Thursday, April 2, 2009
No Surprises in Life - The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. XII.13
Meditation XII.13 - No Surprises in Life - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
How ridiculous and what a stranger you are if you are surprised at anything which happens in life.1
(1) The Stoic accepts all that happens in life with equanimity and grace. Marcus does not say that we can know in detail what will happen to us in life, only that we ought not to be surprised. The kind of surprise Marcus means here is of the eye rolling sort, one that cloaks disapproval or disappointment. We cannot predict the future, but, when we look at the past we observe that what has happened to others is what has always happened, and will certainly happen to us. We are born; we change, and we die. In fact if we live according to nature, whatever happens to us is what was meant to be for us.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.