Always Be Assessing Your Reason

“Hurry to your own ruling reason, to the reason of the Whole, and to your neighbor’s. To your own mind to make it just; to the mind of the Whole to remember your place in it; and to your neighbor’s mind to learn whether it’s ignorant or of sound knowledge — while recognizing it’s like yours.”


There’s a whole lot to unpack in today’s quote from The Daily Stoic, but I’m going to focus on the part in the middle, since that’s the most interesting to me. It’s the part where Marcus Aurelius references the “mind of the Whole” — I’ve not heard him mention this previously, so I’m curious what it means.

My interpretation of this article is that “the mind of the Whole” is sort of referring to the concept of a collective unconscious. And so the thrust of this wisdom above from Marcus is that we should use our ruling reason always, but compare it to the reason of the greater community in which you live, as well as the reason of your neighbor. Always be assessing your reason.

And this goes along with the overall theme for this month of March of self-assessment. As the super-wise Ice Cube once said (or didn’t): Assess yourself before you wreck yourself.

Always use your reason, but make sure that you understand it. Understand what rules your reason. Understand where your greater community stands, and the same for your neighbor. Compare and assess your reason — never assume.

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