If you have anger issues, this one is a great tool (h/t mindyourbusiness)
Disclaimer: I’m not your Supervisor. These are my opinions after reading through these books a few times.
“To what service is my soul committed? Constantly ask yourself this and thoroughly examine yourself by seeing how you relate to that part called the ruling principle. Whose soul do I have now? Do I have that of a child, a youth . . . a tyrant, a pet, or a wild animal?”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.11
I am committed to being a good husband and father. Do I always manage to do this as well as I like? No, but if I know what the goal is it helps to keep me on track. If I had no goal, it would be easy to slowly lose focus on this. I work on having the soul of an adult I can respect and not be a pet or a wild animal.
“As you move forward along the path of reason, people will stand in your way. They will never be able to keep you from doing what’s sound, so don’t let them knock out your goodwill for them. Keep a steady watch on both fronts, not only for well-based judgments and actions, but also for gentleness with those who would obstruct our path or create other difficulties. For getting angry is also a weakness, just as much as abandoning the task or surrendering under panic. For doing either is an equal desertion—the one by shrinking back and the other by estrangement from family and friend.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 11.9
Oh boy, I struggle with this one. People are difficult to deal with sometimes. Some of my co-workers were having a discussion about gas prices and inflation and how it was the republican’s fault. I didn’t say anything, just made fun of them in my head. Is this the proper stoic response? Probably not, but it’s better than I would have done last year.
“My reasoned choice is as indifferent to the reasoned choice of my neighbor, as to his breath and body. However much we’ve been made for cooperation, the ruling reason in each of us is master of its own affairs. If this weren’t the case, the evil in someone else could become my harm, and God didn’t mean for someone else to control my misfortune.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.56
Stoicism meets libertarianism. This passage tells me to not worry about my neighbor’s life and my neighbor shouldn’t worry about my life. If I worry too much about what other people do, it would stress me out and instead of bothering them, it would ruin my state of mind. If only we could get the government to act as a good neighbor.
“As Plato said, every soul is deprived of truth against its will. The same holds true for justice, self-control, goodwill to others, and every similar virtue. It’s essential to constantly keep this in your mind, for it will make you more gentle to all.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.63
Another one I struggle with. Sometimes I don’t believe “every soul is deprived of truth against its will”. It seems many are willfully ignoring the true results of what they “know”. I try to tell myself that I don’t know everything and just because I believe something doesn’t make it true. I have to be more accepting of the fact that most people don’t know what they are talking about on a real level, yet are so certain that they end they alone are correct.
“The unjust person acts against the gods. For insofar as the nature of the universe made rational creatures for the sake of each other, with an eye toward mutual benefit based on true value and never for harm, anyone breaking nature’s will obviously acts against the oldest of gods.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 9.1.1
I am not religious but I understand what he means by acting against the gods. If I am dishonest, it ruins that relationship. If I act irrationally angry I can break things and cause harm to my wife (mental, not physical). Thieves disturb the natural order of the world and create distrust among the good people.
“Whenever you have trouble getting up in the morning, remind yourself that you’ve been made by nature for the purpose of working with others, whereas even unthinking animals share sleeping. And it’s our own natural purpose that is more fitting and more satisfying.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.12
My bed is really comfortable. On the weekends, it’s easy to lay there for a while and just relax. I have things to do and can’t just be a vegetable and be like my dogs. If I don’t get up I start to feel useless and sluggish. This quote from Marcus Aurelius shows that this has been a problem for humanity as long as we have recorded history. I have successfully used this quote and others like it to get my lazy ass moving at times when I would rather not.
“Nothing is noble if it’s done unwillingly or under compulsion. Every noble deed is voluntary.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 66.16b
Nobody forces me to be nice to my wife. If I was forced, it would be an empty niceness. If I was forced to do a favor for someone, I’m sure I would do the bare minimum, whereas doing it from my own free will, I can give gladly and try my best to ensure the favor is successful.
Today there is no music, I am submitting this late because we had a leaky garbage disposal last night. Last minute trips to Lowe’s are always fun, but I did get a new disposal and put it in so my wife could use the sink this morning. Fun, fun, fun