Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)


Jeg har lest Meditations av Marcus Aurelius, oversatt av Gregory Hays.

Boka er gjennomgående melankolsk. Mye fokus på livets korte varighet. Og håndtering av ditt sinn, dine følelser og reaksjoner.

Det utvikles en holdning om å ikke la seg påvirke av ting utenfor din kontroll. Uansett hva som skjer er det ditt valg hvordan du vil reagere.

Det er mye repetisjon i boka, fordi det er egentlig ikke en bok. Meditations var Aurelius sin private samling av tekster som aldri var ment å bli delt med andre. Boka hadde opprinnelig ingen tittel. Tittel er lagt til senere av kopier og oversetting.

Det som skrives i boka er derfor Aurelius som skriver til seg selv.


My great-grandfather: To avoid the public schools, to hire good private teachers, and to accept the resulting costs as money well-spent.

I bok 1 skriver Aurelius hva han har lært fra forskjellige personer. Kan si meg enig i at unngåelse av offentlig skole er en god ide.

The literary critic Alexander: Not to be constantly correcting people, and in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example, or debate the issue itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion—and insert the right expression, unobtrusively.

Kjenner meg igjen her. Fordi jeg har tidvis trang til å korrigere folk og jeg vil ha rett.

Book 2

Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.

En av mange oppfordringer om å bruke tida godt.

Book 3

Not just that every day more of our life is used up and less and less of it is left, but this too: if we live longer, can we be sure our mind will still be up to understanding the world—to the contemplation that aims at divine and human knowledge? [...] So we need to hurry.

Not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding—our grasp of the world—may be gone before we get there.

Livet er kortere enn man tror fordi bevisstheten og sinnet visner. Ofte pga sykdom i alderdommen.

Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.

Dette er ikke den eneste gangen Aurelius snakker om the common good. Han skriver at det er mye bortkastet tid i å bekymre seg for andre mennesker.

Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see. The span we live is small—small as the corner of the earth in which we live it. Small as even the greatest renown, passed from mouth to mouth by short-lived stick figures, ignorant alike of themselves and those long dead.

En oppfordring om å fokusere sterkt på livets korte varighet. Glem alt annet.

Book 4

Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands.

Din kropp og dine ting vil forvitre og bli glemt. Også ditt rykte.

That everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist. Think of how many changes you’ve already seen.

Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able—be good.

In short, know this: Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash.

Our lifetime is so brief. And to live it out in these circumstances, among these people, in this body? Nothing to get excited about. Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: what’s the difference?

Å leve er ikke noe å bli begeistret for. Det er liten forskjell på tre dager eller 100 år.

Book 5

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

Jeg liker denne. En kritikk til folk som misliker jobben sin. Hva skal man ellers gjøre? Ligge under dyna hver dag?

Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the “what” is in constant flux, the “why” has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us—a chasm whose depths we cannot see.

So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation, either. As if the things that irritate us lasted.

Soon you’ll be ashes, or bones. A mere name, at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo.

Ingen grunn til å føle seg viktig eller irritert. Fordi ingenting varer evig.

Book 6

The best revenge is not to be like that.

Den beste hevnen er å ikke hevne seg. Minner om kristendommens budskap om å vende det andre kinnet til.

Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds.

Prøv å les mellom linjene og forstå årsaker og folks motivasjoner.

Book 7

You’ve given aid and they’ve received it. And yet, like an idiot, you keep holding out for more: to be credited with a Good Deed, to be repaid in kind. Why?

Hjelp andre folk fordi det er dydig. Ikke fordi du forventer å få noe tilbake. Den psykiske profitten i handlingen i seg selv skal være god nok betaling.

Book 8

When you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, remember that your defining characteristic—what defines a human being—is to work with others. Even animals know how to sleep. And it’s the characteristic activity that’s the more natural one—more innate and more satisfying.

Enda en oppfordring om å holde kjeft og gjøre jobben sin.

That line they write on tombs—“last surviving descendant.” Consider their ancestors’ anxiety—that there be a successor. But someone has to be the last. There, too, the death of a whole house.

Artig linje om den angsten som oppleves av døde forfedre når slekta tar slutt. Men døde folk opplever ingen angst fordi deres eksistens har opphørt.

Give yourself a gift: the present moment.

People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?

Jeg tviler på omfanget av folk ute etter posthum berømmelse. Poenget her er at når du er død har det ingen funksjon for deg å være berømt.

External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.

Eksterne ting har ingen effekt på deg. Du kontrollerer reaksjonene av påvirkningene som produseres i sinnet ditt.

Fear of death is fear of what we may experience. Nothing at all, or something quite new. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. And if our experience changes, then our existence will change with it—change, but not cease.

Velkjent poeng om opphøring av bevissthet. Derfor bør du ikke være redd for hvordan det er å være død.

Book 9

When we cease from activity, or follow a thought to its conclusion, it’s a kind of death. And it doesn’t harm us. Think about your life: childhood, boyhood, youth, old age. Every transformation a kind of dying. Was that so terrible?

Interessant poeng om slutten av livets faser sålangt som ikke har vært spesielt fryktelig. Så hvorfor frykte den siste fasen?

Book 10

He deposits his sperm and leaves. And then a force not his takes it and goes to work, and creates a child.

Aurelius gjentar slike setninger ofte. Naturen/gud/Logos er hele universet og dens prosesser. Livets oppstandelse er ganske utrolig. Et liv ut fra ingenting.

When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as a good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion (what else could they do?)

Ingen folk gjør onde ting med vilje, fordi da hadde de ikke gjort dem. Aurelius er ikke en determinist som utelukker fri vilje. Men han mener i stor grad at naturen får oss til å gjøre forskjellige ting.

None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them. . . . Before long, darkness. And whoever buries you mourned in their turn.

Du vil bli begravd og sørget over. Og de som sørget vil i sin tur bli begrad og sørget over. Det er en floskel at folk oppfører seg som om de skulle leve evig.

It doesn’t matter how good a life you’ve led. There’ll still be people standing around the bed who will welcome the sad event.

How many traits do you have that would make a lot of people glad to be rid of you?

Haters gonna hate. Jeg tolker denne som en oppfordring om å ikke prøve å bli likt av alle.

Book 11

Socrates used to call popular beliefs “the monsters under the bed”—only useful for frightening children with.

Socrates declining Perdiccas’s invitation “so as to avoid dying a thousand deaths” (by accepting a favor he couldn’t pay back).

As you kiss your son good night, says Epictetus, whisper to yourself, “He may be dead in the morning.”

Lev i nuet og vær glad for det du har akkurat no.


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