Friday, April 3, 2009
Answers are Written in the Wind - The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. XII.10
Meditation XII.10 – Answers are Written in the Wind - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
See what things are in themselves, dividing them into matter, form and purpose.1
(1) Marcus frequently advises us to pay close attention to things. This active hands-on approach to nature is motivated by our need to understand the mechanisms at play in the universe. The three categories noted here are influenced by Aristotle's Categories and causes. While the motivation for these investigations may seem curiosity driven and scientific, the ultimate goal is moral. Our purpose in Stoic terms is to act according to nature’s will, and with nature’s approval. But from the Stoic perspective the will of nature is indeed written in the wind. The laws of nature, even the laws of physics, are the foundation for moral and ethical action. The connections between the physical laws of nature and moral action are not clearly obvious to a casual observer. But uncovering those connections and seeing these as moral guidelines or a basis for virtue is the principle reason for meditation.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.