On the subject of Meditations, this is a great article - Reflections on reading it every year for 10 years by Ryan Holidayhttp://observer.com/2016/10/100-things- ... ditations/
I like the point he makes about not going the cheap route and getting a free translation. He's right, the free ones aren't as good.
I enjoyed reading the article, however for me the writer seems to miss the underlying message sometimes, not always. I dunno, maybe im wrong and not grasped the concept of stoicism yet but for example -
-“So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?” I answer in blue pen in one read, “To embrace and to resist our nature.” What do I—what did Marcus—mean by that? I think it’s encouraging what is good about us and to fight against what is bad. To encourage the parts of ourselves that are moral, helpful, honest and aware and to fight against what is selfish, petty, shortsighted and wrong.
To me this is similar to Zen or something Musashi would write in terns of not seeking others recognition and letting go of ego.
-In that same passage, Marcus also writes “If you can’t stop prizing a lot of other things? Then you’ll never be free—free, independent, imperturbable.” I have in my copy a jotted note from Fight Club, “Only when you’ve lost everything, you are free to do anything.”
For me this is consciously making the decision to let go, its a choice, rather than how the writer sees it as 'losing' everything. Maybe I am being too critical and like I said, not grasped the concept fully but there is quite a lot of the article I dont totally agree with.
-In Book Four, Marcus reminds himself to think about all the doctors who “died, after furrowing their brows over how many deathbeds, how many astrologers, after pompous forecasts about other’s ends.” In black pen—somewhat recently it looks like—I added “or plotters, schemers and strategists, outsmarted, outmaneuvered and destroyed.”
Book Six, about how if you were sparring with someone and they hurt you, you wouldn’t yell at them or whine or hold it against them—you’d just make a mental note about it and act accordingly in the future. I can see where I actually wrote the name of my roommates down to explicitly make this connection. “Do not hate them,” I wrote to myself, “remain aloof.”
Seems to me he is taking the lessons and using them as mental strategy lessons for dealing with people he is doing business with or just dislikes. I realise these meditations are there for a guide and can be interpreted in slightly different ways but I would be surprised to find out later if a fundamental concept of the philosophy is to outwit others.
If I was to put a different one on my desk, I’d choose from Book Ten, “If you seek tranquility, do less.”
Again he attaches this quote after speaking of motivation to do things with your day but for me, doing less means not involving yourself in squabbles or engaging in intellectual battles, but rather let them play out on their own accord and the natural outcome will be achieved.
What do you think ? Maybe Im way off. Im aware these meditations mean different things to different people. Just this guys interpretations seem a bit focused on being better than other people. I think he's missing something