Ora Et Labora
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Aurelius, Book 8, Selections

8.10 Regret is a kind of self-reproach for having let something useful pass you by. Now the good is necessarily a useful thing, and something that a truly good person should make his special concern; but no such person would feel regret at having let a pleasure pass him by; so pleasure should be regarded as neither useful nor good.

8.14 With everyone you meet, begin at once by asking yourself, ‘What ideas does this person hold on human goods and ills?’ For if he holds particular views on pleasure and pain and the causes of each, and no reputation and disrepute, and life and death, it will not seem extraordinary or strange to me if he acts in some particular way, and I shall remember that he is constrained to act as he does.

8.16 Remember that to change your mind and follow somebody who puts you on the right course is nonetheless a free action; for it is your own action, effected in accordance with your own impulse and judgement, and, indeed, your own reason.

8.27 We have three relationships: the first to the vessel that encloses us, the second to the divine cause, the source of all that befalls every being, and the third to those who live alongside us.

8.47 If you suffer distress because of some external cause, it is not the thing itself that troubles you but your judgement on it, and it is within your power to cancel that judgement at any moment.

8.48 …By virtue of this, a mind free from passions is a mighty citadel; for man has no stronghold more secure to which he can retreat and remain unassailable ever after. One who has failed to see this is merely ignorant, but one who has seen it and fails to take refuge is beyond the aid of fortune.

8.55 Taken generally, evil does no harm to the universe, and in each particular case, it does no harm to another, but only to the person who has been granted the power to be delivered from it as soon as he himself makes that choice.

8.59 Human beings are here for the sake of one another; either instruct them, then, or put up with them.


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