Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Review of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Genre = Philosophy
Book Club Event = Book List (12/30/2023)

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“To be easy and ready to be reconciled, and well pleased again with them that had offended me, as soon as any of them would be contentto seek unto me again.  To read with diligence; not to rest satisfied with a light and superficial knowledge, nor quickly to assent to things commonly spoken of.” – Marcus Aurelius, His First Book, Page 33

“If to understand and to be reasonable be common unto all men, then is that reason, for which we are termed reasonable, common unto all.  If reason is general, then is that reason also, which prescribeth what is to be done and what not, common unto all.  If that, then law.  If law, then are we fellow-citizens.  If so, then are we partners in some one commonweal.  If so, then the world is as it were a city.  For which other commonweal is it, that all men can be said to be members of?  From this common city it is, that understanding, reason, and law is derived unto us, for from whence else?” – Marcus Aurelius, The Fourth Book, Page 59

“Do not ever conceive anything impossible to man, which by thee cannot, or not without much difficulty be effected; but whatsoever in general thou canst Conceive possible and proper unto any man, think that very possible unto thee also.” – Marcus Aurelius, The Sixth Book, Page 87



Conflict and disagreement do occur, but people need to readily seek reconciliation.  To reaccept those who had previously offended.  Hostilities endure when people resist regaining friendly relations.  Reason facilitates cooperation between people.  Society depends on the cooperation of people.  Therefore, other people either need to be taught how to improve their behavior, or be tolerated.  Behavior and thinking skills are not innate, and need to be taught.  To utilize reason and judgment to make the most appropriate decisions as possible.  Discovering the most appropriate decisions, would require questioning superficial knowledge.  To not easily assent to popular claims.

People need to find contentment in their lives.  Which comes from proper work and appropriate behavior.  People will only do that which is possible.  Individuals are more interested in activities which they have taken internal responsibility for, rather than pressured externally to do.  Individuals need to live in the present.  The future is uncertain, while the past has already happened.  No matter what people strive for and have achieved in their life, death takes them all the same.  Praise for contemporary achievements occurs because of political considerations.



This is a very difficult book to read.  Difficult formatting with antediluvian references.  Many similar topics and ideas are sporadically placed.  The claims themselves are rarely given an explanation.  They appear to portray common observations that do not need an explanation.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•Why reconcile?
•What is the use of reason?
•Why cooperate?
•How to make decisions?
•How to consider popular claims? 
•How to change?
•How to think about death?
•How to think about other people’s behavior?
•What do people want to do?
•What is contentment?

Book Details
Translator:            Casaubon
Edition:                 First Digital Edition
Publisher:             Anna Ruggieri
Edition ISBN:      9788826031347
Pages to read:       170
Publication:          2017
1st Edition:           180
Format:                 eBook 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    1
Content          2
Overall          1