Whatever this is that I am, it is a little flesh and breath, and the ruling part.
Throw away your books — no longer distract yourself: it is not allowed.
As if you’re now dying, despise the flesh. It is blood and bones and a network, a contexture of nerves, veins, and arteries.
See the breath also, what kind of a thing it is — air, and not always the same, but every moment sent out and again sucked in.
The third then is the ruling part. Consider: you’re an old man; no longer let this be a slave, no longer be pulled by the strings like a puppet to unsocial movements, no longer either be dissatisfied with your present lot, or shrink from the future.
Mediation 2. 2
- “Despise the flesh” Yet more of the standard “your body is merely a vessel for the soul/intellect”. What garbage. I love this book, but am tired if this line of reasoning. The body is integral to what makes us, us. We cannot forget it any more than we can the mind or the “soul”.
- “Quit your books”? Hold on there, Marcus, a life of action does not negate a life of the mind. You yourself know that! Are you saying that just because you have now read Epicetus there is nothing left to find in the written word? You’re wrong.
- “you’re an old man” Scholars think Marcus wrote the mediations in the last decade of his life, his fifties. Perhaps that is why he is pairing down his life to live in the moment. He did not have long to live.