This popped up in today’s “The Writer’s Almanac:”
It’s the birthday of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, born in A.D. 121. He is not as well known for his leadership abilities as he is for his deeply philosophical nature. He was a kind and tolerant ruler who freed many slaves and tried his best to rid Rome of corruption. But Aurelius is best known for the writings he left behind. They were diaries and reflections he wrote every day, and were not meant for publication, but were his own personal insights into the stresses of ruler-ship and of everyday life, and fears about his own personal inadequacies. His writings, now known as the Meditations, also mark his beliefs in the doctrines of Stoicism: that we must get through the problems of our lives with patience and endurance, drawing on our own inner resources to see us through. He believed that most of life was predestined, but that much of it could be improved by our own discipline and will power.
He wrote: “If you work at that which is before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you might be bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activity according to nature…you will be happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.”
The original Marcus Aurelius would have made a good blogger. The MOB’s version isn’t bad either: stop over at The Attic and get some cake and check out today’s take on a flat tax vs. a national sales tax.