Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Stop, Look and Listen - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.30
Meditation VII.30 - Stop, Look and Listen - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
Direct your attention to what is said.(1) Let your understanding enter into the things that are doing and the things which do them.(2)
(1) This is a rule we must all follow. It means we must at all times listen attentively to what people say to us. When people share their ideas they are also sharing their minds. Many of us ignore this advice and use the listening to rehearse what we wish to say in response to whoever is addressing us. We can be very skilled here. We learn how to give an impression that we understand through the use of language and gesture and short vocalizations designed to project an impression of complete attentiveness. In reality we often respond to the speech of others with a prepackaged response honed to 'perfection' during the time we should have been listening. In effect our responses are ultimately designed to reflect our own interests rather than the interest of the speaker.
(2) Critical thinking in any situation requires understanding both cause ("things which do") and effect ("things that are doing") using all of our critical skills. The exercise of reason is our most powerful and uniquely human skill - a skill that must be refined through education and experience. Our objective in any exercise of reason is to be in accord with and to discover the Law of Nature as it manifests in all situations we experience in our lives.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.