I’m reading “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, and at the halfway point, this is probably in my top 10 books of all time.
I’ve never really appreciated or understood Stoicism, if you could call Marcus a Stoic. It always appeared to me as living a sterile live, uncommitted to experiencing any strong emotion. Quietism.
This memoir changed that perspective. He is at once brutally aware of the passing of all things into the oblivion of the generative principal – objects, achievement, even memories. But the fire of the text lies in his unwavering diligence to the Common Good. To cleave indefatigably to kindness, fellowship, expressing cheer in the face of travesty and tragedy, being satisfied with little, and the practical foresight of mortality.
His is a voice of placidity and radical acceptance. Seemingly a stone, unmovable in his conviction to virtue and ever the same, but still enjoying the ride down the river.