WHEN any shall either impeach thee with false accusations, or hatefully reproach thee, or shall use any such carriage towards thee, get thee presently to their minds and understandings, and look in them, and behold what manner of men they be. Thou shalt see that there is no such occasion why it should trouble thee, what such as they think of thee. Yet must thou love them still, for by nature they are thy friends.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book ix. 25.
IF it were thine act and in thine own power, why wouldst thou do it ? If it were not, whom dost thou accuse? the atoms, or the gods? For to do either, is the part of a madman. Thou must therefore blame nobody, but if it be in thy power, redress what is amiss; if it be not, to what end dost thou complain?
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book viii. 15.
Interesting. I just read a chapter from Musonius Rufus on a similar theme. The gist is that if externals can't hurt you, not REALLY hurt you, then why sue a man for stealing your stuff? If his act is not really an EVIL for you, then isn't the reaction of suing a statement to the contrary?ReplyDelete
Practically, I'm not sure I wouldn't have a man jailed for hurting my wife or family. However, the point is that we should really act our our beliefs in our daily life in a consistent manner. When I'm riding in the car in the morning to work, I shouldn't be driving aggressively, feeling anger at being cut off, etc. None of these things matter a tick to me nor do I have control over them. Furthermore, they are usually done out of sheer ignorance on the part of the driver. How could I possible be mad at someone for an 'ignorant' act?
What I love about Stoicism is the focus on praxis over dogma: there is this deep sense that our philosophy should be LIVED. Period.
Agreed Brett and well said. We need to balance our own equanimity with our social responsibility. I can choose to forgive a man for something he has done to me personally, but it is also my responsibility to prevent him from doing the same thing to others.ReplyDelete