Aurelius; Book One

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Aurelius; Book One

Post by Simon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:54 pm

I’ve been studying ancient Greek and Roman philosophy to supplement my course work at university. I'm currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. A classic work featuring the reflections and pondering of the Roman General versed in Stoic philosophy. I was skeptical at what value I would find, as Marcus wrote several thousand of years ago. His thoughts could be outdated or simply already stated in other authors I have already read.

But within the first few pages; I stumbled upon a curious axiom that struck me as profound. The passage is thus;

“Alexander the Platonist cautioned me against frequent use of the words ‘I am too busy’ in speech or correspondence, except in cases of real necessity; saying that no one ought to shirk the obligations due to society on the excuse of urgent affairs. (Aurelius, pg.38, 180 AD)”

I found this highly curious. What did Marcus mean? That it is insulting to tell someone you’re too busy if it’s a false hood? Is it insulting to the task you must complete instead of what ever else you have been asked to participate in or complete? Is it simply a disservice to yourself to create an air of burden about the task you must complete? Or that it is wrong to feel pressured by society to only complete the task which it entrusts to you?
"Good men are the stars, the planets of the ages wherein they live, and illustrate the times." - Ben Jonson

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Re: Aurelius; Book One

Post by Raven » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm

What does, "I'm too busy" actually mean? It means that the task that you are saying you are too busy for is NOT a priority. So either make the new task a priority or state outright that the requested action isn't a high priority and other more important thing are taking up your time.

The statement "i'm too busy" is weak and doesn't speak the truth of the matter.
Shadow Master

Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.

--Carl Jung

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Re: Aurelius; Book One

Post by Setanaoko » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:00 am

Given that Marcus Aurelius was an emperor, I can only imagine that in part this message was about the emperor's role to the people. An attentive emperor would have much better success in rallying his followers than one which was not attentive.

So saying "I'm too busy" too often means that you are not willing to make time for someone else. In turn, they are forced to wonder: Why make time for you?

Actually a friend went through this earlier today. She lost her husband recently and a pastor told her that she could reach out to him if she needed to talk. This morning, not feeling as though she had any other recourse, she mustered up the courage to call this man she met only once. She said he pushed her off the phone and told her to come on Sunday so they could talk. Understandably, she was upset. It would be one thing if he set up a specific time to call her back, but this was "come when everyone else is coming to see me".

People feel more at ease when you make time for them. They don't feel like a burden. And when they don't feel like a burden, they are more willing to help you out when you need it.

In the Army we have a saying that goes with this mindset:

"Take care of your joes, and they will take care of you. Don't take care of your joes, and they will take care of you."
Gather at the River,
LJM Alethea

You are not powerless, you just need to get creative. -Me

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