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Meditations and Confessions

             Both Marcus Aurelius and Saint Augustine search for meaning in their lives in Meditations and Confessions respectively. Aurelius" views stem from Stoic philosophy, whereas Augustine's views stem from Christian philosophy. Although Christianity may be rooted in Stoicism, the opinions on suffering and life's difficulties differ. On one side, Aurelius searches for meaning and happiness in his present life. On the other, St. Augustine searches for happiness in the life hereafter. .
             Stoics define philosophy as, "striving after wisdom" (Aurelius, 10), and the aim is to live according to nature and reason (Aurelius, 16-17). Wisdom is the "knowledge of [the] divine and human" (Aurelius, 10) and can be divided into three parts: logic, physics, and ethics. Stoic philosophy is not just a study, it is about using what one learned and applying it to the way one lives his or her life. Maxwell Staniforth describes this application of stoic philosophy into the real world as a stoic code; .
             "a code which was manly, rational, and temperate, a code which insisted on just a virtuous dealing, self-disciple, unflinching fortitude, and complete freedom from the storms of passion- (Aurelius, 10).
             Logic is about impressions. Knowledge begins with an impression of something. Then, the stoic must assent to it as a truth or reject it as false (Aurelius, 11). Physics is the study of rationally explaining the cosmos. Stoics believe that the "Mind-Fire, which possessed consciousness and purpose and will, was both the creator and material of the inverse," (Aurelius, 12). Ethics is about the way one lives life. A central idea of Stoicism is that everything that one experiences is only a mere matter of one's own judgment: "opinion is everything" (Aurelius, 17).
             A life lived under the stoic code of nature and reason is rewarded with happiness. Aurelius wrote his Meditations as a daily reminder to live "according to Nature" (Aurelius, 16).

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