When the aged Roman Emperor Hadrian visited Marcus Aurelius’ grandfather’s home he nicknamed the young Marcus “Verissimus,” meaning “truest” or “most earnest.”
I first read “Meditations” as an undergrad at Syracuse University for a Roman Literature course. Marcus Aurelius’ private collections of thoughts and notes for self-improvement has served as a constant reminder of duty and service. And, what was privately written from his heart and not meant to be published has challenged me to think more clearly and to value the right things. It has also clarified and simplified some other weighty things. While some may shiver at the Stoic fatalism of ‘momento mori,’ it’s a call to action for me to add vigor to my life.
Seeking clear judgment and inner calm is a good way to balance the chaotic world, building resilience to the inevitable misfortune that comes with engaging in most anything — particularly business and politics. Stoicism has been defined and interpreted many times over. Plato and Plutarch, the Apostle Paul, Renaissance thinkers, and modern philosophers have all deeply analyzed the philosophy and its deployment.
I simply pick up ‘Meditations’ and read a passage or a few without fervor of analysis. It’s a simple, yet great, mental exercise to organize thoughts and beliefs.
My tribute is that I named my newest venture Aurelius Coworks. It’s a full time reminder that I have decided to develop, own, operate, and consult on coworking and incubator spaces because of the richness it brings to my life.