Tuesday, 11 June 2013


We have come into being for cooperation, as have the feet, the hands, the eyelids, the upper and lower rows of teeth. Therefore, it is against Nature to act against each other.  We act against each other by being discontented and by abhorring one another.
                                                                                          - Meditations 2:1

     Man is a social animal, made to live in communities, societies, cities.
     Other philosophies and religions urge withdrawal from society and a retreat - even a fleeing - to the wilderness, apart from the communion of other men and free from the individual responsibilities society demands of us.  
     In contrast to these escapist (and selfish and cowardly) systems, the Stoic will not flee.  He maintains his post.  Moreover, he accepts who he is, a social animal, like a bee in a hive, made to perform his particular duty allotted to him.
     The Greek words translated above as "being discontented" and "abhorring" can also (and perhaps more literally) be translated as "annoyed" and "turning away from".  We tend to turn away the things that annoy us.  Emperor Marcus, a man with the power to turn away just about any annoying person he pleased, reminded himself that he, the most important man in Rome, came into being for "cooperation" with his fellow man.