Fundamental Dogmas

The only good is moral good, and the only evil is moral evil.

But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly (Marcus Aurelius, II,1,3).

Pleasure is not a good and pain is not an evil.

And think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last (IV,3,6).

Contemplate the formative principles (forms) of things bare of their coverings; the purposes of actions; consider what pain is, what pleasure is, and death, and fame; who is to himself the cause of his uneasiness; how no man is hindered by another; that everything is opinion (XII,8).

The only thing shameful is moral evil.

But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly (II,1,3).

Faults committed against us cannot touch us.

I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly (II,1,3).

When thou art troubled about anything, thou hast forgotten this [...] that a man's wrongful act is nothing to thee (XII,26).

He who commits a fault hurts only himself [IX.4, 20, 38].

Does any one do wrong? It is to himself that he does the wrong (IV,26,3).

He who does wrong does wrong against himself. He who acts unjustly acts unjustly to himself, because he makes himself bad. (IV,4).

It is thy duty to leave another man's wrongful act there where it is (IX,20).

If any man has done wrong, the harm is his own. But perhaps he has not done wrong (IX,38).

We can suffer no harm whatsoever from the actions of anyone else.

I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly (II,1,3).

The wrong-doer has done thee no harm, for he has not made thy ruling faculty worse than it was before (VII,22,2).

Faults cannot be found elsewhere then within oneself.

Only that which depends on us can be either good or evil; and our judgment and our assent depend on us.

Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in thy power. Take away then, when thou choosest, thy opinion, and like a mariner, who has doubled the promontory, thou wilt find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay (XII,22).

The only evil or trouble there can be for us resides in our own judgment; that is to say, in the way we represent things to ourselves.

But among the things readiest to thy hand to which thou shalt turn, let there be these, which are two. One is that things do not touch the soul, for they are external and remain immovable; but our perturbations come only from the opinion which is within (IV,3,10).

It is not men's acts which disturb us, for those acts have their foundation in men's ruling principles, but it is our own opinions which disturb us. Take away these opinions then, and resolve to dismiss thy judgement about an act as if it were something grievous, and thy anger is gone. (IX,18,11).

People are the authors of their own problems.

Hast thou seen those things? Look also at these. Do not disturb thyself. Make thyself all simplicity. Does any one do wrong? It is to himself that he does the wrong. Has anything happened to thee? Well; out of the universe from the beginning everything which happens has been apportioned and spun out to thee. In a word, thy life is short. Thou must turn to profit the present by the aid of reason and justice. Be sober in thy relaxation (IV.26).

Contemplate the formative principles (forms) of things bare of their coverings; the purposes of actions; consider what pain is, what pleasure is, and death, and fame; who is to himself the cause of his uneasiness; how no man is hindered by another; that everything is opinion (XII.8).

Things do not come inside us in order to trouble us.

Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.

This then remains: Remember to retire into this little territory of thy own, and above all do not distract or strain thyself, but be free, and look at things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal. But among the things readiest to thy hand to which thou shalt turn, let there be these, which are two. One is that things do not touch the soul, for they are external and remain immovable; but our perturbations come only from the opinion which is within. The other is that all these things, which thou seest, change immediately and will no longer be; and constantly bear in mind how many of these changes thou hast already witnessed. The universe is transformation: life is opinion (IV,3).

The intellect is independent of the body [VI.32, VII.16].

I consist of a little body and a soul. Now to this little body all things are indifferent, for it is not able to perceive differences. But to the understanding those things only are indifferent, which are not the works of its own activity. But whatever things are the works of its own activity, all these are in its power. And of these however only those which are done with reference to the present; for as to the future and the past activities of the mind, even these are for the present indifferent (VI,32).

The ruling faculty does not disturb itself; I mean, does not frighten itself or cause itself pain. But if any one else can frighten or pain it, let him do so. For the faculty itself will not by its own opinion turn itself into such ways. Let the body itself take care, if it can, that is suffer nothing, and let it speak, if it suffers. But the soul itself, that which is subject to fear, to pain, which has completely the power of forming an opinion about these things, will suffer nothing, for it will never deviate into such a judgement. The leading principle in itself wants nothing, unless it makes a want for itself; and therefore it is both free from perturbation and unimpeded, if it does not disturb and impede itself (VII, 16).

Everything is a matter of judgment [XII.8, 22, 26].

Every fault is in fact a false judgment, and proceeds from ignorance [XI.18].

The unity and rationality of the Cosmos.

Everything comes from Universal Nature and in conformity with its will [XII.26].

Even human wrong-doing, which is a consequence of liberty [VI.42].

Everything occurs in conformity with Destiny.

All things undergo continuous metamorphosis in accord with Nature [XII.21].

But are ceaselessly repeated [VI.46, VII.1, IX.14].

We must die.

Nature is unified by a sympathy [IV.27, 40, V.26, VI.38, IX.9].

There is a mutual mixture and implication of everything in everything [VI.38, VII.9].

"The whole is more important than its parts." (Epictetus)

Universal Reason gives form and motion to inert matter.

So we must always distinguish the causal (reason) and the material [IX.25, 37, XII.18].

Human reason is a part of Universal Reason [XII.26].

So all humans are related.

So people are made for each other [VIII.59, IX.1].

The immensity of Nature.

Life is very brief [VII.21, VIII.21, XII.7].

The instant is infinitesimal [II.14, XII.26].

The earth is like a point [VII.21].

Current fame and posthumous glory are vain [VII.21, VIII.21, 44, XII.21].

Especially from those who contradict themselves or each other.

Who are not worthy of respect when they are seen as they are.