Actions and perceptions

Operatics, combat and confusion. Sloth and servility. Every day they blot out those sacred principles of yours—which you day-dream thoughtlessly about, or just let slide. Your actions and perceptions need to aim: at accomplishing practical ends; at the exercise of thought; at maintaining a confidence founded on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight.

When will you let yourself enjoy straightforwardness? Seriousness? Or understanding individual things—their nature and substance, their place in the world, their life span, their composition, who can possess them, whose they are to give and to receive?

~ Marcus Aurelius

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Epithets

Epithets for yourself: Upright. modest. Straightforward. Sane. Cooperative. Disinterested.

Try not to exchange them for others. And if you should forfeit them, set about getting them back. Keep in mind that “sanity” means understanding things—each individual thing—for what they are. And not losing the thread. And “cooperation” means accepting what nature assignes you—accepting it willingly. And “disinterest” means that the intelligence should rise about the movements of the flesh—the rough and the smooth alike. Should rise about fame, above death, and everything like them.

~ Marcus Aurelius

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Get a move on

Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.

~ Marcus Aurelius

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Where the world is

As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be—it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be.

~ Saul Alinsky

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The view from above

To see them from above: The thousands of animal herds, the rituals, the voyages on calm or stormy seas, the different ways we come into the world, share it with one another, and leave it. Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives to be led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. how many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now—and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt.

~ Marcus Aurelius

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Your time is limited

… death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new … your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

~ Steve Jobs

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