From Apollonius: moral freedom, the certainty to ignore the dice of fortune, and have no other perspective, even for a moment, than that of reason alone; to be always the same man, unchanged in sudden pain, in the loss of a child, in lingering sickness; to see clearly in his living example that a man can combine intensity and relaxation; not to be impatient in explanation; the observance of a man who clearly regarded as the least of his gifts his experience and skill in communicating his philosophical insights; the lesson of how to take apparent favors from one’s friends, neither compromised by them nor insensitive in their rejection.
Does Marcus really expect us to be unchanged by the loss of a child? Of course not. Such advice is only machismo and hyperbole. Think yourself strong enough to handle such a horrible event and then perhaps you will have the strength to get through the grind of the day or the unpleasantness of the task at hand.
Apollonius was stoic philosopher and another of Marcus’s Greek tutors. Others remembers him as pompous, but Marcus clearly admired the man.
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