It is what it is

TOP 25 QUOTES BY MARCUS AURELIUS (of 777) | A-Z Quotes

A comment in response to my post on The Australian is now the print version of the ABC.

I disagree Steve. The Australian is by the far the most balanced newspaper in Australia. And I saw the Swan interview of Trump – I think Trump looked like an idiot. He really has lost the plot; moreover he has destroyed the Republican brand and therefore has really been the Manchurian Candidate – the Democrat sleeper agent to tear the GOP apart. This he has done an amazing job – basically he will lead to a left wing Democratic Presidency with a Democrat majority in both the HoR and the Senate. I can’t believe you can support this man. The response to Covid has been appalling and the data shows clearly the excess deaths due to the incompetence of the Trump administration. We have had four years of idiocy and he has achieved none of the promises, which is not surprising since he stood for nothing and has no substance. All those people who wanted to take down the elites in Washington have only managed to cement them in more power thanks to their support of Trump.

You may take this comment as you find it. So far as The Oz being the most balanced of the papers, let me note that this article was in The Age: The economic crisis is still to come, and was written by our very own Sinclair Davidson. As for the C&P, this is the most “cutting edge” of the comments:

When asked, Donald ducked:

Trump: Well what’s your definition of control? Under the circumstances, right now, I think it’s under control.

Swan: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day.

Trump: They are dying, that’s true. And it is what it is.

The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon:

It is what it is? You’re the President of the United States. You’re not Paulie Walnuts delivering bad news to Tony Soprano! “Sorry T, things got a little messy and, uh, it is what it is, capiche?”

I suppose what these fools were looking for is an approach along the lines taken by Daniel Andrews, such as by the Governor of New York, who sent individuals who were diagnosed with the coronavirus back into their nursing homes. But the real point is first, no one is arguing against what Trump did do, since he was early on the scene and attempted against all the opposition the Democrats could muster, to stop everything he tried to do. They were the ones inviting people to come along to Chinese New Year celebrations in February or to BLM marches just last month.

But the second part I am astonished about is that Trump actually said this:

“They are dying, that’s true. And it is what it is.”

This is a comment worthy of Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism in the face of adversity is all that can sustain us.

AND LET ME CONTINUE: I wish to continue with a bit of further research since posting. On Wikipedia, I confess, but since none of this offends modern political agendas, we can probably rely on what I found.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 which happened to coincide with the Antonine Plague.

The Antonine Plague of 165 to 180 AD, also known as the Plague of Galen (after Galen, the physician who described it), was an ancient pandemic brought to the Roman Empire by troops who were returning from campaigns in the Near East. Scholars have suspected it to have been either smallpox  or measles. The plague may have claimed the life of a Roman emperorLucius Verus, who died in 169 and was the co-regent of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name, Antoninus, has become associated with the pandemic.

Ancient sources agree that the plague appeared first during the Roman siege of the Mesopotamian city Seleucia in the winter of 165–166. Ammianus Marcellinus reported that the plague spread to Gaul and to the legions along the RhineEutropius stated that a large population died throughout the empire. According to the contemporary Roman historian Cassius Dio, the disease broke out again nine years later in 189 AD and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day in Rome, one quarter of those who were affected. The total death count has been estimated at 5 million, and the disease killed as much as one third of the population in some areas and devastated the Roman army.

Australian sinologist and historian Rafe de Crespigny speculates that the plague may have also broken out in Eastern Han China before 166 because of notices of plagues in Chinese records. The plague affected Roman culture and literature and may have severely affected Indo-Roman trade relations in the Indian Ocean.

A number of interesting parallels there, I’m afraid. There is then this on Stoicism:

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC…. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

But beyond that, there is Modern Stoicism where we find this:

 “Following nature means following the facts. It means getting the facts about the physical and social world we inhabit, and the facts about our situation in it […] before we deliberate about normative matters. It means facing those facts – accepting them for exactly what they are, no more and no less – before we draw normative conclusions from them. It means doing ethics from the facts constructing normative propositions a posteriori. It means adjusting those normative propositions to fit changes in the facts, and accepting those adjustments for exactly what they are, no more and no less. And it means living within the facts – within the realm of actual rather than hypothetical norm.” Ethical reasoning of a Stoic “cannot begin until all relevant description, representation, and prediction are in hand, […] – until, let us say, the empirical work is done.”

Or to quote another modern political philosopher, “It is as it is”, which will be the only approach for people such as ourselves for getting on with life should Joe Biden become President.

1 thought on “It is what it is

  1. Pingback: It is what it is - The Rabbit Hole

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