Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Serenity - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.11
Meditation VII.11 - Serenity - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
To the rational animal the same act is according to nature and according to reason.(1)
(1) Human beings are defined by reason, not by biology. Our nature is rational; our biology is accidental. We are tied together - all of us - to every other sentient being in the universe through reason. Reason is not a process but a physical aspect of existence. Reason is substantive and shared. We are descended from reason at birth, and we will return to reason at death as an undifferentiated component of the whole - conscious of the whole but not of the individual essence of selfhood. The self perishes at death. The whole survives forever. Human beings, and all other sentient beings in the universe share in our common genesis in the Universal Intelligence or Logos - the divine but physical source of all reason. Reason is in nature and the guiding force of nature. Reason is indestructible and divine. Reason is the life force of the universe. When we exercise pure reason we are infallible, because this nature that guides our actions is divine. To act according to nature is to exercise divine power. To exercise divine power is to know what it is to be among the gods. This is the goal of Stoicism, the meaning of serenity, and a consequence of Stoic meditation (see also Meditation XII.03).
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.