Monday, February 8, 2010
The Empathic Cosmos - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.41
Meditation VII.41 - The Empathic Cosmos - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
If gods care not for me and for my children, there is a reason for it.(1)
(1) This is an essential Stoic sentiment. There are no capricious "gods" in Stoicism. The reference here is poetic. There is nonetheless in Stoicism a universal intelligence - a divine governance - better understood as Natural Law. This governance does not "care" in the sense that a personal god cares for the welfare of what she creates. That sort of caring would imply that creation is fragile and vulnerable. But this is not so in Stoicism. The divine intelligence of the whole is embedded in each of its parts. Therefore "[you] and [your] children" yourselves are also divine and invulnerable. We may be physically fragile and subject to the accidents of nature, but the divine in us is immutable and enduring. Whenever it appears that we are not cared for we can assume therefore that we are misplacing our priorities: we mistake the 'passive' body for the divine soul or 'active' principle within us. When we shift to the right perspective we will see that our lives really do evolve as they ought to evolve. Because it is divine and good, the universal intelligence is, of necessity, empathic toward the whole and all of its parts, including you, and your children. This must be or the universal intelligence would not be divine. As individuals we can not comprehend the whole, but through meditation we can know that we are in fact part of the whole and as such we can know that the whole can never be at war with its parts.
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 The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book.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.