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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated & Explained
Russell McNeil PhD (MARS Laser Radar Pioneer)
Skylight Paths Publishing

"The happiness of the drop is to die in the river"
- al-Ghazali (1058-1111)
Blog: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Unpublished Selections Rewritten and Explained by Russell McNeil, PhD

Russell McNeil | Create Your Badge

The Stoic EmblemStoicism promises happiness by demonstrating how the contemporary metrics of the 'Good Life' - wealth, reputation, and material success - can actually deprive us of a meaningful existence. In this Blog I am systematically rewriting and annotating the unpublished Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (black links below) to supplement those one hundred and fifty key selections published in my book, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated and Explained. The published selections - referenced in red by page and section heading - are organized in the book as an effective manual on the new Stoicism - a practical updated philosophy with stunning contemporary relevance to modern personal, spiritual, psychological, political, and environmental issues. The newly explained meditations are being added in reverse order beginning with Book XII. (more to come)

Book I-V (to come)

Book VI (more to come)

Meditation VI.55 - Balance and Harmony
Meditation VI.56 - Is this a Rhetorical Question.
Meditation VI.57 - The Poison of Prejudice
Meditation VI.58 - The telos or Purpose of Stoic life
Meditation VI.59 - What kind of people do we try to please?

Book VII

Meditation VII.01 - What is Badness?
Meditation VII.02 - The Power of Opinion V (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.03 - Worth
Meditation VII.04 - Body language
Meditation VII.05 - Society and Social Collapse V (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.06 - Tempus Edax Rerum
Meditation VII.07 - Seeking Help
Meditation VII.08 - Do Not Worry About the Future
Meditation VII.09 - Imitating Nature in our Technologies I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.10 - The End of Time
Meditation VII.11 - Serenity
Meditation VII.12 - Our Task
Meditation VII.13 - Do the Right Thing - for the Right Reason
Meditation VII.14 - Sticks and Stones
Meditation VII.15 - The Emerald King
Meditation VII.16 - You are Perfect - You are a God
Meditation VII.17 - Reflections
Meditation VII.18 - Time, Motion, Cosmology, and Evolution III (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.19 - The Furious Torrent
Meditation VII.20 - Repelling Fear
Meditation VII.21 - The Bleak Horizon
Meditation VII.22 - Human Invincibility
Meditation VII.23 - Our Immutable Nature
Meditation VII.24 - The Frozen Frown
Meditation VII.25 - Embracing Change
Meditation VII.26 - Personal Peace
Meditation VII.27 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Meditation VII.28 - The Power of Opinion III (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.29 - What Happens in Vegas...
Meditation VII.30 - Stop Look and Listen
Meditation VII.31 - Morality and the Role of Virtue I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.32 - Death is Annihilation or Change
Meditation VII.33 - Rising Above Pain IV (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.34 - How Empty is Fame
Meditation VII.35 - Death is No Evil!
Meditation VII.36 - It is Royal to Be Abused
Meditation VII.37 - Think Before you Act
Meditation VII.38 - Equanimity
Meditation VII.39 - The Greatest Stoic Commandment
Meditation VII.40 - Stoic Teleology
Meditation VII.41 - The Empathic Cosmos
Meditation VII.42 - The Good is with me
Meditation VII.43 - The Triumph of Virtue
Meditation VII.44 - Look to Yourself for Answers
Meditation VII.45 - Never Desert your Post
Meditation VII.46 - I found myself within a forest dark - Anticipating Dante
Meditation VII.47 - Looking to the Stars for Inspiration
Meditation VII.48 - Stoicism versus Existentialism: Anticipating (and Denying) Sartre
Meditation VII.49 - Nothing New Under the Sun
Meditation VII.50 - Stoic Physics and Chemistry
Meditation VII.51 - Justice and War
Meditation VII.52 - Humiliation
Meditation VII.53 - Work
Meditation VII.54 - Acquiescence
Meditation VII.55a - Human Responsibility
Meditation VII.55b - The Life of Virtue I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.56 - Medication or Meditation?
Meditation VII.57 - One with Nature
Meditation VII.58 - Feeling no Pain
Meditation VII.59 - The Supremacy of Reason I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.60 - Physical Fitness
Meditation VII.61 - Meditation, Prayer, and the Wrestler's Art I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.62 - Never Seek Praise and Never Blame Others I (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.63 - Vanquishing Ignorance
Meditation VII.64 - Rising Above Pain III (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.65 - Inhumanity
Meditation VII.66 - The Strange Man Socrates
Meditation VII.67 - The Promise of Happiness III (Published in Book)
Meditation VII/68 - On Misfortune, Death and Martyrdom V (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.69 - Morality and the Role of Virtue II (Published in Book)
Meditation VII.70 - We are Sovereign and Divine
Meditation VII.71 - To Move a Star
Meditation VII.72 - The Only Thing We Have to Fear
Meditation VII.73 - Stoic Grace
Meditation VII.74 - The Cozy Hearth
Meditation VII.75 - Creation


Meditation VIII.01 - The Promise of Happiness I (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.02 - Think
Meditation VIII.03 - The Folly of Power
Meditation VIII.04 - Controlling Addictions to Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Money and Power
Meditation VIII.05 - The Evil of Realpolitik
Meditation VIII.06 - The Big Crunch
Meditation VIII.07 - The Human Project
Meditation VIII.08 - Ignoring What Others Think V (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.09 - Grumble Not!
Meditation VIII.10 - The Stoic Attitude Toward Pleasure III (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.11 - What is this Thing?
Meditation VIII.12 - Blessed be the Peacemakers
Meditation VIII.13 - The Three Stoic Pillars
Meditation VIII.14 - The Art of Contradiction
Meditation VIII.15 - Be Prepared
Meditation VIII.16 - The Power of Opinion II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.17 - Act with Purpose
Meditation VIII.18 - Einstein the Stoic
Meditation VIII.19 - The Stoic Attitude Toward Pleasure II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.20 - Nature as Parable
Meditation VIII.21a - The Stoic Science of Anatomy
Meditation VIII.21b - Time, Motion, Cosmology, and Evolution II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.22 - The Wages of Stoic "Sin"
Meditation VIII.23 - Just do it!
Meditation VIII.24 - Celebrating Decay
Meditation VIII.25 - Reputation as a False Value
Meditation VIII.26 - The Stoic Carrot has no Stick
Meditation VIII.27 - Body and Soul
Meditation VIII.28 - Rising Above Pain II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.29 - The Power of Opinion VI (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.30 - Enquiry and the Practice of Philosophy IV (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.31 - Isolation Road
Meditation VIII.32 - Stoic Equanimity
Meditation VIII.33 - Fame and Fortune as False Values I (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.34 - The Power of Opinion VIII (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.35 - The Power of Opinion IX (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.36 - Live in the Moment
Meditation VIII.37 - Death: Blood in a Bag
Meditation VIII.38 - See Sharp - Look and Judge Wisely
Meditation VIII.39 - Morality and the Role of Virtue IV (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.40 - Anticipating Cartesian Dualism
Meditation VIII.41 - Overcoming Temptation
Meditation VIII.42 - Don't Worry - Be Happy
Meditation VIII.43 - The Virtue of Tolerance
Meditation VIII.44 - Fame and Fortune as False Values II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.45 - The Soul
Meditation VIII.46 - On Misfortune, Death and Martyrdom I (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.47 - Dying Contently
Meditation VIII.48 - The Martyr's Mind
Meditation VIII.49 - The Stoic Calculus
Meditation VIII.50 - The Thorny Briar: A Stoic Parable
Meditation VIII.51 - Morality and the Role of Virtue V (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.52 - Never Seek Praise and Never Blame Others II (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.53 - On Flattery and Pride I (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.54 - Cosmic Consciousness
Meditation VIII.55 - Ubermensch
Meditation VIII.56 - The Power of Opinion X (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.57 - The Light of Reason
Meditation VIII.58 - Aging and Death IX (Published in Book)
Meditation VIII.59 - Human Solidarity
Meditation VIII.60 - Straight Thinking
Meditation VIII.61 - Stoic Communion with Nature

Book IX

Meditation IX.01 - The Nature of Evil and Insignificance of Misfortune VI (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.02 - Stoicism and Mental Health III (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.03 - Aging and Death X (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.04 - The Nature of Evil and Insignificance of Misfortune III (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.05 - The Importance of Love and the Meaning of Justice IV (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.06 - This is Enough
Meditation IX.07 - Stoic Psychology, Alienation and Free Will I (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.08 - The Cosmic Genome
Meditation IX.09a - Nature and Climate Change I (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.09b - Nature and Climate Change II (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.10 - The Divine Meme
Meditation IX.11 - What, me Worry?
Meditation IX.12 - For Neda
Meditation IX.13 - On Anxiety and Depression II (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.14 - Time, Motion, Cosmology, and Evolution III (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.15 - Diamonds and Rust
Meditation IX.16 - The Supremacy of Reason VI (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.17 - Say Yes, to Life
Meditation IX.18 - The Reptiles Amongst Us
Meditation IX.19 - Evolution and Thermodynamics
Meditation IX.20 - Preventing Metastasis
Meditation IX.21 - Aging and Death XI (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.22 - The Supremacy of Reason VII (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.23 - Political Activism, Criticism and Dissent I (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.24 - Mansions of the Dead
Meditation IX.25 - Metamorphosis
Meditation IX.26 - The Problem with Anger and Discontent III (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.27 - The Wizard of Oz
Meditation IX.28a - Clever and Cheeky
Meditation IX.28b - Time, Motion, Cosmology and Evolution V (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.29 - I, Marcus
Meditation IX.30 - The Human Herd
Meditation IX.31 - Teamwork
Meditation IX.32 - Universal Consciousness
Meditation IX.33 - The Calculus of Morality
Meditation IX.34 - Ignoring What Others Think III (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.35 - Let it Be
Meditation IX.36 - Celebration of Decay
Meditation IX.37 - Hell
Meditation IX.38 - The Unforgiveable Sin
Meditation IX.39 - The Reign of Reason
Meditation IX.40 - On Sexuality and Addiction I (Published in Book)
Meditation IX.41 - Epicurians and Stoics
Meditation IX.42 - Intolerance

Book X

Meditation X.01 - On Knowing Yourself and 'Wolfish' Friendships I (Published in Book)
Meditation X.02 - The Satisfaction of Natural Urges
Meditation X.03 - Rising Above Pain I (Published in Book)
Meditation X.04 - Inquiry and the Practice of Philosophy I (Published in Book)
Meditation X.05 - Stoic Teleology
Meditation X.06 - Society and Social Collapse III (Published in Book)
Meditation X.07 - The Chemistry of the Universe
Meditation X.08 - Rational Suicide
Meditation X.09 - Scientific Method Founded in Stoicism
Meditation X.10 - Stoic Attitude Toward the Exploitation of Nature
Meditation X.11 - On Sexuality and Addiction II (Published in Book)
Meditation X.12 - Stoicism and Doubt - Anticipating Descartes
Meditation X.13a - Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You
Meditation X.13b - Beware the Flatterer
Meditation X.14 - The Divine Feminine in Nature (Published in Book)
Meditation X.15 - On Misfortune, Death, and Martyrdom IV (Published in Book)
Meditation X.16 - Born Again
Meditation X.17 - Echoes of Buddha
Meditation X.18 - To Die in the River
Meditation X.19 - Meditation on Bodily Functions
Meditation X.20 - Fate and Destiny (Published in Book)
Meditation X.21 - The Importance of Love and the Meaning of Justice III (Published in Book)
Meditation X.22 - Living, Dying, Euthanasia, and Suicide
Meditation X.23 - True Opinion is Never Relative
Meditation X.24 - Government and Political Duty III (Published in Book)
Meditation X.25 - Job the Stoic
Meditation X.26 - The Power and the Glory
Meditation X.27 - Historical Cycles
Meditation X.28 - The Screaming Pig
Meditation X.29 - Aging and Death II (Published in Book)
Meditation X.30 - Transforming Vice into Virtue
Meditation X.31 - The Blazing Fire of Stoicism
Meditation X.32 - Destruction of the Self - Anticipating Nietzsche
Meditation X.33a - Society and Social Collapse VI (Published in Book)
Meditation X.33b - Society and Social Collapse VII (Published in Book)
Meditation X.34 - Invincibility Through Humility
Meditation X.35 - Seeing Green
Meditation X.36 - Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Meditation X.37 - Temperance
Meditation X.38 - Government and Political Duty IV (Published in Book)

Book XI

Meditation XI.01 - The Supremacy of Reason I (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.02 - The Supremacy of Reason II (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.03 - The Tragic Christians
Meditation XI.04 - Society and Social Collapse I (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.05 - The Art of Being Human
Meditation XI.06 - Comedy, Tragedy, and Stoicism
Meditation XI.07 - A Stoic Must Engage in Philosophy
Meditation XI.08 - The Stoic Forgives, but Never Forgets
Meditation XI.09 - The Confident Stoic
Meditation XI.10 - We Imitate Nature as Nature Imitates Justice
Meditation XI.11 - Controlling Addiction and Compulsive Behavior
Meditation XI.12 - The Perfect Sphere
Meditation XI.13 - Ignoring What Others Think II (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.14 - The Nature of Evil and Insignificance of Misfortune II (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.15 - On Knowing Yourself and 'Wolfish' Friendships II (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.16 - The Power of Soul
Meditation XI.17 - Nature is Harmless
Meditation XI.18a - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 1 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18b - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 2 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18c - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 3 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18d - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 4 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18e - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 5 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18f - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 6 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18g - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 7 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18h - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 8 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18i - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 9 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18j - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Flattery (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.18k - Stoic Ten-Step Program in Anger Management: Step 10 (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.19 - Stoicism and Mental Health I (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.20 - The Five Elements
Meditation XI.21 - One Morality for All
Meditation XI.22 - Living According to Nature (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.23 - The Bogeyman
Meditation XI.24 - Stoic Hospitality Toward Strangers
Meditation XI.25 - The Pitiful Tyrant
Meditation XI.26 - The Stoic Sage
Meditation XI.27 - Meditation on a Star
Meditation XI.28 - Much Ado About Nothing
Meditation XI.29 - Stoics Must Walk the Walk
Meditation XI.30 - Free Speech
Meditation XI.31 - The Foxy Stoic
Meditation XI.32 - Persecution for Virtue
Meditation XI.33 - Living in the Moment
Meditation XI.34 - On Misfortune, Death and Martyrdom II (Published in Book)
Meditation XI.35 - Changes
Meditation XI.36 - Stoic Free Will
Meditation XI.37 - Universal Human Rights
Meditation XI.38 - Stoic Super-Ego
Meditation XI.39 - Stoic Method

Book XII

Meditation XII.01 - Into the Mystic
Meditation XII.02 - Physics and Morality
Meditation XII.03 - Stoic Serenity
Meditation XII.04 - Ignoring What Others Think I (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.05 - Stoic Enlightenment
Meditation XII.06 - Practice and Persistence
Meditation XII.07 - Hopelessness
Meditation XII.08 - Becoming Invincible
Meditation XII.09 - The Gladiator and the Pancratiast
Meditation XII.10 - Answers Written in the Wind
Meditation XII.11 - Human Power
Meditation XII.12 - Accepting Our Fate II (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.13 - No Surprises in Life
Meditation XII.14 - The Stoic Soul in Relation to the Gods
Meditation XII.15 - The Stoic Soul
Meditation XII.16 - The Presumption of Innocence
Meditation XII.17 - The Nature of Evil and Insignifigance of Misfortune I (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.18 - The Nature of Inquiry
Meditation XII.19 - Overriding Emotion
Meditation XII.20 - Society and Social Collapse II (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.21 - Physics, Cosmology and Morality
Meditation XII.22 - The Power of Opinion I (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.23 - On Misfortune, Death and Martyrdom III (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.24 - Hard Reality
Meditation XII.25 - Cast Away Opinion
Meditation XII.26 - Anxiety and Depression I (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.27 - Pride
Meditation XII.28 - The gods
Meditation XII.29 - Living Rightly
Meditation XII.30 - Universal Kinship
Meditation XII.31 - Embracing Death
Meditation XII.32 - Flattery and Pride II (Published in Book)
Meditation XII.33 - Ashes and Smoke
Meditation XII.34 - Contempt of Death
Meditation XII.35 - Death is Just
Meditation XII.36 - Nature is Just
Image: Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project "Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations implores human beings to exercise their 'divine' gift of reason to uncover the laws of nature. For Marcus Aurelius our reason is what defines our core humanity, and our reason is governed by the same physical laws that govern the stars. When we explore nature and when we visit the stars today we are doing what Aurelius commands, and in so doing we uncover those same laws that we were meant to live by. The Stoics demanded that we must 'live according to nature.' We cannot live according to nature until we understand what nature is. Our exploration of Mars is the latest stage in a complex human journey that we humans began nearly two thousand years ago." - Russell McNeil, PhD, Mars LIDAR pioneer & author

"A stirring reinterpretation of Aurelius's Stoicism for our time. In Russell McNeil, Marcus Aurelius has at last met the colleague he has sorely needed for almost two millennia: a sensitive and systematic editor, and a loyal and lucid commentator." - John Black, professor of philosophy and liberal studies, Vancouver Island University

"Bloody brilliant! Everyone on the planet should read it, most especially those in positions of power"

Table of Contents and Excerpt

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Selections Annotated and Explained by Russell McNeil PhD, Order from Amazon USA The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Selections Annotated and Explained by Russell McNeil PhD, Order from Amazon Canada The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Selections Annotated and Explained by Russell McNeil PhD, Order from Amazon UK
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New: Kindle Edition from Amazon!

Author Russell McNeil, PhDThe Original Self-Help Book: This book will not offer you instant wealth, nor does it proffer snake oil remedies for modern problems. It does show where real happiness lies - and that happiness does not stem from fame, fortune, or gratuitous pleasure. The original Meditations were written in twelve volumes, many repetitive, and in no particular order. Physicist Russell McNeil has rewritten and reordered the key meditations as a modern handbook on Stoicism designed for people with no previous background in philosophy. The Stoic approach to living is not contingent on the believe in a God, or faith, or divine "revelation," or fuzzy incoherent logic. Stoicism is rooted firmly in reason and sound argument - and reason is rooted firmly in thermodynamic and cosmological principles governing the physical laws of nature.

Topics: Stoicism and War; Stoicism and Climate change; Stoicism and Drug Addiction; Anxiety Management through Stoicism; Stoicism in the Treatment of Depression; Stoicism and Alcoholism; The Joy of Stoicism; Buddhism and Stoicism Compared; etc.

Blog: The Stoic Path
Stoicism applied to Current Issues

The Stoic Path
The Stoic Path: Stoicism and Nuclear Fusion
The Stoic Path: Stoicism in a Nutshell
The Stoic Path: Socrates. The First Stoic
The Stoic Path: Barack Obama, Philosopher King
The Stoic Path: The Power of Dissent
The Stoic Path: The End of America by Naomi Wolf
The Stoic Path: A Meditation on Hard Times
The Stoic Path: Economic Fear
The Stoic Path: The Meaning of 9/11
The Stoic Path: Religion and Magic
The Stoic Path: Hurricanes
The Stoic Path: The Path is Green
The Stoic Path: God is Dead
The Stoic Path: Mind over Matter
The Stoic Path: War in Georgia
The Stoic Path: Stoicism in China
The Stoic Path: Suffering
The Stoic Path: Scientology as Misappropriated Stoicism


CBC Tapestry Interview - Barack Obama as Stoic - Listen to Podcast Feb 1, 2009
Review by J. Donald Hughes (U. Denver) - JSRNC, Vol 2, No 2 (2008)
Review by David Wilson - South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) - Registration (free) required
Review by Douglas Todd - Vancouver Sun
Review by Goody Niosi - Victoria Times Colonist
Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Reading Social Review

Mars Phoenix Lander Links on Mars LIDAR Technology
Pioneered by Author

NASA Phoenix Mars Lander Mission Site
Globe & Mail Comment
Nanaimo Daily News Story
Nanaimo News Bulletin Story
Vancouver Island University Web Site Story
Vancouver Island University Web Site Story on Phoenix Launch
York University News Story

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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Selections Annotated and Explained by Russell McNeil PhD, Order from Barnes & Noble
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