Marcus Aurelius - Meditations - Book 1

I thought that Marcus Aurelius' first book was very wonderful and kind. Many speakers depict Marcus as an uptight guy, but from my first reading of him, he seems like a kind and considerate person.

I think that his approach is different than a lot of Stoic writers when looking for mentors and heroes. Other writers recommend looking for one person who exemplifies a virtuous life, but Marcus—the emperor of Rome—looks at the best qualities of the people whom he cares about and imitates them. Unlike many people who live common lives, there is no-one of equal status to Marcus. For many political issues, Marcus has the final word. There is not one person who Marcus can imitate.

What I find so beautiful about this introduction is that not only does Marcus try to become as virtuous as he can possibly be, he also honors and memorialize the people he cares about by imitating them. I can imagine Marcus saying something like, "What should I do in this situation? Well, I should be like my friend Catalus and accept my friend's advice. If his advice is wrong, I should talk with my friend and calm him down because he is riled up and worried about me."

I know that his first book is very different from the rest of the book, but I think it shows a lot of Marcus' noble character.


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