Marcus Aurelius, the Last of the Five Good Emperors

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (October), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Roman philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.

MARCUS AURELIUS

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Here are some famous quotes by Marcus Aurelius:

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.”
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”

Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121 AD – 180 AD), was the Roman emperor from 161-180 AD. He is believed to be the last of the Five Good Emperors. He was also among the foremost Stoic philosophers of his time, as evidenced by his greatest work, Meditations, written entirely in Greek. He wrote this while he was conducting his military campaign. He took lessons in oration from two Greek tutors and one Latin tutor. The Roman aristocracy of the time still valued Greek as a language and used it prolifically. Marcus Aurelius epitomized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.

HIS MOST FAMOUS WORK:

  • Meditations
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New Year’s Revelation No. 3 of 7: Stand by what you say and what you do

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” 
― Frederick Douglass

Authenticity. 

When we say something, we shouldn’t have to feed an impulse to waver or retract our words. Why? Ideally, we should think before we speak, choose our words wisely and then say what we want to say…. and own it.

In reality, we sometimes “insert foot in mouth”, speak hastily and instantly regret the words. They’re still our words, so we need  to own them… and, if need be, apologize when we speak in error or haste.

The same  applies to our actions. We should always think before we act but, regardless, we must own our actions.

There are always consequences to anything that we say or do. There is no such thing as “off the record.” 

When we own what we say and what we do, we are being authentic and with authenticity, comes clarity.

When we own what we say and what we do, it diffuses conflict and encourages civility.

Also, it feels so damn good to be our authentic selves, doesn’t it?

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

Integrity.

We must always strive to speak and act with integrity. 

When we speak and act with honesty, our words and actions are met with respect (even the people who may not agree with us, will nevertheless respect the honesty behind the words and actions).   

When we speak  reasonably and act fairly, our words and actions hold more weight.

When we make a promise or commitment and honor our word, we have integrity.

Integrity should be the foundation beneath everything we say and do.

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” 
― Dr. SeussHorton Hatches the Egg

Belief.

When we speak and act on the strength of our own beliefs/convictions, we are saying and doing exactly what we mean to say and do.

What we say and do are a reflection of our own beliefs and truths.

Whether these  beliefs and truths are popular or not, conform to other people’s beliefs/truths or not… is entirely irrelevant.

What is relevant is that we are saying exactly what we mean to say and doing exactly what we mean to do… and are fully prepared to  accept the consequences.

Let the chips fall where they may.

At least we can stand tall, confident in the knowledge that we are being true to ourselves.

Authenticity.  Integrity.  Belief.

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Photo by GS+ via Flickr