August 30: Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning


More this-thing-then-the-other-thing Meditations from Marcus Aurelius today (is this only the second Aurelius excerpt? Looks like). And in this one we learn that M.A.'s natural tendency was to wake up on the wrong side of the empire:

Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bedclothes and keep myself warm?
—But this is more pleasant.
—Dost thou exist then to take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human being, and dost thou not make haste to do that which is according to thy nature?
—But it is necessary to take rest also.
Being a philosopher and a Roman emperor, he wins the battle against the snooze button. I'm neither of those things and so I often lose it. Of course snooze technology is much more advanced in our time -- back then, I imagine, there was a member of the Imperial slave staff specially designated for the job, to come back to Aurelius's bedroom every ten minutes or so, and start reciting news headlines, or the popular songs of the day, or maybe just shout "WAKE VP!"

Moving on...this meditation seems kinda environmental:
I go through the things which happen according to nature until I shall fall and rest, breathing out my breath into that element out of which I daily draw it in, and falling upon that earth out of which my father collected the seed, and my mother the blood, and my nurse the milk; out of which during so many years I have been supplied with food and drink; which bears me when I tread on it and abuse it for so many purposes.
On the other hand, this mediation:
I am composed of the formal and the material; and neither of them will perish into non-existence, as neither of them came into existence out of non-existence. Every part of me then will be reduced by change into some part of the universe, and that again will change into another part of the universe, and so on forever.
Might be anti-environmental -- what's the difference between oil in the ground and carbon dioxide in the air? It's all the same stuff. If there's a circle of life then no point on the circle should be more privileged than any other point. Whether you're enjoying the seaside or drowning, same difference!

Finally, an argument against watching cable news:
Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.
This is the "wholesome" argument; all of us here spending time on this blog are better people for hanging out with the greats. Well, I hope there's something to that, anyway.

Finally finally, this song isn't really on point, but it does seem kind of cosmic for something written for "Blackbirds of 1933." It's not interesting as a video, but one of the things I like about YouTube is the way people use it as a radio; and besides, it features Lee Wiley, one of my favorites:

0 comments: