chapter
5 Pages

Postface

WithPaul Marcus

There is certainly some troubling truth to the words of the great Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, that “life is warfare and a sojourn in a foreign land.” That is, that amidst the “violence and injuries” and the “harmful pains or pleasures” one needs to preserve one’s “inner genius or divine spark” – that inner center of gravity – to have the will and ability to press on, and if fate or God will have it, to prevail amidst life’s outrageousness (Meditations, 2:15, quoted in Robertson, 2013, p. 2). In psychoanalytic language, Aurelius is emphasizing the need to vigorously maintain one’s autonomy, integration and humanity amidst the painful challenges, if not “suffering,” that to the reflective person feel intrinsic to the human condition. The art of living the “good life” requires just such a skillful capacity, what is called a “heart of wisdom” in the Psalms (90:12) (Holy Scriptures, 1964, p. 842).