I finished Meditations by Marcus Aurelius a few days ago and have been reflecting on the Stoic ideals he discussed. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor who followed Stoic philosophy and wrote his own personal experience and take on the philosophy.
What is Stoicism?
Stoicism is a philosophy that focuses on virtue as the primary link to happiness and that other emotions are only good or bad as they support virtue. Essentially Stoicism is a guide of personal ethics to dictate how one interacts and interprets the world around them.
Marcus Aurelius as an emperor did not think himself better because of his status, but only judged his happiness based on his actions. In so much as there are so many things we cannot control in life and our misaligned expectations can cause harm.
A short but challenging read, Meditations is a personal journal that Aurelius wrote towards the end of his life. It has been translated from Medieval Greek and can be a challenge to read.
The writings do not read as a story, but more as a guide with ideas and concepts that standalone. These writings should be used more as reference material and you will find insights throughout the short read.
In summary, if you are interested in philosophy and personal ethics then you will find value in Meditations. It will shed light on ideas that are just as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago. Take time to process the concepts and reflect on how they may impact you.