Advice from Marcus Aurelius: A stoic way to start the day

Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome and a philosopher, wrote a series of reflections in his personal journal. They were never meant for publication, but what has come to be known as his Meditations is a classic work. It has been influential among not only philosophers, but politicians, leaders, and other interested readers. In Book 2, Marcus writes about several things that we should say to ourselves to start the day: "...today, I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, and unsocial." He goes on to say that it is their ignorance of the true nature of good and evil that leads them to act in these ways. But he highlights our common humanity, that human beings share "the same mind, the same fragment of divinity." He concludes this meditation as follows: "We were born for cooperation, like...

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Build your own intellectual oasis

Two years ago I started an experiment I would like to recommend to you. At the urging of my best friend, concerned not just about my happiness but my mental health, I went dark. Perhaps if enough people give this a try it could help pull our troubled culture out of its downward spiral. What do I mean by going dark? I've enjoyed a four-decade long career as an engineer, entrepreneur, and venture capital investor working with many others to help build the digital world in which we now live. As the years passed I became more of an "activist," devoting increasing amounts of time, money, and attention to various issues and causes impacting the body politic. For 25 years I wrote regular opinion columns for publications like Network Computing and Communications Week, back in the pre-web days, transitioning to...

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