book summary: pithy insights from ‘meditations’ [2/3]

book summary: pithy insights from ‘meditations’ [2/3]
  • Ambition is not a bad thing, but we must also understand that fame, recognition, and status are transient and making their pursuit a chief goal in our lives is downright stupid.
  • Oblivion is inevitable. Countless men and women — famous, wealthy, and powerful during their respective times — have been forgotten.
  • Fame is ephemeral, and its constant pursuit reveals nothing but an unhealthy obsession with vanity. It doesn’t matter how mighty your accomplishments are and how resounding your success and fame are, they’ll all get dissolved in the end.
  • Marcus as well as other Stoics advocated living in accordance with virtue and considered being and doing good as the primary job of a human being.
  • The Stoics believed in the concept of sympatheia, which essentially translated to the notion of a well-integrated, interconnected cosmos in which everything in the universe is part of a grander whole.
  • When the world goes through pain whether it be due to a crisis or an injustice, we go through that pain as well. Marcus referred to this when he wrote that what’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee as well.
  • This world is an interconnected web of cause and effect. Hence, the best and wisest course for us is to act from wisdom and selflessness, by cultivating a sense of love and commitment to the common good.
  • Marcus constantly reminded himself that like other living beings who went about doing their respective tasks without resistance, putting the world in order to the best of their abilities, he too had to be equally willing to do his job as a human being.
  • Despite being one of the most powerful people on the planet during his time, Marcus gave utmost importance to fulfilling the duty he owed to Rome and the world at large. He knew he had to choose selflessness and serve others because this is how nature designed us to be.
  • Marcus recognized that our essence calls for experiencing satisfaction, happiness, and wholeness that comes from doing meaningful work. As he reminded himself, “Joy for human beings lies in proper human work.”
  • Depending on external circumstances to feel happy, content, and peaceful always leads us to disappointment and despair.
  • It’s not the events themselves but our perceptions of them as troublesome that mainly cause sadness and distress within us.

Snapshort - Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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