Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Angels Amongst Us - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VI.48

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Meditation VI.48 - The Angels Amongst Us - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil (follow photographic link for larger image).

Whenever you desire to give yourself true delight, think about the good qualities of those who live with you; for instance, the moderation of one, and the modesty of another, and the open mindedness of a third, and the selfless generosity of a fourth. For nothing delights so much as living examples of these virtues, when they are honestly exhibited in the morals of those who live with us and present themselves in abundance. Keep these virtues before you at all times.(1)

Explanation

(1) There are no gods, angels or saints in the Stoic universe. At least not in any conventional sense of the supernatural - as understood in many religious traditions. In those traditions human beings are brought into alignment with the divine world of gods and angels by living saintly lives. But in those traditions the divine and natural worlds occupy distinct realms. In Stoic tradition divinity is in nature not above nature. And since we are an integral part of the natural world, each of us is not only in touch with the divine, every one of us is divine. If we seek angelic or saintly inspiration in our lives, we need go no further than to examine the lives of our friends and neighbours. When our friends and neighbours act well and exhibit truly good qualities, they are manifesting the same divine spirit that permeates all of nature. If we seek angels for inspiration we need look no further than at the lives of those around us who exhibit good qualities.

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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.

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