Saturday, March 28, 2009
Cast Away Opinion - The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. XII.25
Meditation XII.25 - Cast Away Opinion - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
Cast away opinion:1 you are saved.2 Who then hinders you from casting it away?3
(1) Opinion plays a leading role in Stoic philosophy. Marcus furthermore makes a distinction between false opinion and true opinion. The latter is the opinion developed after careful deliberation, considering all relevant influences, and developed exclusively from reason following Stoic principles, logic and physics (the Law of Nature). Opinion is also something that you have entirely within your power.
(2) Marcus is drawing on the idea of salvation, but in a sense quite distinct from its religious usage. In cultivating true opinion you are "saved" - not from hell-fire - but from alienation (from nature), misery, anxiety and despair.
(3) Your opinion comes from your mind, and your mind alone. Unless you are an intellectual slave, and unwilling to engage in meditation, no one, other than yourself, has the power to impose opinion onto you. The opinion Marcus asks you to cast away is the false opinion that restricts you from true happiness.
Russell McNeil, PhD, is the author of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated and Explained by Skylight Paths Publishing. The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book. The published selections are referenced in this Blog by page number and section.