Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tempus Edax Rerum - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.06
Meditation VII.06 - Tempus Edax Rerum - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
How many after being celebrated by fame have been given up to oblivion; and how many who have celebrated the fame of others have long been dead.(1)
(1) This meditation captures the essence of Ovid's (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18) Stoic inspired aphorism: tempus edax rerum (Time the devourer of everything)." We who seek fame are chasing a phantom. To place reputation at the center of our life project is clearly self-centered and as such at variance with the law of nature that places the rights of community before the rights of the individual. It is also of course a meaningless quest since whatever else fame might seem, it is at best ephemeral since whoever acquires fame will lose the celebration of those who - like the one who has fame - will soon be dead. As is the case with any self serving activity, the energy we dissipate in the acquisition of fame is activity wasted. It serves not those we were born to help, and does nothing to bring happiness to the actor. The temporary ego serving pleasure brought by fame will fade in time and will expire at death.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.