Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Repose in Reason)

Do not be disgusted, discouraged, or dissatisfied if you do not succeed in doing everything according to right principles; but when you have failed, return again, and be content if the greater part of what you do is consistent with man’s nature, and love this to which you return; and do not return to philosophy as if she were a master, but act like those who have sore eyes and apply a bit of sponge and egg, or as another applies a plaster or drenching with water. For thus you will not fail to obey reason, and you will repose in it. And remember that philosophy requires only the things that your nature requires; but you would have something else that is not according to nature. It may be objected, “What is more agreeable than what I am doing?” But is not this the very reason why pleasure deceives us? And consider if magnanimity, freedom, simplicity, equanimity, and piety are not more agreeable. For what is more agreeable than wisdom itself, when you think of the security and the happy course of all things that depend on the faculty of understanding and knowledge?


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