Currently the stoic philosophy resonates with me quite a bit. Many aspects of it seem helpful in navigating my own life’s small and bigger challenges. But I had never before read a whole book by one of its most-known representatives. Marcus Aurelius is probably the most popular of them all, so I chose his Meditations. Unfortunately, the George Long translation turned out to be very stressful to read and required a bit too much attention just to understand the sentences, but I fought through.
It’s hard for me to judge the book by the standards during which it was written (160-180 CE), but by today’s standards it’s rather repetitive and often doesn’t properly follow through with argumentations. Claims are made without backing them up. Still, I have no doubt that the main ideas were radical and era-changing back then and still play a role in today’s societies. They are basic, but they are great and immediately graspable. This is incredible in itself. Ironically, one of Aurelius’ main points is that we should all accept death and constant change, be okay with being forgotten soon after dying, and yet here we are reading these words by him, 1,900 years later.
I should have probably gone for a book about all the stoics (Seneca, Epictetus as well) and their philosophy as a whole, seen from today’s standpoint – that’s for 2021.