Moments — Dwell on the beauty...
“Dwell on the beauty of Life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
If the Internet is to be believed this quote and insight is from Marcus Aurelius who was one of the better Roman Emperors that I’ve read about (he was the last of what is known as the Five Good Emperors). When I first read this quote I simply assumed its author was a contemporary “new age philosopher” using memes to develop a following. I was taken aback a little by the fact that it originated on the streets of Rome eighteen hundred years ago.
A modern day bias to be sure, or maybe something that has always come with those generations that happen to occupy the top of the food chain at that moment in time — “we are the most civilized, most knowledgeable, and the most enlightened… ever!” I will also admit hearing the name Marcus Aurelius doesn’t conjure up images of a man who pursued philosophical or motivational musings — another obvious bias on my part. It leaves me humbled to know I’m biased and misinformed, with just a little splash of arrogance for taste — although I am hoping there is some redemption that comes with this recognition. As emperor of what was arguably the largest empire in the known world at the time, and with a devastating war machine at his disposal, I wonder if Marcus Aurelius suffered from this same bias.
“Life is harshly beautiful” is something very meme worthy that a couple of “new age philosophy students"* came up with a while ago and something I think a man like Marcus Aurelius would understand intimately — at one moment embracing the love of his family and in another unleashing the dogs of war. There is little doubt he was intimate with what the four horsemen of the apocalypse can accomplish, and with it, a deep understanding of life’s beauty needed to balance the scales.
The more I think about it, it makes sense this quote came from Marcus Aurelius — he would have been in a very good position to offer insights into what’s important in life and what real beauty is.
* we still haven’t gotten around to creating any memes.
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