Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.

Unhappy am I because this has happened to me.—Not so, but happy am I, thought this has happened to me, because I continue free from pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearing the future. For such a thing as this might have happened to every man; but every man would not have continued free from pain on such an occasion. Why then is that rather a misfortune than this a good fortune? And dost thou in all cases call that a man’s misfortune, which is not a deviation from man’s nature? And does a thing seem to thee to be a deviation from man’s nature? When it is not contrary to the will of man’s nature? Well. Thou knowest the will of nature, Will then this which has happened prevent thee from being just, magnanimous, temperate, prudent, secure against inconsiderate opinions and falsehood; will it prevent thee from having modesty freedom, and everything else, by the presence of which man’s nature obtains all that is its own? Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to beat it nobly is good fortune.

It is a vulgar, but still a useful help towards contempt of death, to pass in review those who have tenaciously stuck to life. What more then have they gained than those who have died early? Cadicianus, Fabius, Juslianus, Lepidus, or any one else like them, who have carried out many to be buried, and then were carried out themselves. Altogether the interval is small between birth and death; and consider with how much trouble, and in company with what sort of people and in what a feeble body this interval is laboriously passed. Do not then consider life a thing of any value. For look to the immensity of time behind thee, and to the time which is before thee, another boundless space. In this infinity then what is the difference between him who lives three days and him who lives three generations?

Always run to the short way; and the short way is the natural: accordingly say and do everything in conformity with the soundest reason. For such a purpose frees a man from trouble, and warfare, and all artifice and ostentatious display.


我是不 幸的,因为这是对我发生了。——不要这样,而是想我是幸福的,虽然这件事发生了,因为我对痛苦始终保持着自由,不为现在或将来的恐惧所压倒。因为像这样的 一件事可能对每一个人发生,但不是每一个人在这种场合都始终是自己免于痛苦。那么为什么不是一件幸事而是一个不幸对我发生呢?你在所有情况下都把那并不偏 离人的本性的东西成为一个人的不行吗?一个事物,当它并不违反人的本性的意志时,你对把它看成对人的本性的偏离吗?好,你知道本性的意志,那这发生的事情 将组织你做一个正直、高尚、节制、明智和不受轻率的意见和错误影响的人吗?难道它将组织你拥有节制、自由和别的一切好品质吗?人的本性真是在这些品质中所 获取所有属于它自己的东西。记住在任何可能使你烦恼的场合都采用这一原则:即 这并非是一个不幸,而高贵地忍受它却是一个幸运。

通过重 温那些紧紧抓住生命的人,对于蔑视死亡来说是一个通俗却仍不失为有用的帮助。他们比那些早死的人获得了更多的东西吗?他们肯定最终仍得躺在什么地方的坟墓 里。克迪斯亚卢斯、费比厄斯、朱利安卢斯、莱皮德斯或任何类似于他们的人,他们埋葬了许多人,然后是自己被埋葬。总之,生与死之间的距离是很短的,仔细想 一下吧,生命是带着多少苦恼,伴随着什么样的人,寄寓于多么软弱的身体而艰难地走过这一距离的,那么就不要把寿命看做在你之前的无限时间,在这种无限面 前,活三天和活三代有什么差别呢?