Page:Marcus Aurelius (Haines 1916).djvu/33

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
There was a problem when proofreading this page.

STOICISM

(the self-sufficiency of the Inner Self) and κοινωνία (social interdependence of parts of a common whole) are not easy to reconcile. It is certain, however, that the Stoic admission of slaves into the brother hood of man had an ameliorating effect upon slavery, and the well-known bias of Marcus in favour of enfranchisement may well have been due to his creed.[1]

From virtue alone can happiness and peace of mind result, and virtue consists in submission to the higher Power and all that he sends us, in mastery over our animal nature, in freedom from all perturbation,[2] and in the entire independence of the Inner Self. Since life is Opinion[3] and everything but what we think it, the vital question is what assent we give to the impressions of our senses. "Wipe out imagination," says Marcus, time after time, "and you are saved."[4] "Do not think yourself hurt and you remain unhurt."[5] He longs for the day when he shall cease to be duped by his impressions and pulled like a puppet by his passions,[6] and his soul shall be in a great calm. But virtue must also show itself, like faith, in right actions. It means not only selfcontrol but justice and benevolence to others and piety towards the Gods.

By the Gods Marcus sometimes means the con trolling Reason,[7] sometimes, apparently, Gods in a more popular sense, such as are even visible to the

  1. See Digest, xxviii. 4. 3.
  2. ἀταραξία, ix. 31.
  3. iv. 3; vii. 17; xi. 18, 7, etc.
  4. xii. 25.
  5. iv. 7.
  6. ii. 2; iii. 16; vi. 16, etc.
  7. xii. 5; vi. 44; viii. 17; iii. 3; ix. 1. He even calls the Supreme Nature πρεσβυτάτη τῶν θεῶν, ix. 1.

xxv