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user 10797357
Herndon, VA
Post #: 14
In a course of a discussion came a topic of how modern American politics lack intellectual substance. I think that I felt a sentiment that if Markus Aurelius lived now he would be out of the ordinary as an intellectual giant. I agree that he was deep and clear thinker that are born once in a millennium. And then I thought what would he say about our hot topics - as war and health insurance, as we talked around a table.

When I thought how passionate are some about making health care universal because it is unjust now... I read: ".. How unlucky I am hat this should have happened to me! By no means, say rather, How lucky I am that it has left me with no bitterness; unshaken by the present, and undismayed by the future. The thing could have happened to anyone, but not everyone would have emerged unembittered." (IV, 49).

"If you suppose anything over which you have no control to be either good or bad for you, then the accident of missing the one or encountering the other is certain to make you aggrieved with the gods, and bitter against the men whom you know or suspect to be responsible for you failure or misfortune. We do, in fact, commit many injustices through attaching importance to things of this class. But when we limit our notions of good and evil strictly to what is within our own power, there remains no reason either to bring accusations against God or to set ourselves as variance with men." (VI, 41).

Somehow I doubt that Marcus Aurelius would borrow billions of dollars to build something in a future. He is more a kind of self-sufficient guy: when life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade. When you got sick and don't have help, endure it without complains because you are a part of the whole, and how you deal with a problem is more important than the problem itself.

But what about sufferings? "Just as we say “Aesculapius has prescribed horseback exercise, or a cold bath, so in the same way does the World-Nature prescribe disease, mutilation, loss, or some other disability. In the former case prescribing meant ordering a specific treatment; similarly in the latter certain specific occurrences are ordered in the interests of our destiny. We may, in fact, be said to “meet with” these misfortunes in the same sense as masons say these the squared stones in wall “meet with each other” when they are being fitted closely together. This mutual integration is a universal principle. As a myriad bodies combine into the single Body which is the world, so a myriad causes combine into the single Cause which is destiny. " (V, 8)

He was not only an emperor, but also a general who didn't hesitate to kill when he thought it was for his country's benefit. "Try to move men by persuasion; yet act against their will if the principles of justice so direct." (VI, 50). Naturally, he was the one who defined "justice".

So, whom does he remind you more on our political scene? A man of war who spent 8 years trying to submit rebellion tribes, proponent of self-sufficiency and self-reliance? "The man of ambition thing to find his good in the operations of others; the man of pleasure in his own sensations; but the man of understanding in his own actions." (VI, 51). And also sticking to his religion... to his God as he understood Him.

I'm sure that each of us can find many thoughts concordant with Mark Aurelius writing. That is why his book is still alive.
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