Echoes through time: the totality of all Being

Think of the totality of all Being, and what a mite of it is yours; think of all Time, and the brief fleeting instant of it that is allotted to yourself; think of Destiny, and how puny a part of it you are.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (5.24)

I also quite like the Gregory Hays’ translation of this:


Matter. How tiny your share of it.

Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

Fate. How small a role you play in it.


Echoes through time: even self-restraint can comb its hair

The rough clothes, the rank growth of hair and beard, the sworn hatred of silverware, the pallet laid on the ground: all these and any other perverse form of self-aggrandisement are things you should avoid…

The life we endeavour to live should be better than the general practice, not contrary to it…

Philosophy demands self-restraint, not self-abnegation – and even self-restraint can comb its hair.

Seneca (4 BC – AD 65),  Moral Letters to Lucilius (5.2 – 5.5)

Echoes through time: what nature gives us

Each of us needs what nature gives us, when nature gives it.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (10.20)

Note: I usually quote the Maxwell Staniforth translation from the Penguin Great Ideas edition. However, for this I preferred the more recent (and much lauded) Gregory Hays translation from 2003.


Echoes through time: a single screw’s turn

Let your mind constantly dwell on all Time and all Being, and thus learn that each separate thing is but as a grain of sand in comparison with Being, and as a single crew’s-turn in comparison with Time.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (10.17)


Echoes through time: those who simply act like lions

[A prince] must learn from the fox and the lion; because the lion is defenceless against traps and a fox is defenceless against wolves. Therefore one must be a fox in order to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Those who simply act like lions are stupid.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), The Prince