Friday, April 2, 2010
It is Royal to Be Abused - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.36
Meditation VII.36 - It is Royal to Be Abused - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
From Antisthenes:(1) It is royal to do good and to be abused.(2,3)
(1) Antisthenes (c. 444-365 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and student of Socrates (469–399 BCE) and founder of the Cynic school of philosophy. His basic ethical premise - learned from Socrates - was that virtue, not pleasure, was the end of existence. Antisthenes' work predates the first Stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium (334-262 BCE) but is regarded in Stoic tradition as a primary intellectual link connecting Socrates to Stoicism.
(2) The Stoic recognizes that life is not about power. Marcus regarded his own power as emperor as incidental to his mission in life - to be virtuous ("to do good"). In this recognition Marcus inverts the tendency toward the abuse of power (as reflected in the adage that 'power corrupts') by suffering abuse. The abuse was not physical but Marcus did turn a blind eye toward those who behaved badly toward him - preferring always to give others the benefit of doubt.
(3) The image by Marie-Lan Nguyen is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.