Monday, August 31, 2009
Body and Soul - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VIII.27
Meditation VIII.27 - Body and Soul - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
There are three relations between you and other things: the one to the body which surrounds you; the second to the divine cause from which all things come to all; and the third to those who live with you.1
(1) The concept of relationship carries with it the duty of responsibility. We are connected to the body and have a responsibility to understand, and care for, and be intimately aware of the body and particularly how its needs can affect our other two relationships. Our physical needs include proper nutrition, adequate rest, regular exercise, and emotional awareness. When any of these is out of balance, our bodies respond with sensory signals telling us to eat, rest, exercise, or to seek emotional release. From a Stoic stance we must do these things in order to exercise our first priority which is to care for our soul (or mind) which is the seat of our intellectual and divine essence. An unhealthy body creates "noise" which can obscure our first responsibility which is to know our true selves. Knowing ourselves means understanding the divine relationship we all share with "the divine cause from which all things come to all." That cause is Logos - the active Law of nature which holds each of us together as a community of shared intelligence. The third relationship follows from the second. Because each of us has our genesis in the world-soul or Logos, we are forever bound and responsible for our mutual happiness. Marcus is inclusive in his reference to "living with you." In truth, we live with everyone, including our enemies, because we all are bound in Logos.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.