Your Occasional Stoic — Unaffected dignity and Kindness

Hourly and earnestly strive, as a Roman and a man, to do what falls to your hand with perfect unaffected dignity, with kindliness, freedom and justice, and free your soul from every other imagination.

This you will accomplish if you perform each action as if it were your last, without willfulness, or any passionate aversion to what reason approves; without hypocrisy or selfishness, or discontent with the decrees of fate. You see how few things it is necessary to master in order that a man may live a smooth-flowing, God-fearing life. For of him that holds to these principles the Gods require no more.

Meditations 2:5


Much of this repeats what we see over and over again in the Meditations – act with dignity, imagine death, etc. But there’s something else here that Marcus talks about much less frequently – kindness. Stoicism is (perhaps rightly) branded as a philosophy of detachment and coldness, but here Marcus is telling us not only to be strong, but also kind. I think many a modern admirer of stoicism could learn from this.

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