Life, Examined: Marcus Aurelius and the Wisdom of the Everyday
“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. I cannot be harmed by any of them.”
We can choose the way we live. Meditations, by Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, is a journal of observations and life instructions to himself that pierces through theoretical philosophical discourse into the heart of what philosophy can offer us: a different way of life. The choice of a way of life is open to all people—it is a real option that can enrich and inform our everyday experience of the world and of ourselves. This is the perspective we call wisdom—for Aurelius, philosophy is merely a preparatory exercise for wisdom. Gathering together around Meditations will allow us to apply Stoic philosophy to the dilemmas we face in life, and thereby transform his philosophy into something resembling a wisdom of the everyday.
Teacher: Michael Prettyman
Michael Prettyman is an artist and scholar of Eastern Religions. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the Harvard Divinity School and teaches on the subject of religion and the arts, Asian Religion and philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.
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