Friday, April 17, 2009

Marcus Aurelius Resists the Haters

Marcus Aurelius had more than his share of conflicts with people of radically different backgrounds, and shared what he learned:

Do not hold the same views as the person who does you harm, or even wishes to harm you. Rather, see these judgments for what they truly are.
That's from book four of the Meditations as translated by Needleman and Piazza; the same passage as translated by George Long might be clearer:
Do not have such an opinion of things as he has who does thee wrong, or such as he wishes thee to have, but look at them as they are in truth.
It seems to me the "9/11 changed everything" mindset could benefit from careful attention to this stoical wisdom. We fail civilization when we allow its enemies to set the boundaries, define the terms, and otherwise move us in directions we know to be wrong. As Aurelius expressed it a little further along in the same work:
The noblest way of taking revenge on others is by refusing to become like them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This quote is just what I needed to hear today. Thanks Dale. I appreciate it. Have a good one!