On Stoicism


“Keep a list before your mind of those who burned with anger and resentment about something, of even the most renowned for success, misfortune, evil deeds, or any special distinction. Then ask yourself, how did that work out? Smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend . . .”


In this passage, Marcus Aurelius demonstrates his understanding that no matter how much one achieves, it will eventually be forgotten. He uses the example of Alexander the Great, one of the most passionate and ambitious men, to illustrate that even he was buried in the same ground as his mule driver, eventually fading into obscurity. He encourages us to enjoy our brief time on Earth and not be enslaved to negative emotions.

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