Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Nine Lost Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

" Soon as we finish hacking up these Square Heads, I'm gonna have me a solid lie down, some snacks and then write some more of my Meditations. . . . . Hey, you hear about the German barber?  He charges only 4 Aureii ( $1) - an Aureus a side!!!    That's a knee slapper, Q!  Ain't it? Hey, .  .  .   What - am I boring you, Quintilius?   Hey, pay attention to me, Tribune, I can still have your 'nads shredded by wild hogs.  Good battle, huh?  We got any cold Falerian left or did my kid drink the last of it?  How about the red with a little less lead in it."

Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161–180 CE, setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy. Wikipedia

The Meditations is a series of twelve books by the Roman Emperor, who would become most famous for his role as Russel Crowe's patron and Joaquin Phoenix's Dad in the great gladiator movie Gladiator.  Irish actor Richard Harris plays the geezer Imperator, who gets snuffed by his kid.  

Marcus Aurelius spent most of his life as a soldier-Emperor on the German frontiers of the Empire.  He was a Stoic* in his philosophy.  Americans are no allowed to be stoics. It is believed that baseball great, Korean War hero and sportsman Ted Williams was the last American male stoic. Sarah Palin is the last stoic.

Recently, I learned that nine lost meditations had been discovered by dumpster divers in Saudi Arabia.  Finding the ancient manuscript wrapping uneaten lobsters.  I immediately obtained a copy of the find and set about translating these pearls of wisdom. 

I -Si aliquid est natum esse in ientaculum?

II -Ego sum adeo eger haedis cutem, diebus, post horas, cera cum stylo scribere.

III- Aliquam felis non haerent inter dentes arida dies tenent phone.

IV -Donec in metus congressu eruit.

V- Sed non deserit, nisi sunt tumidi,

VI -Et tamen ego me omni tempore quo libri bibliotheca eam oblitus pulvinar dui.

VII- Quis est, qui magna est frigidissima est quid? Locutusque est ieiunium, tardus incessus, quo bonum Mohair Sam.Sapiens erit semper amor Sam Mohair

VIII- Denique, ut in vino decocta Beer puteum spiritus frumenti et jugibus a forsit, Matey.

IX- Qui relicto in latrina paper volumen vacuum, et non ex necessitate moventur, ut domus. Et ego eum in provincia anus quatere canum fera fame sues senatus! Stoicorum sum, sed non finem;

( Translations)

1. Have we got anything to snack on?

2. I am so sick of these kids always smoothing the wax after I take hours writing with my stylus.

3. Fresh Dates will not stick between your teeth; dried dates hold the phone.

4. I like girls who put out on the first meeting.

5. We ain't leaving until we are heaving!

6. I had the book with me all the time and nevertheless forgot to put it in the library drop box.

7. Who is the coolest guy who is what am?  Fast Talking, slow walking, good looking Mohair Sam. ( video) Cats always dig Mohair Sam!

8. Beer on  wine; mighty fine; beer on distilled spirits of grain and you hae a problem, Matey.

9. Who left the latrine paper roll empty  and did not replenish that household necessity?   I will toss his anus and him with it in an arena of starving wild dogs, pigs members of the Senate!  I am a stoic, but there are limits!



First published Mon Apr 15, 1996; substantive revision Mon Oct 4, 2010
Stoicism was one of the new philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period. The name derives from the porch (stoa poikilĂȘ) in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. Unlike ‘epicurean,’ the sense of the English adjective ‘stoical’ is not utterly misleading with regard to its philosophical origins. The Stoics did, in fact, hold that emotions like fear or envy (or impassioned sexual attachments, or passionate love of anything whatsoever) either were, or arose from, false judgements and that the sage—a person who had attained moral and intellectual perfection—would not undergo them. The later Stoics of Roman Imperial times, Seneca and Epictetus, emphasise the doctrines (already central to the early Stoics' teachings) that the sage is utterly immune to misfortune and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Our phrase ‘stoic calm’ perhaps encapsulates the general drift of these claims. It does not, however, hint at the even more radical ethical views which the Stoics defended, e.g. that only the sage is free while all others are slaves, or that all those who are morally vicious are equally so. Though it seems clear that some Stoics took a kind of perverse joy in advocating views which seem so at odds with common sense, they did not do so simply to shock. Stoic ethics achieves a certain plausibility within the context of their physical theory and psychology, and within the framework of Greek ethical theory as that was handed down to them from Plato and Aristotle. It seems that they were well aware of the mutually interdependent nature of their philosophical views, likening philosophy itself to a living animal in which logic is bones and sinews; ethics and physics, the flesh and the soul respectively (another version reverses this assignment, making ethics the soul). Their views in logic and physics are no less distinctive and interesting than those in ethics itself.

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