Friday, July 17, 2009
This is Enough - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. IX.06
Meditation IX.06 - This is Enough - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
Your present opinion founded on understanding,1 and your present conduct directed to social good,2 and your present disposition of contentment with everything which happens - that is enough.3
(1) Stoic opinion is never superficial. It can never be grounded on heresay or circumstantial evidence or unsubstantiated proclamations grounded in authority or religious belief. The understanding of the Stoic must always be beyond reasonable doubt. A Stoic is expected to engage in critical thinking in all matters of substance.
(2) This idea is grounded in Stoic understanding of natural law. Human beings are social by nature and the welfare of the social community at all levels always takes precedence over the welfare of the individual.
(3) Non-Stoics have difficulty with this idea. But Stoic acceptance is easier to understand when we appreciate that the issues that non-Stoics consider vital (pleasure, pain, life and death) are matters of indifference in Stoic philosophy. What matters is that we engage in a critical examination of nature (with the goal of following nature) in order to pursue virtuous activities that are of benefit to society. This is indeed "enough."
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.