Marcus Aurelius, from Exhortations to Himself

Don’t be dissatisfied, disappointed, or disgusted when you fail to live up to your principles. Fairly close is not bad. Now, get back to your philosophy, not as if philosophy is work, but as if it is a poultice for a sore eye. In that way you will be obeying reason and resting in it.

Remember this: philosophy requires only what your own nature requires. Don’t be looking for something else. You might be saying, No, wait—philosophy is no fun! That’s how short-term thinking deceives us. Think about it: isn’t magnanimity, freedom, simplicity, equanimity, and piety preferable to momentary pleasure? After all, when you think about the benefits of understanding and knowledge, isn’t is clear that wisdom is the way to go?

V.9.

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