Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marcus Aurelius

Xavier told me of a similar quote but here is the original. It's pretty damn fabulous, if you ask me.

Undertake each action as one aware he may next moment depart out of life. To depart from men, if there be really Gods, can have nothing terrible in it. The Gods will involve you in no evil. If there are no Gods, or, if they have no regard to human affairs, why should I desire to live in a world without Gods, and without providence? But Gods there are, undoubtedly, and they regard human affairs; and have put it wholly in our power, that we should not fall into what is truly evil. Were there any real evil in other things, they would have also put it in the power of man to have avoided them altogether. But how can that which makes not one a worse man, be said to make a man’s life worse? And it could neither be from any ignorance, or want of power, to prevent or rectify them, when it knew them, that the nature presiding in the whole has overlooked such things. We cannot ascribe such gross misconduct to it, either from want of power, or want of skill, as that good and evil should happen confusedly and promiscuously, both to good and bad men. Now, death and life, glory and reproach, pain and pleasure, riches and poverty, all these happen promiscuously to the good and bad. But as they are neither honourable nor shameful, they are therefore neither good nor evil.

Taken from The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742)

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