Being wronged

8.14: Whenever you meet someone, ask yourself first this immediate question: “What beliefs does this person hold about the good and the bad in life?” Because if he believes this or that about pleasure and pain and their constituents, about fame and obscurity, death and life, then I shall not find it surprising or strange if he acts in this or that way, and I shall remember that he has no choice but to act as he does.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts attempting to thematically extract from the 12 books of the ‘Meditations’, the personal and philosophical diary written by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. His private thoughts were written in numbered paragraphs, without any thought or intention of publication. The reader may find herself returning to them again and again.

9.4: The sinner sins against himself: the wrongdoer wrongs himself, by making himself morally bad.

11.18-4: You yourself have many faults and are no different from them. If you do refrain from some wrongs you still have the proclivity to them, even if your restraint from wrongs like theirs is due to the fear or pursuit of public opinion, or some other such poor motive.

9.31: Calm acceptance of what comes from a cause outside yourself, and justice in all activity of your own causation. In other words, impulse and action fulfilled in that social conduct which is an expression of your own nature.

11. 18-11: The thought that it is madness to expect bad men to do no wrong: that is asking for the impossible. But it is cruel tyranny to allow them such behaviour to others while demanding that they do no wrong to you.

7.26: When someone does you some wrong, you should consider immediately what judgement of good or evil led him to wrong you. When you see this, you will pity him, and not feel surprise or anger.

9.20: You should leave another’s wrong where it lies.

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