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Becoming wiser with Marcus Aurelius, Socrates and Aristotle


Marcus Aurelius

Roman emperor (161-180).
He fought victoriously against the Parthians and the Germans and was a skillful administrator.
His thoughts are one of the great texts of Stoic philosophy.

“Accomplish each act of your life as if it were to be the last”.

“Beyond you is the source of good, a source that can always spring up, if you always dig”

“Is this cucumber bitter? Throw it away! There are brambles on the path? Turn away! That’s all it takes. Do not say about it, Why are these things in the world?”

“He who loves glory puts his own happiness in the emotions of another. He who loves pleasure puts his happiness in his own inclinations. But the intelligent man places it in his own conduct.”

“Consider the occasions when your grief and anger have caused you more suffering than the facts themselves”

“Enter as much as possible into the soul of the one who speaks to you”

“Be careful never to feel towards misanthropes as misanthropes feel towards men”

“Search within. The source of goodness lies within and it can spring up unceasingly if you always dig”.

“One should not blame events”.

“The ordinary man is demanding with others. The exceptional man is demanding with himself”.

“The best way to defend yourself is not to imitate the offender”

“Death is perhaps only a change of place”.

“Nature makes each of us capable of bearing what happens to us”

“Philosophy consists in watching over the inner god”

“The characteristic of man is to love even those who offend him”

“The vain man makes his own happiness depend on the activity of others; the voluptuous man, on his own sensations and the intelligent man, on his own actions”

“Don’t be distracted by external events! Take the time to learn something good and stop flitting about!”

“One is often unjust by refraining from action and not only by acting”

“We are often unjust by omission”

“We are no less wrong by not doing what we should do than by doing what we should not do”

“No one gets tired of being helped. Helping is an act of nature. Never tire of receiving and giving it.

“May I be given the strength to bear what can be changed and the courage to change what can be changed but also the wisdom to distinguish one from the other”

“May all your thoughts be such that if you were asked at any time what you think you could always confess it without shame”

“He who lives at peace with himself lives at peace with the universe”.

“Reject opinion and you will be saved”.

“Nothing is advantageous that makes you lose self-respect”.

“Not everything that seems beyond your strength is impossible; but not everything that is possible to man can be beyond your strength”

“All things are interconnected and their connection is sacred and none, it may be said, is alien to the others, for all have been ordered together and contribute together to the beautiful order of the same world”

“Always go by the shortest way, and the shortest way is the way laid out by nature”

“Here is the perfect moral: live each day as if it were the last. Do not be restless, do not slumber, do not pretend”.


Greek philosopher (470-399 BC).
Although he did not leave any writings, he had a profound influence on ancient philosophy and on all Western thought.

“What makes man is his ability to adapt”

“Those who desire the least things are the closest to the gods”.

“Know thyself”

“In any case, get married. If you find a good wife, you will be happy; and if you find a bad one, you will become a philosopher, which is excellent for man”

“Is there any good for man more precious than health?”

“There is no shameful work”

“I am neither Athenian nor Greek, but a citizen of the world”

“The unregulated soul is like a barrel with holes in it because of its insatiable nature”

“The first key to greatness is to be in reality what we seem to be”

“Wisdom begins in wonder”

“Happiness is pleasure without remorse”

“Evil comes from man’s mistaking what is good”.

“People who are questioned, as long as they are questioned well, find the right answers on their own”

“It is better to suffer insult than to commit it”.

“Our young people love luxury, have bad manners, make fun of authority and have no respect for age. In our time, children are tyrants”

“We come closer to the truth only insofar as we get further away from life”

“No one is wicked on purpose”

“It is easier to count your sheep than your friends”

“What do you want me to teach him? He doesn’t like me”

“Nothing is too difficult for the youth”

“If a donkey kicks you, don’t kick him back”

“All I know is that I know nothing”

“Should a man get married? Whatever he does, he will repent”

“A hungry man does not examine the sauce”

“A treasure of beautiful maxims is better than a heap of riches”

“A life without examination is not worth living”

“You can hide a wrongdoing from others, but never from yourself”


Greek philosopher and scholar (384-322 BC).
Disciple of Plato, founder of the Lyceum where he taught for 12 years, he was the tutor and friend of Alexander the Great.

“To love is to enjoy, while it is not to enjoy to be loved”.

“To have many friends is to have no friends”

“It is by experience that science and art make their progress among men”

“It is by nature that most beings command and obey”

“He who is no longer your friend was never your friend”

“God is too perfect to be able to think of anything but himself”

“As far as actions are concerned, he who reasons in general reasons in a vacuum”

“In everything, it is the end that is essential”

“One must prefer what is impossible but plausible to what is possible but incredible”

“You must behave with your friends as you would like them to behave with you”

“There is no one way to study things”

“There is the same difference between the learned and the ignorant as between the living and the dead”

“Money is only a fiction”

“Hope is the dream of an awake man”

“Excellence is an art that can only be achieved by constant practice. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an action but a habit”.

“Man is naturally a political animal”

“Man is a social animal; nature made him to live with his fellows”

“Infinity is not a stable state, but growth itself”

“The information exposed under the most shocking circumstances is the one that the public will remember the longest”

“The intention makes the guilt and the crime”

“Beauty is an endorsement better than any letter of recommendation”

“Anger is necessary; one does not triumph over anything without it, if it does not fill the soul, if it does not warm the heart, it must therefore serve us, not as a leader but as a soldier”

“Comedy: this makes men worse than they are today and tragedy makes them better”

“The definition makes known what the thing is”

“The hallmark of the scholar is the ability to teach”

“Poetry is something more philosophical and greater than history”

“The quality of verbal expression is to be clear without being trite”

“Surprise is the test of true courage”

“Virtue is in the middle of extremes”

“Good is not enough to ensure happiness, but evil is enough to ensure misfortune”

“The wise man is happy even in tortures”

“Letters are an ornament in prosperity and a consolation in misfortune”.

“Who can do more can do less”

“To know is to remember”

“A single swallow does not make the spring; a single moral act does not make the virtue”

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