January 21, 2020
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Marcus Aurelius: Meditations (Animated)


The philosophy of Stoicism was practised by
people from all classes of Roman society. From slaves like Epictetus to high ranking
advisors such as Seneca. Even an Emperor of the Roman Empire itself,
Marcus Aurelius, became a Stoic and towards the end of his life, wrote one of the greatest
works of philosophy – a series of private notes and ideas now commonly known as Meditations. Think of your many years of procrastination;
how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken
no advantage. It is time now to realise the nature of the
universe to which we belong, and of that controlling power whose offspring you are; and to understand
that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment;
which will be gone, and never in your power again. It is important to remember that time is your
most precious resource. You have lived a certain amount of days but
the amount of days you have remaining is not guaranteed. Stoicism highlights the limited time we have
and how to make the most of it. Seneca wrote an essay called “De Brevitate
Vitae” (On the Shortness of Life) claiming many people waste their time on meaningless
activities. Here Marcus Aurelius encourages a sense of
urgency, reminding himself that he wasn’t meant to procrastinate. Focus on what you want to accomplish and foster
patience and diligence to give yourself the best chance to achieve your goals. Live not as though there were a thousand years
ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good
while life and power are still yours. Time is a nonrenewable resource. Devoting our time to those we care about,
those we love and those in need is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. Your words and deeds have a ripple effect
in how they affect the lives of others. You can send out positive effects that benefit
them, or negative effects that impact in a harmful way. If you find certain behaviours abhorrent,
the best way to show your contempt is to not participate in them. Do not be distressed, do not despond or give
up in despair, if now and again practice falls short of precept. These are Marcus Aurelius’ words for those
of us that are at times unsuccessful in meeting the high standard of virtue and righteousness
that he advocates. We will all have dark moments and times where
we have not behaved as we should. It is at these points the teachings of Marcus
Aurelius are especially important. Your values affect you and your morals and
integrity are on display at these points in your life as much as at any other time. As Dwight Moody once said: “Character is
what you are in the dark”. If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that
I am wrong in thought or deed, I will gladly change. I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and
ignorance which does harm. It takes courage to rethink your position
but it is the right thing to do if you find yourself defending the undefendable or justifying
the unjustifiable. It is important to have an open mind when
seeking the truth. Questioning yourself through critical thinking
and a healthy amount of skepticism are essential when trying to find the right answers. Examine your beliefs. Develop an awareness of where they came from
and how you formed them. Beliefs that are unexamined are often at the
root of our suffering. Anybody or any group of people that do not
welcome the questioning of their ideas and evade the answering of questions should be
observed carefully, as these behaviours may be being used only to maintain their position. Whatever the world may say or do, my part
is to keep myself good. The stoic teachings of Marcus Aurelius would
have been of particular help for the thousands of men in Roman legions at the time, dealing
with life and death situations on a day by day basis. Regardless of what happened around them, whether
it’s their friend next to them being killed in battle or dealing with potentially fatal
living conditions, stoic philosophy taught them that it is their choice whether to be
distracted from their moral duty. They can therefore choose not to let their
performance on the battlefield be affected by circumstances outside of their control. Any emotional bother they encounter is simply
an indicator of a weakness of their will. You too can use the gritty determination that
stoicism teaches us to live in a calm and rational manner, behaving virtuously regardless
of what is going on around you or what is happening to you. We shrink from change; yet is there anything
that can come into being without it?… Could you have a hot bath unless the firewood
underwent some change?… Do you not see, then, that change in yourself
is of the same order, and no less necessary to nature? The world we live in is constantly changing. Resisting change is pointless as it comes
in many different forms throughout our lives. We meet and lose touch with people. We fall in and out of love. We move on. We fall ill and recover. We age. We develop. This is nature. Embrace change as a natural phenomenon that
we can use to help us create something new. Without change, there is no progress. Take it that you have died today, and your
life’s story is ended; and henceforward regard what further time maybe given you as
an uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature. Marcus Aurelius states that for many people,
their greatest fear is that of death. To overcome it, he writes in his meditations
advising us that this fear of death is only a product of the mind and the mind can be
changed. Death is unavoidable and inevitable and Stoicism
teaches us to not worry about what we can’t control. By keeping death in this perspective, it therefore
should not be of concern to us despite being prepared for it. Dig within. There lies the well-spring of good: ever dig,
and it will ever flow. Your mind is a unique gift that you have been
given. Here Marcus Aurelius is telling us that there
is good in all of us. We can let this goodness “flow” by exploring
and cultivating our mind and finding it, for our mind and thoughts are entirely within
our control. Looking within ourselves for answers is like
digging for treasure; as long as you keep digging in the right places, you will inevitably
find it. It will take time and effort but if you are
prepared to make those sacrifices, the spring of “goodness” will flow from you and you
will be able to spread it around eternally. Waste no more time arguing what a good man
should be. Be one. These words from Marcus Aurelius were echoed
by Abraham Lincoln when he said “actions speak louder than words”. What we do, rather than what we say, defines
us. Far too often we see politicians making promises
they have no intention of keeping. Their action (or inaction) is what defines
their character. We can talk indefinitely on social media about
what we think is right or wrong, but actually living virtuously according to our beliefs
takes a lot more effort. Lead by example to try and improve the world
– albeit maybe only slightly – by your actions. The business of a healthy eye is to see everything
that is visible, not to demand no colour but green, for that merely marks a disordered
vision. It’s important to see things as they are:
to see all things rather than just what we want to see. By viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses
and ignoring what we may think is unpleasant, we run the risk of being delusional and suffering
needlessly as a result. As the philosopher Ayn Rand once said: “He
is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to
unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid
the abyss he refuses to see.” Have I done an unselfish thing? Well then, I have my reward. Keep this thought ever present, and persevere. Stoics are not driven by their ego and Marcus
Aurelius was no exception. While advocating looking within and focusing
on yourself may sound like a selfish act, it is in fact quite different. Aurelius’ advice is to curb our impulses
and quench our personal desires. This way we can better serve our fellow man
and live a good, virtuous life. There is no need to publicise a noble act
to raise any perception of self-importance. A stoic is aware of the shortness of their
life and their insignificance in the wider scheme of things. To expect bad men never to do bad things is
insensate; it is hoping for the impossible. To tolerate their offences against others,
and expect none against yourself, is both irrational and arbitrary. Anger often stems from our shock and surprise
when things don’t turn out the way we expect. Frustration is often a part of modern life. Driving a car in a big city for example is
all but guaranteed to involve traffic jams and bad driving. However, some people are still surprised and
angry when they experience or witness this themselves. If you take a more pessimistic but rational
view and expect to encounter bad driving, you will be less surprised, more accepting
of the situation and therefore less angry when it inevitably occurs. In the management of your principles, take
example by the pugilist, not the swordsman. One puts down his blade and has to pick it
up again; the other is never without his hand, and so needs only to clench it. Many Stoics advocated not indulging in any
sort of excess, but instead to periodically face some sort of discomfort, for example
walking without shoes for a day or sleeping on a hard floor. These were not seen as punishments but more
as a form of training for your body. For example, fasting for a certain period
of time will mean you will be better prepared for a situation in life where you have to
go hungry. The aim of facing these sorts of physical
discomforts voluntarily, Aurelius states, is so that you will then be less afraid when
forced to face them.

Otis Rodgers

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Eudaimonia Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    This piece of work on Marcus Aurelius completes my trilogy on Stoicism. If you enjoy his wisdom, consider getting the book on Amazon (it will also help to support the channel) – http://geni.us/f5bR

    Work on the next project has already begun.

    ad victoriam

    – Adam

    Reply
  2. Discover Your Awesomeness Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    "Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games." –Babe Ruth ¤*

    Reply
  3. Mayank Srivastava Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Always Love your work, the amount of hard work you put to come up with such concise and excellent animation for book. Thank You!

    Reply
  4. Arturo Cabello Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you! 🙂

    PS: love your animation!

    Reply
  5. Vlad Mercori Posted on January 11, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Really happy to see this book on such a popular channel.
    I tried to summarize "Meditations" on my channel as well and watching your work which is btw amazing, I realized there are so many angles to look at the same thing when it comes to Stoic principles.

    Reply
  6. King Dang Posted on January 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Marcus was truly a master at stoicism. His ability to lead and cultivate a entire empire is extraordinary. Loved the animation and the content , I’ve learnt quite a few things that I never thought about ! Keep up with the amazing work my friend 👊

    Reply
  7. UNLEASHING POTENTIAL - PSYCHOLOGY VIDEOS Posted on January 11, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Nice 👍🏾 video

    Reply
  8. Life Progress - a channel for introverts Posted on January 11, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    Reply
  9. Said Toshimaru Posted on January 11, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Ayn Rand Philosopher? Hahahaaaaa!!!

    Reply
  10. Paul Serdiuk Posted on January 12, 2019 at 4:05 am

    There is a caveat to not letting things outside of your control affect you; that is, you don't have full control over your emotions in the present, so the proper way to handle adversity is not to try and repress your emotions, but to feel them while also doing what must be done. It's not a weakness of will to feel and to express feelings, per se, but it is weak to let feelings affect your important actions.

    Reply
  11. John Martinez Posted on January 12, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Another brilliant video. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. baetoven Posted on January 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Why quote Ayn Rand? Her overall ideas are distinct from stoicism. Although one can use a quote by her, her ideas on a way-of-life can be seen as opposed to stoicism.

    Reply
  13. Charly Galindo Posted on January 12, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Amazing video!

    Reply
  14. Coleorton Posted on January 13, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Another great video.

    Will you be creating more, explaining more passages in his book?

    For example, I know one of them goes something like "Punish only he who has committed the crime.".

    If that's the case, then why does the Law nowadays, in some cases, allow people who didn't actually do the crime to be punished? Like guilt by association etc?

    Reply
  15. Gerhard Symons Posted on January 13, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Thomas More, Marcus Aurelius, Jesus Christ: three men whose revolutionary words echo down the centuries.

    Reply
  16. Navak Posted on January 16, 2019 at 7:25 am

    I am not surprised by bad driving.
    I am not surprised by traffic accidents.
    I am not surprised by my anger at bad driving. It is time to be angry.

    Reply
  17. juan juan Posted on January 18, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    A ducking Roman emperor wrote this that’s NUTTY

    Reply
  18. Impios Rex Posted on January 19, 2019 at 11:14 am

    This video is something I didn't know I needed to watch today but I did thanks I'm off to buy the book

    Reply
  19. OmegaTaishu Posted on January 21, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Fantastic.
    Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  20. Numbzie Posted on February 7, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    This is incredibly relevant to todays political climate

    Reply
  21. 027christy Posted on February 7, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Because time is limited and a precious resource i played this on 1.5 speed !!

    Reply
  22. The1stNightSky Posted on May 11, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    hi, what translation was this from? hammond? long? i like these passages better than the one i have. Please let me know, thank you.

    Reply
  23. Mansour Jahfal Posted on May 14, 2019 at 4:01 am

    “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    Reply
  24. Isuzu Bighorn Posted on May 17, 2019 at 12:19 am

    If you do something that you hate, it takes two effort, hating it and doing it anyway, If you love what you do its effortless.

    Reply
  25. Jonathan dumay Posted on May 28, 2019 at 11:54 am

    character is what you are in the dark

    Reply
  26. H1Z1 Logic Posted on September 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    “Meditations” Im sure roughly translates to “thoughts” meaning this “book” is like his journal, which he had no intention of publishing as a book, because how many of us would want the world to read their private thoughts for the past 20 years?

    Reply
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