Deemed the “philosopher king,” 2nd century emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius is one of the most well recognized stoic philosophers to date. In his most famous work Meditations, Aurelius explored through verses written to himself the deeper levels of one’s individuality, purpose, and benevolence. When we think of Roman emperors we usually think of decadent megalomaniacs, dramatic assassinations, or Russell Crowe fighting off tigers and the corruption of Joaquin Phoenix. Marcus Aurelius however spent much of his time studying and writing. As one of the last “good emperors” of Rome before its inevitable collapse, he maintained stability, peace, and freedom of expression of the people. His words written millennium ago are still cited in commencement speeches, yearbooks, intro to philosophy courses, and right here on his page.
SJC Wellness Top Five Quotes by Marcus Aurelius:
#5: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
#4: “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
#3: “Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.”
#2: “Humans have come into being for the sake of each other, so either teach them, or learn to bear them.”
#1: “Look within, for within is the wellspring of virtue, which will not cease from flowing, if you do not cease from digging.”