The Daily Stoic: January 6, 2021

Filed in PhilosophyTags: Clarity, Daily Stoic, Marcus Aurelius, Perception

Reflections on The Daily Stoic:

  • The Discipline of Perception
  • January's Theme: Clarity
  • Topic: Where, Who, What, and Why
  • Stoic: Marcus Aurelius

Today's quote:

A person who doesn't know what the universe is, doesn't know where they are. A person who doesn't know their purpose in life doesn't know who they are or what the universe is. A person who doesn't know any one of these things doesn't know why they are here. So what to make of people who seek or avoid the praise of those who have no knowledge of where or who they are?

- Meditations, 8.2

In Marcus Aurelius' description here, I get the sense of a person utterly adrift, not knowing who he is, where he is, or why he is there. Tragically, this is how many go through life, whether because they never understand or accept the inherent need to understand their place in the world, or perhaps worse, because they seek out those answers but never find them.

There are two admonitions in this meditation: one, as discussed by The Daily Stoic, that we should endeavor not to be such a person; and two, that seeking the praise (or wisdom, advice, or knowledge) of such people is little more than the proverbial blind leading the blind.

Thankfully, as Christians, we have the answers to these questions. We know what the universe is, where it came from, who created it, and why it was created. We know where we are in the universe. We know our purpose - why we are here.

Do not expect the world to understand, much less accept, the wisdom of God and our certainty in it. What Paul said to the church in Corinth is still true today, 2,000 years later: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." (I Corinthians 1:18-21)