3 Stoic Rules of Life or Disciplines in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

Christopher Hurtado —  March 3, 2017 — 3 Comments
3 Stoic Rules of Life or Disciplines in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations | Christopher Hurtado

The three Stoic rules of life or disciplines in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations are the key to unlocking the book. Without them, the Meditations seems like nothing more than a jumbled mess of aphorisms. With it, the book’s purpose and intent become more apparent and its meaning and purpose easier to decipher.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Recently, Ryan Holiday, author of The Daily Stoic, Ego is the Enemy, and The Obstacle is the Way, appeared to me in a dream and told me, “Hidden in the Meditations are three things Marcus Aurelius learned.” The next day, I picked up The Inner Citadel by Pierre Hadot right where I had left off the day before and found the three Stoic rules of life or disciplines at the heart of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.

The three Stoic rules of life or disciplines are most explicitly stated in Meditations VII, 54:

1. Consent to Destiny. “In all places and times, you may devoutly acquiesce and be satisfied with what befalls you, . . .”

2. Justice and altruism. “. . . and have just dispositions toward your neighbors, . . .”

3. Objectivity. “. . . examine all arising imaginations; that none may insinuate themselves, till you thoroughly comprehend them.”

While this is the most explicit exposition of the three Stoic rules of life or disciplines in the Meditations, they are repeated throughout.

Question: In what other passages in the Meditations do you find the three Stoic rules of life or disciplines?

Christopher Hurtado

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Christopher Hurtado is President and CEO of Linguistic Solutions and Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and Political Science at Utah Valley University. He holds a BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic and Philosophy and an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. He coauthored Vacation Spanish: A Survival Guide for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America. He is married to children’s book author and homeschool mom, Alysia Gonzalez. Together they have nine children. They are active in their church and in their community.

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