Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180) was a Roman emperor, ruling from 161 to 180 A.D., and Stoic philosopher. Marcus was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the “Five Good Emperors.” He is also seen as the last emperor of the “Pax Romana,” an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. His personal philosophical writings are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy.
Quotes by Marcus Aurelius…
Every instrument and tool, if it does that for which it has been made, is well, and yet he who made it is not there. But in things which are put together by nature, there abides in them the power which made them, therefore, the more correct it is to reverence this power. Think that if you live and act according to its will, everything in you is in harmony with intelligence.
Does anyone do wrong? It is to himself that he does the wrong.
What need is there of fear, since it is in your power to inquire what ought to be done?
It is foolish to be surprised when a fig tree produces figs.
A man should always have these two rules in readiness: the one, to do only whatever the reason of the ruling and legislating faculty may suggest… the other, to change his opinion, if some other person sets him right, and moves him from an opinion. But this change of opinion must proceed only from a certain persuasion, as of what is just or of common advantage, and the like, not because it appears pleasant or brings reputation.
Be not disgusted, nor discouraged, nor dissatisfied, if you do not succeed in doing everything according to right principles, but when you fail, return back again, and be content if the greater part of what you do is consistent with man’s nature. Love this to which you return, and do not return to philosophy as if she were a master, but act like those who have tired eyes and apply a drenching with water. Then you will not fail to obey reason, and you will repose in it.
Always run in the short way, and the short way is the natural. Accordingly, say and do everything in conformity with the soundest reason. For such a purpose frees a man from trouble and warfare and all artificiality.
Say nothing more to yourself than what the first appearances report. Suppose that it has been reported to you that a certain person speaks ill of you. This has been reported, but that you have been injured has not been reported… Thus then always abide by the first appearances, and add nothing yourself from within, and then nothing hurtful happens to you.
To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.