Marcus Aurelius on Death and the Cessation of Being

Marcus Aurelius on Death and the Cessation of Being

Marcus Aurelius on Death and the Cessation of Being

Like all great philosophers Marcus Aurelius the noblest of the Emperors of Rome also pondered death.  Here’s a collection of quotes detailing what he had to say on the subject. “You boarded, you set sail, you’ve made the passage.  Time to disembark. If it’s for another life, well, there’s nowhere without gods on that side either.  If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go on dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body—so much inferior to that which serves it. “One is mind and spirit, the other earth and garbage.” Marcus

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Why is Sophistry Bad?

Why is Sophistry Bad?

Thanks to Plato and his dialogues of Socrates the term ‘Sophist,’ is not held in high esteem. To accuse someone of ‘sophistry’ is to imply that they are acting in bad faith and not being entirely honest in their arguments. In contrast, a ‘sophisticated’ person is held to be in high esteem, like James Bond, suave, cool and well educated, a gentleman packed full of worldly experience. Whether it’s fashion, culture, sports and politics a sophisticated man not only knows it all but also knows how to behave in different places and circumstances. He can fit in anywhere and advance

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The Stoic Virtue – Temperance

The Stoic Virtue – Temperance

Temperance is one of the 4 Stoic Virtues and is best summed up as a moderated, balanced and disciplined life. For example whilst it’s undoubtedly good to work for a living, it’s not temperate to work all of the day, every day of the week. To do so means missing out on other things, such as time with friends, family, various entertainments and people who interest you. Likewise, not working at all is also not temperate. A man without an income is also liable to miss out on many things that make life worthwhile. Work has to be balanced with

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Thoughts on Virtue, Part 1 – Sacred Life

Thoughts on Virtue, Part 1 – Sacred Life

If whilst walking in the countryside you encounter a spider’s web that blocks your path, do you go around or do you break it? Does it matter if the spider is present or absent? What do you do? Do you stop and consider that both you and spider are equally precious, the universe has yielded you both in the same big bang. So what do you do, do you walk on by, finding a divergent route, or simply walk through it, breaking the tiny threads? Likewise, if you see an insect struggling for life, trapped on the surface of a

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Is the universe conscious?

Is the universe conscious?

It’s a question as old as time, and often debated, but is the universe conscious? It depends on how you look at it. Through a materialist lens, the answer is no, the universe is made up of things, objects, some of which may be conscious and others not. Living things have an ever-increasing capacity for self-awareness, depending upon their complexity, an earthworm not so much, a human being a whole lot more. In this model of the universe, non-living matter has no capacity for awareness. In the grand tradition of Socratic mystics everywhere I like to undermine materialist arguments by

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Mystic Nihilism, Reincarnation in Materialist Form – Part 2

Mystic Nihilism, Reincarnation in Materialist Form – Part 2

Infinity and nothing are very closely linked. There’s something very strange about ‘nothing,’ because we can conceptualise it and not experience it. It’s impossible to have an experience of ‘nothing’ in this universe which is made up of things, everywhere you look ‘nothing,’ does not exist! Likewise, there’s something very strange about infinity, and that’s because infinity can also be conceptualised but not experienced. Science tells us every day that the universe is not only made up of finite things but is itself finite. We can be reasonably sure of how big it is, but despite its vast size, it

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Cathars or Western Buddhists?

Cathars or Western Buddhists?

In the wake of a thrilling conversation with my good friend and collaborator on this site (Epicurus of Albion) the other day I decided to dive deep into the mystical interpretations of the life of Jesus with the idea that it might make a good article. This is not that article, but along the way, I rediscovered the fascinating world of the now-extinct Cathars and the interesting parallels that their beliefs have with Buddhist teachings/philosophy. I don’t tend to write explicitly about religion on this site for the simple reason that the focus of theology tends to be the correct

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Meaning, not happiness…

Meaning, not happiness…

By all accounts Albert Camus was a very happy man, he lived the high life, enjoyed outrageous parties, having a taste for fun and shared the company of many girlfriends.  He was evidently a very sophisticated man, that enjoyed all of the pleasures that life would afford him. Albert Camus spent his life searching for meaning, and being unable to find any, never gave up. The act of seeking is a virtuous act, whilst action with virtue is a good thing because it leads to the development of a better character, a fact that was not wasted upon Aristotle (a

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Meditations on Matter, Mind and Love

Meditations on Matter, Mind and Love

Every mystic will ultimately tell you that we’re all ‘one-thing,’ and that ‘one-thing,’ is the entire universe. Philosophically speaking this is known as ‘Monism,’ in which a oneness can be attributed to all people, places and events because they all spring from a single unknowable source at the beginning of time. In that sense the big bang hasn’t finished, it’s still going on. The universe is expanding as it should, it’s cooling and giving way to entropy, creating complexity as it does so. That complexity comes to life in us, and all of the other beings, sentient or otherwise that

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Hieraclitus, an argument for Dualism

Hieraclitus, an argument for Dualism

Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who lived between 535 BC and 465 BC, most famous for his ethical fragments and his doctrine that change was not only central to the experience of living but that the entire universe was constantly in change. “Nothing endures but change,” Heraclitus He’s oft-quoted as having said that: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Heraclitus Which brings me onto an interesting aspect of mind that we all share. Put simply we can sit by the riverbank and watch the water

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