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Quotes of Marcus Aurelius

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Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) lived from 121 to 180 CE. He was the last of the so-called “five good emperors”; also called “the philosopher on the throne”. He reigned from 161 to 180 CE.

  • “No one loses any other life than the one he now lives, nor does one live any other life than that which he will lose”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.14
  • “But he who values a rational soul, a soul universal and fitted for political life, regards nothing else except this; and above all things he keeps his soul in a condition and in an activity conformable to reason and social life, and he co-operates to this end with those who are of the same kind as himself”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.14
  • “God give me patience, to reconcile with what I am not able to change. Give me strength to change what I can. And give me wisdom to distinguish one from another”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II,1
  • “What is not harmful to the city does not harm the citizen either”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.22
  • “That which is not good for the swarm, neither is it good for the bee”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI, 54
  • “The man of ambition thinks to find his good in the operations of others; the man of pleasure in his own sensations; but the man of understanding in his own actions”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI, 51
  • “Every man is worth just so much as the things about which he busies himself”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “For the stone that has been thrown up it is no evil to come down, nor indeed any good to have been carried up”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.17
  • “Look not round at the depraved morals of others, but run straight along the line without deviating from it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.18
  • “As long as you live and while you can, become good now”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.1
  • “You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.41
  • “How quickly all things disappear, in the universe the bodies themselves, but in time the remembrance of them; what is the nature of all sensible things, and particularly those which attract with the bait of pleasure or terrify by pain, or are noised abroad by vapoury fame; how worthless, and contemptible, and sordid, and perishable, and dead they are—all this it is the part of the intellectual faculty to observe”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.12
  • “For whatsoever either by myself or with another I can do, ought to be directed to this only, to that which is useful and well suited to society”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.5
  • “How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.5
  • “How easy it is to repel and to wipe away every impression which is troublesome or unsuitable, and immediately to be in all tranquility”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.2
  • “One universe made up all that is; and one God in it all, and one principle of being, and one law, the reason shared by all thinking creatures, and one truth”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “One thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.47
  • “Kindness is invincible, but only when it’s sincere, with no hypocrisy or faking”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XI.18
  • “Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Hour by hour resolve firmly to do what comes to hand with dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do, if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. See how little man needs to master, for his days to flow on in quietness and piety: he has but to observe these few counsels, and the gods will ask nothing more”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “All men are made one for another: either then teach them better or bear with them”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII.59
  • “And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapour, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II
  • “Our life is what our thoughts make it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.3
  • “Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.3
  • “A good disposition is invincible, if it be genuine”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Not waste my time on writers of histories, or in the resolution of syllogisms, or occupy myself about the investigation of appearances in the heavens”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, I
  • “You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: Everything random, everything irrelevant. And certainly, everything self-important or malicious. You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, ‘What are you thinking about?’ you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.38
  • “A man should be upright, not be kept upright. Our life is what our thoughts make it. Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.17
  • “The mind, unconquered by violent passions, is a citadel”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII.48
  • “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.3
  • “Soon, you will have forgotten everything. Soon, everybody will have forgotten you”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.21
  • “It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone”
    • description: in a sense, knowing the truth is not as opposed to being ignorant.
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.21
  • “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.61
  • “Death is such as generation is, a mystery of nature”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.5
  • “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt return to thy principles and the worship of reason”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.16
  • “Soon, you will have forgotten everything. Soon, everybody will have forgotten you”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.21
  • “All things are linked and knitted together, and the knot is sacre”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “I’m going to be meeting with people today who talk too much – people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I can’t imagine a world without such people”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “Thou canst pass thy life in an equable flow of happiness, if thou canst go by the right way, and think and act in the right way. These two things are common both to the soul of God and to the soul of man, and to the soul of every rational being: not to be hindered by another; and to hold good to consist in the disposition to justice and the practice of it, and in this to let thy desire find its termination”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.34
  • “Always take the short cut; and that is the rational one. Therefore say and do everything according to soundest reason”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.51
  • “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X.16
  • “A Man’s life is dyed the color of his imagination”
    • source: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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