Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to keep myself good; just as a gold piece, or an emerald, or a purple robe insists perpetually, ‘Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to remain an emerald and keep my colour true.’
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.15)
An empty pageant; a stage play; flocks of sheep, herds of cattle; a tussle of spearmen; a bone flung among a pack of curs; a crumb tossed into a pond of fish; ants, loaded and labouring; mice, scared and scampering; puppets, jerking on their strings – that is life. In the midst of it all you must take your stand, good-temperedly and without disdain, yet always aware that a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambition.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.3)
When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.11)
If you missed Stoic Week, but have an interest in stoicism, this is a good introduction. Massimo Pigliucci, K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at City University of New York, is a contributor to Modern Stoicism, the organisation behind Stoic Week.
Just under an hour long and well worth a watch:
Adapt yourself to the environment in which your lot has been cast, and show true love to the fellow mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.39)
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.
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.