The Marcus Aurelius Quote
“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.” – Marcus Aurelius
My Take: He’s Right, Stop Caring What People Think
No culture needs to hear this quote by Marcus Aurelius on why we need to stop caring what people think more than modern America.
That’s because Americans are incredibly vain. We constantly care what others think of us and spend voluminous amounts of time trying to improve the opinion strangers have of us.
Some of that has good end effects; because it’s bad to be a fat slob (whatever the Orwellian leftists say), lots of us exercise frequently, eat relatively healthily, and try to dress in a reasonable way. Of course, not everyone does. Many Americans dress like prostitutes or bums and/or are defined by their gluttony. But, many do try to be healthy and look good.
On the other hand, our vanity also has many negative end effects. Anorexia, consumer debt, social media addictions, and a host of other maladies plague our image-obsessed society. Similarly, Americans self-censor, change their views, and cynically attack their conservative peers to create a sufficiently “woke,” and thus positive, image.
The problem is that, whether the end effects are good or bad, we’re doing things for the wrong reasons. We need to stop caring what people think.
Take the health benefits of vanity; exercising and eating healthily. If you do that for you, there is a reasonable end. You’ll exercise enough to maintain a healthy weight and free yourself of weight-related health concerns, eat well enough to keep your body fueled and heart healthy, and generally live well. But, because it’s for you rather than others, you won’t take it to the extremes. You won’t starve yourself like an anorexic does, exercise enough to harm yourself, or limit your diet to the point where all the joy is drained from life. You can never please everyone, much less make everyone admire you, which is why you need to stop caring what people think and dismiss vanity.
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Even more problematic is the problem of self-censorship. Because we care what people think, many Americans hide their political beliefs. Trump voters refused to say who they might vote for, even over the phone, becuase they were so fearful of appearing socially undesirable. STOP CARING WHAT PEOPLE THINK!!! Do your own thing! If you want to be a Republican, be a Republican. If not, don’t (but you’ll still be wrong).
It doesn’t matter what others think. As Winston Churchill once said (supposedly), “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Whether he actually said that or not, it strikes a chord because it’s true. The average person is stupid and uninformed, especially when it comes to politics. We all know that. So why listen to them? Wear the damn Trump hat if you want to wear a Trump hat.
Marcus Aurelius was one of the greatest Stoics and most powerful men of all time. As the head of the entire Roman Empire, one of the most glorious and powerful states in history, he had good cause to worry about the opinions of others. If the Praetorian Guard lost faith in him, he could be deposed. If the Roman public disliked him, there could be a revolt. If the legions fighting in Germany with him lost faith in his leadership ability, they could stop fighting and ruin him. But even he knew the value of deciding to stop caring what people think.
Take his advice. Stop caring what people think. They’re wrong. Live free, both from the government and the opinions of others. Get out of bed and build something, whatever others say.
By: Gen Z Conservative