The Selfless Mind And Stoicism Of Marcus Aurelius

The Selfless Mind And Stoicism Of Marcus Aurelius

English | September 7, 2020 | ISBN: N/A | ASIN: B08HGPZ3JG | 179 Pages | MOBI | 0.38 MB

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. During the last 14 years of his life, he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. The Antonine Plague, named after him, was probably caused by a strain of the smallpox virus. It???s estimated to have killed up to 5 million people, possibly including Marcus himself.
From AD166 to around AD180, repeated outbreaks occurred throughout the known world. Roman historians describe the legions being devastated, and entire towns and villages being depopulated and going to ruin. Rome itself was particularly badly affected, carts leaving the city each day piled high with dead bodies.
In the middle of this plague, Marcus wrote a book, known as The Meditations, which records the moral and psychological advice he gave himself at this time. He frequently applies Stoic philosophy to the challenges of coping with pain, illness, anxiety, and loss. It???s no stretch of the imagination to view The Meditations as a manual for developing precisely the mental resilience skills required to cope with a pandemic.
First of all, because Stoics believe that our true good resides in our character and actions, they would frequently remind themselves to distinguish between what???s ???up to us??? and what isn???t.
Much, if not all, of our thinking, is also up to us. Hence, ???It???s not events that upset us but rather our opinions about them.??? More specifically, our judgment that something is really bad, awful, or even catastrophic, causes our distress.
Marcus likes to ask himself, What virtue has nature given me to deal with this situation???? That naturally leads to the question: ???How do other people cope with similar challenges???? Stoics reflect on character strengths such as wisdom, patience, and self-discipline, which potentially make them more resilient in the face of adversity. They try to exemplify these virtues and bring them to bear on the challenges they face in daily life, during a crisis like the pandemic. They learn from how other people cope.

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