Your Occasional Stoic (3.3) Unsullied by Pleasures; Unscathed by Pain

3.3  A man such as this [meaning a man focused on that which he can control], if he does not postpone his attempt to place himself among the best, is in some way, a priest and minister of the gods. He can respond to the divinity within him rendering him a man unsullied by pleasures, unscathed by any pain, untouched by any wrong, unconscious of any wickedness; a wrestler for the greatest prize of all, to avoid being thrown by any passion; dyed to the core with justice; embracing with his whole heart all the experience allotted to him. Rarely, and only when there is great need for the common good, will he wonder what others may be saying or doing or thinking. He has only his own work to bring him fulfillment, and only his own fated allocation from the Whole to claim his attention. As for his work, he makes it excellent: as he is convinced it is good. 

The Meditations are repetitive, I say over and over again in this project. Marcus returns to the same themes – be unmoved by life’s pleasures and it’s pains; be just in your actions; work hard. The simplest lessons, the hardest to actualize. Here Marcus envisions the life of someone who keeps to these precepts without wavering. We all know, even Marcus knew, this was impossible. But we set up the example of perfection and then we try, and fail, and try again, to meet it.

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