Meditations, first page of the 1792 English translation by Richard Graves
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

The Philosopher King

Marcus Aurelius was once the most powerful man on earth- a Roman Emperor. ‘Meditations’ reveals ‘The Philosopher’; a king concerned with being a good man. Including quotes from Meditations.

Temperance bearing an hourglass; detail Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good Government, 1338
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

A Tale of Temperance

In recent history, the virtue of temperance has been associated with strict asceticism. A joyless lifestyle, filled with self-deprivation and suppression. But temperance was never meant to be an extreme. When we look further back in time, we find its essence and purpose. Quotes from Aristotle, Aquinas, Seneca & more.

Gonzales Coques, ,17th century, Old man with an hourglass.
Virtue

What Does It Mean to Be Patient?

When overcome by a sense of urgency, we tend to bulldoze forward blindly. The mistakes we make in impatience are often grave. With quotes from Paulo Coelho, Saint Luke & Ovid.

Osmar Schindler, 1888, "David und Goliath". Colour lithograph
Meaning, Virtue

The Function of Fear

Fear offers us a very plain choice; be courageous or be a coward. A hero or a reprobate. With quotes from Michel de Montaigne, Seneca, George R.R. Martin & William Shakespeare.

Malnazar and Aghap'ir, 1637 - 1638, David in Prayer
Virtue

The Trouble with Compassion

Like handing someone a glass of water while they are engulfed in flames, it does very little. The danger is that we are only really fulfilling our own need or want to be ‘compassionate’ people, in this vain sense.

Gustave Dore, 1855-1861, Dante’s The Divine Comedy-Inferno, Canto XXXIV
Meaning, Virtue

Self-Deception: A Trip to the Underworld (2/3)

We don’t want to venture down there and face the damage we have caused. The alternative however, is more devastation every time the truth comes knocking; and it will keep coming. So, we muster every ounce of courage we have left, open the hatch door, and delve underground.

John Singer Sargent, 1919, Synagogue, Boston Public Library
Meaning, Virtue

Self-Deception- A Fragile Fantasy (1/3)

Even though we may think the ‘reality’ we have built is solid, when it holds no truth, it is under constant danger of collapsing. One cracked brick is no big deal, but if every brick we use is cracked, we end up with a completely unstable structure.

Anonymous, 1796, British Museum.
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

Envy or Emulation

When we compare ourselves to others, we highlight our differences and in doing so, highlight our own inferiorities. We start believing that we are unhappy because of these things we lack in comparison, and envy creeps in.

Virtue

To Be Good, We Cannot Be Harmless

The act of being good implies adhering to a high standard of moral conduct. At first it may bring to mind someone who is selfless, gentle, caring and incessantly agreeable. True goodness, however, demands of us a number of more complex and at times, thorny obligations.