the

advice to have constantly in remembrance some one of the

ancients who lived virtuously.


27. Look, said the Pythagoreans, at the sky in the morning,

that we may have in remembrance those hosts of heaven that

ever follow the same course and accomplish their work in the

same way, and their orderly system, and their purity, and their

nakedness; for there is no veil before a star.


28. Think of Socrates with the sheepskin wrapped round

him, when Xanthippe had gone off with his coat, and what he

said to his friends when they drew back in their embarrassment

at seeing him thus accoutred.


29. In reading and writing thou must learn first to follow

instruction before thou canst give it. Much more is this true of

life.


30. 'Tis not for thee, a slave, to reason why.


31. . . . . and within me my heart laughed.


32. Virtue they will upbraid and speak harsh words in her

hearing.


33. Only a madman will look for figs in winter.

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[Koine Greek]

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BOOK XI (cont.)

No better is he who looks for a child when he may no longer

have one.


34. A man while fondly kissing his child, says Epictetus,

should whisper in his heart: 'To-morrow peradventure thou

wilt die.' Ill-omened words these! Nay, said he, nothing is ill-

omened that signifies a natural process. Or it is ill-omened also

to talk of ears of corn being reaped.


35. The grape unripe, mellow, dried—in every stage we have

a change, not into non-existence, but into the not now existent.


36. Hear Epictetus: no one can rob us of our free choice.


37. We must, says he, hit upon the true science of assent and

in the sphere of our impulses pay good heed that they be subject

to proper reservations; that they have in view our neighbours

welfare; that they are proportionate to worth. And we must

abstain wholly from inordinate desire and shew avoidance in

none of the things that are not in our control.


38. It is no casual matter, then, said he, that is at stake, but

whether we are to be sane or no.


39. Socrates was wont to say: What would ye have? The

souls of reasoning or unreasoning creatures? Of reasoning

creatures. Of what kind of reasoning creatures? Sound or

vicious? Sound. Why then not make a shift to get them?

Because we have them already. Why then fight and wrangle?

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BOOK XII

1. All those things, which thou prayest to attain by a

roundabout way, thou canst have at once if thou deny them not

to thyself; that is to say, if thou leave all the Past to itself and

entrust the Future to Providence, and but direct the Present in

the way of piety and justice: piety, that thou mayest love thy

lot, for Nature brought it to thee and thee to it; justice, that thou

mayest speak the truth freely and without finesse, and have an

eye to law and the due worth of things in all that thou doest;

and let nothing stand in thy way, not the wickedness of others,

nor thine own opinion, nor what men say, nor even the

sensations of the flesh that has grown around thee ; for the part

affected will see to that.


If then, when the time of thy departure is near, abandoning

all else thou prize thy ruling Reason alone and that which in

thee is divine, and dread the thought, not that thou must one

day cease to live, but that thou shouldst never yet have begun to

live according to Nature, then shalt thou be a man worthy of the

Universe that begat thee, and no longer an alien in thy

fatherland, no longer shalt thou marvel at what happens every

day as if it

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322

BOOK XII (cont.)

were unforeseen, and be dependent on this or that.


2. God sees the Ruling Parts of all men stripped of material

vessels and husks and sloughs. For only with the Intellectual

Part of Himself is He in touch with those emanations only

which have welled forth and been drawn off from Himself into

them. But if thou also wilt accustom thyself to do this, thou wilt

free thyself from the most of thy distracting care. For he that

hath no eye for the flesh that envelopes him will not, I trow,

waste his time with taking thought for raiment and lodging and

popularity and such accessories and frippery.


3. Thou art formed of three things in combination—body,

vital breath, intelligence. Of these the first two are indeed

thine, in so far as thou must have them m thy keeping, but the

third alone is in any true sense thine. Wherefore, if thou cut off

from thyself, that is from thy mind, all that others do or say and

all that thyself hast done or said, and all that harasses thee in the

future, or whatever thou art involved in independently of thy

will by the body which envelopes thee and the breath that is

twinned with it, and whatever the circumambient rotation

outside of thee sweeps along, so that thine intellectual faculty,

delivered from the contingencies of destiny, may live pure and

undetached by itself, doing what is just, desiring what befalls it,

speaking the truth—if, I say, thou strip from this ruling Reason

all that cleaves to it from the bodily influences and the things

that lie beyond in time and

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[Koine Greek]

324

BOOK XII (cont.)

the things that are past, and if thou fashion thyself like the

Empedoclean Sphere to its circle true in its poise well-rounded,

rejoicing, and school thyself to live that life only which is thine,

namely the present, so shalt thou be able to pass through the

remnant of thy days calmly, kindly, and at peace with thine

own 'genius.'


4. Often have I marvelled how each one of us loves himself

above all men, yet sets less store by his own opinion of himself

than by that of everyone else. At any rate, if a God or some

wise teacher should come to a man and charge him to admit no

thought or design into his mind that he could not utter aloud as

soon as conceived, he could not endure this ordinance for a

single day. So it is clear that we pay more deference to the

opinion our neighbours will have of us than to our own.


5. How can the Gods, after disposing all things well and with

good will towards men, ever have overlooked this one thing,

that some of mankind, and they especially good men, who have

had as it were the closest commerce with the Divine, and by

devout conduct and acts of worship have been in the most

intimate fellowship with it, should when once dead have no

second existence but be wholly extinguished? But if indeed

this be haply so, doubt not that they would have ordained it

otherwise, had it needed to be otherwise. For had it been just, it

would also have been feasible, and had it been in conformity

with Nature, Nature would have brought it about.

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[Koine Greek]

326

BOOK XII (cont.)

Therefore from its not being so, if indeed it is not so, be assured

that it ought not to have been so. For even thyself canst see that

in this presumptuous enquiry of thine thou art reasoning with

God. But we should not thus be arguing with the Gods were

they not infinitely good and just. But in that case they could not

have overlooked anything being wrongly and irrationally

neglected in their thorough Ordering of the Universe.


6. Practise that also wherein thou hast no expectation of

success. For even the left hand, which for every other function is

inefficient by reason of a want of practice, has yet a firmer grip

of the bridle than the right. For it has had practice in this.


7. Reflect on the condition of body and soul befitting a man

when overtaken by death, on the shortness of life, on the

yawning gulf of the past and of the time to come, on the

impotence of all matter.


8. Look at the principles of causation stripped of their husks;

at the objective of actions; at what pain is, what pleasure, what

death, what fame. See who is to blame for a man's inner unrest;

how no one can be thwarted by another; that nothing is but

what thinking makes it.


9. In our use of principles of conduct we should imitate the

pancratiast not the gladiator. For the latter lays aside the blade

which he uses, and takes it up again, but the other always has his

hand and needs only to clench it.

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[Koine Greek]

328

BOOK XII (cont.)

10. See things as they really are, analyzing them into Matter,

Cause, Objective.


11. What a capacity Man has to do only what God shall

approve and to welcome all that God assigns him!


12. Find no fault with Gods for what is the course of Nature,

for they do no wrong voluntarily or involuntarily; nor with

men, for they do none save involuntarily. Find fault then with

none.


13. How ludicrous is he and out of place who marvels at

anything that happens in life.


14. There must be either a predestined Necessity and

inviolable plan, or a gracious Providence, or a chaos without

design or director. If then there be an inevitable Necessity, why

kick against the pricks? If a Providence that is ready to be

gracious, render thyself worthy of divine succour. But if a chaos

without guide, congratulate thyself that amid such a surging sea

thou hast in thyself a guiding Reason. And if the surge sweep

thee away, let it sweep away the poor Flesh and Breath with

their appurtenances: for the Intelligence it shall never sweep

away.


15. What!' shall the truth that is in thee and the justice

and the temperance be extinguished ere thou art, whereas the

light of a lamp shines forth and keeps its radiance until the

flame be quenched?


16. Another has given thee cause to think that he has done

wrong: But how do I know that it is a wrong^ And even if he be

guilty, suppose that his

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[Koine Greek]

330

BOOK XII (cont.)

own heart has condemned him, and so he is as one who wounds

his own face?


Note that he who would not have the wicked do wrong is as

one who would not have the fig-tree secrete acrid juice in its

fruit, would not have babies cry, or the horse neigh, or have any

other things be that must be. Why, what else can be expected

from such a disposition? If then it chafes thee, cure the

disposition.


17. If not meet, do it not: if not true, say it not. For let thine

impulse be in thy own power.


18. Ever look to the whole of a thing, what exactly that is

which produces the impression on thee, and unfold it, analyzing

it into its causes, its matter, its objective, and into its life-span

within which it must needs cease to be.


19. Become conscious at last that thou hast in thyself

something better and more god-like than that which causes the

bodily passions and turns thee into a mere marionette. What is

my mind now occupied with? Fear? Suspicion?

Concupiscence ? Some other like thing?


20. Firstly, eschew action that is aimless and has no

objective. Secondly, take as the only goal of conduct what is to

the common interest.


21. Bethink thee that thou wilt very soon be no one and

nowhere, and so with all that thou now seest and all who are

now living. For by Nature's law all things must change, be

transformed, and perish, that other things may in their turn

come into being.


22. Remember that all is but as thy opinion

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[Koine Greek]

332

BOOK XII (cont.)

of it, and that is in thy power. Efface thy opinion then, as thou

mayest do at will, and lo, a great calm! Like a mariner that has

turned the headland thou findest all at set-fair and a halcyon

sea.


23. Any single form of activity, be it what it may, ceasing in

its own due season, suffers no ill because it hath ceased, nor

does the agent suffer in that it hath ceased to act. Similarly then

if life, that sum total of all our acts, cease in its own good time,

it suffers no ill from this very fact, nor is he in an ill plight who

has brought this chain of acts to an end in its own due time. The

due season and the terminus are fixed by Nature, at times even

by our individual nature, as when in old age, but in any case by

the Universal Nature, the constant change of whose parts keeps

the whole Universe ever youthful and in its prime. All that is

advantageous to the Whole is ever fair and in its bloom. The

ending of life then is not only no evil to the individual—for it

brings him no disgrace, if in fact it be both outside our choice

and not inimical to the general weal—but a good, since it is

timely for the Universe, bears its share in it and is borne along

with it. For then is he, who is borne along on the same path as

God, and borne in his judgment towards the same things, indeed

a man god-borne.


24. Thou must have these three rules ready for use. Firstly,

not to do anything, that thou doest, aimlessly, or otherwise than

as Justice herself would have acted; and to realize that all that

befalls thee from without is due either to Chance or to

Providence,

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[Koine Greek]

334

BOOK XII (cont.)

nor hast thou any call to blame Chance or to impeach

Providence. Secondly this: to think what each creature is from

conception till it receives a living soul, and from its reception of

a living soul till its giving back of the same, and out of what it

is built up and into what it is dissolved. Thirdly, that if carried

suddenly into mid-heaven thou shouldest look down upon

human affairs and their infinite diversity, thou wilt indeed

despise them, seeing at the same time in one view how great is

the host that peoples the air and the aether around thee; and

that, however often thou wert lifted up on high, thou wouldst

see the same sights, everything identical in kind, everything

fleeting. Besides, the vanity of it all!


25. Overboard with opinion and thou art safe ashore. And

who is there prevents thee from throwing it overboard?


26. In taking umbrage at anything, thou forgettest this, that

everything happens in accordance with the Universal Nature;

and this, that the wrong-doing is another's; and this

furthermore, that all that happens, always did happen, and will

happen so, and is at this moment happening everywhere. And

thou forgettest how strong is the kinship between man and

mankind, for it is a community not of corpuscles, of seed or

blood, but of intelligence. And thou forgettest this too, that

each man's intelligence is God and has emanated from Him;

and this, that nothing is a man's very own, but that his babe, his

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[Koine Greek]

336

BOOK XII (cont.)

body, his very soul came forth from Him; and this, that

everything is but opinion; and this, that it is only the present

moment that a man lives and the present moment only that he

loses.


27. Let thy mind dwell continually on those who have shewn

unmeasured resentment at things, who have been conspicuous

above others for honours or disasters or enmities or any sort of

special lot. Then consider, Where is all that now? Smoke and

dust and a legend or not a legend even. Take any instance of

the kind—Fabius Catullinus in the country, Lusius Lupus in his

gardens, Stertinius at Baiae, Tiberius in Capreae, and Velius

Rufus—in fact a craze for any thing whatever arrogantly

indulged. How worthless is everything so inordinately desired!

How much more worthy of a philosopher is it for a man without

any artifice to shew himself in the sphere assigned to him just,

temperate, and a follower of the Gods. For the conceit that is

conceited of its freedom from conceit is the most insufferable of

all.


28. If any ask, Where hast thou seen the Gods or how hast

thou satisfied thyself of their existence that thou art so devout a

worshipper? I answer: In the first place, they are even visible

to the eyes. In the next, I have not seen my own soul either, yet

I honour it. So then from the continual proofs of their power I

am assured that Gods also exist and I reverence them.

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[Koine Greek]

338

BOOK XII (cont.)

29. Salvation in life depends on our seeing everything in its

entirety and its reality, in its Matter and its Cause: on our

doing what is just and speaking what is true with all our soul.

What remains but to get delight of life by dovetailing one good

act on to another so as not to leave the smallest gap between?


30. There is one Light of the Sun, even though its continuity

be broken by walls, mountains, and countless other things.

There is one common Substance, even though it be broken up

into countless bodies individually characterized. There is one

Soul, though it be broken up among countless natures and with

individual limitations. There is one Intelligent Soul, though it

seem to be divided. Of the things mentioned, however, all the

other parts, such as Breath, are the material Substratum of

things, devoid of sensation and the ties of mutual affinity—yet

even they are knit together by the faculty of intelligence and the

gravitation which draws them together. But the mind is

peculiarly impelled towards what is akin to it, and coalesces

with it, and there is no break in the feeling of social fellowship.


31. What dost thou ask for? Continued existence? But what

of sensation? Of desire? Of growth? Or again of coming to an end?

Of the use of speech? The exercise of thought?

Which of these, thinkest thou, is a thing to long for?

But if these things are each and all of no account, address

thyself to a final endeavour to follow Reason and to follow

God. But it militates against this to prize such things, and to

grieve if death comes to deprive us of them.

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BOOK XII (cont.)

32. How tiny a fragment of boundless and abysmal Time has

been appointed to each man! For in a moment it is lost in

eternity. And how tiny a part of the Universal Substance! How

tiny of the Universal Soul! And on how tiny a clod of the whole

Earth dost thou crawl! Keeping all these things in mind, think

nothing of moment save to do what thy nature leads thee to do,

and to bear what the Universal Nature brings thee.


33. How does the ruling Reason treat itself? That is the gist

of the whole matter. All else, be it in thy choice or not, is dead

dust and smoke.


34. Most efficacious in instilling a contempt for death is the

fact that those who count pleasure a good and pain an evil have

nevertheless contemned it.


35. Not even death can bring terror to him who regards that

alone as good which comes in due season, and to whom it is all

one whether his acts in obedience to right reason are few or

many, and a matter of indifference whether he look upon the

world for a longer or a shorter time.


36. Man, thou hast been a citizen in this World-City, what

matters it to thee if for five years or a hundred? For under its

laws equal treatment is meted out to all. What hardship then is

there in being banished from the city, not by a tyrant or an unjust

judge but by Nature who settled thee in it?

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BOOK XII (cont.)

So might a praetor who commissions a comic actor, dismiss

him from the stage. But I have not played my five acts, but only

three. Very possibly, but in life three acts count as a full play.

For he, that is responsible for thy composition originally and

thy dissolution now, decides when it is complete. But thou art

responsible for neither. Depart then with a good grace, for he

also that dismisses thee is gracious.

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