MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book ii. 11.
KEEP thyself pure from all violent passion, and evil affection, from all rashness and vanity, and from all manner of discontent, either in regard of the gods, or men. For indeed whatsoever proceeds from the gods, deserves respect for their worth and excellency; and whatsoever proceeds from men, as they are our kinsmen, should by us be entertained, with love, always; sometimes, as proceeding from their ignorance of that which is truly good and bad (a blindness no less, than that by which we are not able to discern between white and black:) with a kind of pity and compassion also.
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This is a hard lesson indeed. To treat all men as brothers, regardless of their behaviour, because their error is not in their actions, but in the incorrect beliefs that their actions spring from. This does not mean that we should not defend ourselves or protect others, what it means is that we should not habour fear and hatred in our hearts as we do so. Vengeance should not be our response. Nor should Fate or the Gods be blamed for the events that fall upon us.ReplyDelete
Love should be our inner landscape, and until we reach that high plane, the lowlands of pity and compassion will be our first steps.