Sunday, December 6, 2009
One with Nature - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.57
Meditation VII.57 - One with Nature - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
Love that only which happens to you and is spun with the thread of your destiny.(1) For what is more suitable?(2)
(1) Love makes the world go round. Love is central to the life of the Stoic. Love drives us to act, and love allows us to accept whatever befalls us. True love is selfless because when in the grip of true love we feel transcendent. What is remarkable about Stoic philosophy is the assertion that love expresses itself far more universally than that "feeling" we have all known at times in our lives. Stoic love goes beyond those relationships we feel for our lovers, or our children, or our parents. The Stoic comes to internalize the experience we normally call love in observing the flow of nature. This is extraordinary because this understanding does not come to us freely. It requires more than belief, or faith - because it occurs with the Stoic as one of those "eureka" moments when peering into the fabric of nature we come to truly "understand" that we are looking not just into the substance of a flower, or a star, or at a magnificent landscape, but peering also into the substance of our own souls. This is the key to Stoic living: knowing that we are truly not "two with nature" - as Woody Allen once famously said - but part of nature. In this context "what happens to you" is what nature intends to happen to you. To reject what nature brings, requires that we reject nature herself. But for the Stoic nature is divine, immutable, inalienable - and invincible.
(2) Nothing can be more suitable than to move with divine law.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.