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Thought for This Moment

By Marcus Aurelius

It will tend to avert complacency if you remember that any claim to have lived as a philosopher all your life, or even since reaching manhood, is now out of the question; indeed it is as evident to many others as it is to yourself that even today philosophy is still far beyond you. Consequently your mind remains in a state of confusion, and it grows no easier to earn the title of philosopher; also your station in life militates constantly against it. Once all this is seen in its true light, you should banish all thoughts of how you may appear to others, and rest content if you can make the remainder of your life what nature would have it be. Learn to understand her will, and let nothing else distract you. Up to now, all your wanderings in search of the good life have been unsuccessful; it was not to be found in the casuistries of logic, not in wealth, celebrity, worldly pleasures, or anything else. Where, then, lies the secret?

In doing what man’s nature seeks.

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