Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD), was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors” and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. Marcus Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, however the threat of the Germanic tribes eventually presented a too troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict.

Marcus Aurelius on As Above so Below

This thou must always bear in mind, what is the nature of the whole, and what is my nature, and how this is related to that, and what kind of a part it is of what kind of a whole, and that there is no one who hinders thee from always doing and saying the things which are according to the nature of which thou art a part.

“Whatever is agreeable to You, O Universe, is so to me, too. Your operations are never mis-timed. Whatever Your seasons bring is fruit for me, O Nature. From You all things proceed, subsist in You, and return to You.”

Throughout the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius runs a thread of the authors efforts to conform with the world above. He often calls it ‘conforming with nature’, and stresses the need of reason to bring man into alignment with this higher ‘nature’.

“What is thy art? To be good. And how is this accomplished well except by general principles, some about the nature of the universe, and others about the proper constitution of man?”

Consider how many things in the same indivisible time take place in each of us,—things which concern the body and things which concern the soul: and so thou wilt not wonder if many more things, or rather all things which come into existence in that which is the one and all, which we call Cosmos, exist in it at the same time.

Marcus Aurelius on As Within so Without

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”

As above so below meaning aligning oneself with nature and the universe are not external. Harmony is internal resonance. Man falls into line with greater cosmoses by living in harmony with himself.