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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Marcus Aurelius

I decided to stay at my desk. Even though I have not written a word in over two weeks, I cannot stay away from my desk. It feels different now that this is my home, not an apartment. My books are now on the bookshelves and everything is coming into place. I often sit and meditate about the day, about my work and its new demands, and about how the presumptions of the few can alter the way the many do things. It is not a pessimistic view, it is basically the observation that for whatever intent we have to not let others bother us we always remain attached to some part of their deconstructive criticism.

I have been reading a biography of Marcus Aurelius by one Anthony Birley. The volume refers quite a lot to the “Meditations,” and it does so with reason. So far the book has dealt with Marcus Aurelius relationship with Fronto, his teacher. I have just gotten to the part where Pius dies and Marcus takes over the Empire. It is strange how so few people know that Lucius Commodus was also bi-emperor at the same time as Marcus. They ruled together, although Marcus was pontifex maximus and Lucius was just a pontifex. At any rate, Birley has done a good job of putting the biography together with great scholarly and very sound research while at the same time making it entertaining and candid. It is also funny that I got this book at Barnes and Noble (from the Barnes and Noble Press) for $6.95 but looking online found it for $35.00. I guess the whole argument about the mega-stores is out the window for me. Although I do not recommend Barnes and Nobles or Borders to people if I happen to know of a local independent store I could direct them to, I used to buy quite a bit from Borders and Barnes and Noble. But back to Birley. I am sure that I probably will change this entry later, since I am not even halfway through the book, but so far I highly recommend it.

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