Marcus Aurelius Redux
The first blog I wrote for VS was way back in April of ’08. Titled “Marcus Aurelius Online,” I’ve revived it with new answers to old questions.
While ruling Rome, Marcus Aurelius Antonius wrote Meditations, setting down rules for living written in Greek. Stoic to the end (his end came in AD 180), Marcus Aurelius wrote them to himself, and in many ways his twelve books pre-figured the blogs of today.
Book 1: “the certainty to ignore the dice of fortune…”
Bones: Those who bought tickets on the ill-fated Titanic. Relive the grisly event at our Public Museum with a ticket bearing the name of an original traveler. At journey’s end you get to discover if that traveler survived or died….a gruesome roll of the dice from the world of marketing.
Book 2: “Now the flesh you should disdain….blood, bones, a mere fabric and network of nerve, veins, and artifacts.
Bones: Okay, cut yourself some slack and disdain the Bronze Fonz, too.
Book 3: “Do not waste the remaining part of your life in thoughts about other people, when you are not thinking with reference to some aspect of the common good.”
Bones: Advice to sour grapes Republicans and in particular, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton.
Book 4: “Remove the judgment and you have removed the thought, ‘I am hurt,’ and the hurt itself is removed.”
Bones: Rejects from the 2008 Mary Nohl Fellowship thing. Writers who didn’t make the Cream City Review.
Bones: Developers who insist we need more condos.
Book 6: “Some things are hurrying to come into being, others are hurrying to be gone, and part of that which is being born is already extinguished.”
Bones: Art galleries, blogs, White House staffers, daily newspapers.
Book 7: “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in that it stands ready for what comes and is not thrown by the unforeseen.”
Bones: Broad Vocabulary, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee Fashion Week, etc., etc.
Book 8: “Everything has come into being for a purpose….a horse, say, or a vine. Does this surprise you?”
Bones: Well yeah. What pray tell, is the purpose of bailouts?
Book 9: “Enough of this miserable way of life, enough of grumbling and aping.”
Bones: Get on with the plan. Print more money.
Book 10: “The healthy eye must look at all there is to be seen, and not say ‘I only want pale colors’….this is a symptom of disease.”
Bones: All arts organizations that deem themselves deciders of what goes where.
Book 11: “No nature is inferior to art, in fact the arts imitate the variety of natures. If that is so, then the most perfect and comprehensive of all natures could not be surpassed by any artistic invention.”
Bones: Museums and galleries will ignore this advice.
Book 12: “Practice even what you have despaired of mastering. For lack of practice the left hand is awkward for most tasks, but has a stronger grip on the bridle than the right…it is practiced in this.”
Bones: Does Obama write with his left hand?