literature

I can get my head turned by a good-looking [someone] as much as the next [person]. But sexy doesn’t impress me. Smart impresses me, strength of character impresses me. But most of all, I am impressed by kindness. Kindness, I think, comes from learning hard lessons well, from falling and picking yourself up. It comes from surviving failure and loss. It implies an understanding of the human condition, forgives its many flaws and quirks. When I see that in someone, it fills me with admiration.
—  Lisa Unger, Beautiful Lies

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill will, and selfishness– all of them due to the offender’s ignorance of what is good and evil. That people of a certain type should behave as they do is inevitable. To wish it otherwise were to wish the fig-tree would not yield its juice.

The reflections of Marcus Aurelius (121-180) crystallize the philosophical wisdom of the Greco-Roman world. This little book was written as a diary to himself whilst emperor fighting a war out on the border of the Roman Empire, known as The Meditations today.

The Roman philosophers are not as well knows or as highly regarded as Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus or Zeno the Stoic - and for a simple reason: the Roman thinkers were not primarily interested in abstract theory; rather, they were concerned with behavior, that is, understanding how to live in the everyday world and putting their understanding into practice. The goal was to live the life of an authentic philosopher, to be a person of high character and integrity, to develop inner strength and a quiet mind, and value such strength and quietude above all else.

Meditations’ recurring themes including the development of self-discipline to gain control over judgments and desires; overcoming a fear of death; the value of the ability to retreat into a rich, interior mental life (one’s inner citadel); recognize the world as a manifestation of the divine; live according to reason; avoid luxury and opulence.

by guest reviewer Glenn Russell

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Signs as beautiful sentences in literature
  • Aries:"How wild it was, to let it be."
  • —Cheryl Strayed, Wild
  • Taurus:"We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered."
  • —Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • Gemini:"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet."
  • —L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • Cancer:"Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."
  • —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Leo:"If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me."
  • —W. H. Auden, "The More Loving One"
  • Virgo:'Dear God,' she prayed, 'let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.'"
  • —Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Libra:"In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
  • —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Scorpio:"I would always rather be happy than dignified."
  • —Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
  • Sagittarius:"It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
  • —J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Capricorn:"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."
  • —John Steinbeck, East of Eden
  • Aquarius:"One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
  • —Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices
  • Pisces:"There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights."
  • —Bram Stroker, Dracula