"Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the
ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them
by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the
nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature
of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed,
but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the
divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is
ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, For we are made for
co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and
lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting
against one another to be vexed and to turn away."
"Remember how long thou hast been putting off these things, and how often thou
hast received an opportunity from the gods, and yet dost not use it. Thou must
now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of
the universe thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is fixed for thee,
which if thou dost not use for clearing away the clouds from thy mind, it will go
and thou wilt go, and it will never return."
"...why should a man have any
apprehension about the change and dissolution of all the elements? For it is
according to nature, and nothing is evil which is according to nature."
"They know not how many things are signified by the words stealing, sowing,
buying, keeping quiet, seeing what ought to be done; for this is not effected by the
eyes, but by another kind of vision."
"If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing
anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately;
if thou holdest to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with
heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this."
"Take away thy opinion, and then there is taken away the complaint, 'I have been
harmed.' Take away the complaint, 'I have been harmed,' and the harm is taken
"Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good."
"How much trouble he avoids who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only to what he does himself, that it may be just and pure."
"Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it."
"Everything harmonizes with me, which is harmonious to thee, O Universe.
Nothing for me is too early nor too late, which is in due time for thee. Everything
is fruit to me which thy seasons bring, O Nature: from thee are all things, in thee
are all things, to thee all things return."
"Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle:
not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune."
"Things themselves touch not the soul, not in the least degree; nor have they
admission to the soul, nor can they turn or move the soul: but the soul turns and
moves itself alone, and whatever judgements it may think proper to make, such it
makes for itself the things which present themselves to it."
"If this is neither my own badness, nor an effect of my own badness, and the
common weal is not injured, why am I troubled about it? And what is the harm to
the common weal?"
"Every soul, the philosopher says, is involuntarily deprived of truth; consequently in the same way
it is deprived of justice and temperance and benevolence and everything of the kind. It is most
necessary to bear this constantly in mind, for thus thou wilt be more gentle towards all."
"The perfection of moral character consists in this, in passing every day as the last, and in
being neither violently excited nor torpid nor playing the hypocrite."
"The best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong doer."
"Thou sufferest this justly: for thou choosest rather to become good to-morrow than to be good to-day."
"Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go."
"Neither in thy actions be sluggish nor in thy conversation without method, nor wandering in
thy thoughts, nor let there be in thy soul inward contention nor external effusion, nor
in life be so busy as to have no leisure."
"In one way an arrow moves, in another way the mind. The mind indeed, both when it
exercises caution and when it is employed about inquiry, moves straight onward not the less,
and to its object."
"How many after being celebrated by fame have been given up to oblivion; and
how many who have celebrated the fame of others have long been dead."
It is a ridiculous thing for a man not to fly from his own badness, which is indeed
possible, but to fly from other men's badness, which is impossible."
"All things are the same, familiar in experience, and ephemeral in time, and
worthless in the matter. Everything now is just as it was in the time of those whom
we have buried."
"Enough of this wretched life and murmuring and apish tricks. Why art thou disturbed? What
is there new in this? What unsettles thee? Is it the form of the thing? Look at it. Or is it the matter?
Look at it. But besides these there is nothing. Towards the gods, then, now become at last more
simple and better. It is the same whether we examine these things for a hundred years or three."
"No longer talk at all about the kind of man that a good man ought to be, but be such."
"If any man has done wrong, the harm is his own. But perhaps he has not done
"Wilt thou, then, my soul, never be good and simple and one and naked, more
manifest than the body which surrounds thee? Wilt thou never enjoy an
affectionate and contented disposition? Wilt thou never be full and without a want
of any kind, longing for nothing more, nor desiring anything, either animate or
inanimate, for the enjoyment of pleasures? Nor yet desiring time wherein thou
shalt have longer enjoyment, or place, or pleasant climate, or society of men with
whom thou mayest live in harmony? But wilt thou be satisfied with thy present
condition, and pleased with all that is about thee, and wilt thou convince thyself
that thou hast everything and that it comes from the gods, that everything is well
for thee, and will be well whatever shall please them, and whatever they shall give
for the conservation of the perfect living being, the good and just and beautiful,
which generates and holds together all things, and contains and embraces all
things which are dissolved for the production of other like things? Wilt thou never
be such that thou shalt so dwell in community with gods and men as neither to
find fault with them at all, nor to be condemned by them?"
"Men despise one another and flatter one another; and men wish to raise
themselves above one another, and crouch before one another."
"Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself,
if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this."
"The healthy eye ought to see all visible things and not to say, I wish for green
things; for this is the condition of a diseased eye."
"Have I done something for the general interest? Well then I have had my reward.
Let this always be present to thy mind, and never stop doing such good."
"Think of the country mouse and of the town mouse, and of the alarm and
trepidation of the town mouse."
"If it is not right, do not do it: if it is not true, do not say it. For let thy efforts be."
"Consider when thou art much vexed or grieved, that man's life is only a moment,
and after a short time we are all laid out dead."
"Neither in writing nor in reading wilt thou be able to lay down rules for others
before thou shalt have first learned to obey rules thyself."
"Does the light of the lamp shine without losing its splendour until it is extinguished;
and shall the truth which is in thee and justice and temperance be extinguished before thy