Meditation VI.55 - Balance and Harmony - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
If sailors abused the helm or the sick the doctor, would they listen to anybody else; or how could the helm secure the safety of those in the ship or the doctor the health of those whom she attends?(1)
(1) This meditation is intended as an argument for internal harmony and balance. A modern Marcus might just simply say “chill.” Marcus paints a picture (or has us imagine) what can happen in a society where there is a breakdown in the relationships between an authority (ship pilots and doctors) and those served by those authorities (passengers on a ship, and patients). If there is dissent within relationships like these, both sides in the relationship suffer. Everyone on a ship does down from bad piloting – and doctors lose their patients (and their livelihood) from bad doctoring. Marcus understands that “following nature” brings about the sort of harmony and balance that comes from the primacy of authority (or mind) internally. The metaphors presented in the meditation point to the internal relationship in mind between reason (the authority) and the body (that which is ruled by the mind).
Modern Context (Meditation by Russell McNeil)
Flickr Link: Chill (Suggested by Meditation VI.55)
The relationship between reason and passion is a lawful contract between ruler and ruled, between a trained rider and a disciplined horse. Rulers rule; the ruled obey. Harmony is the balance between these two. Injustice and lawlessness are alien in Nature. Disharmony is extinction. This is the 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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.