“Everything that happens is as simple and familiar as the rose to spring, the fruit in summer: disease, death, blasphemy, conspiracy…everything that makes stupid people happy or angry.”
Initially, I had placed most emphasis of my interpretation on the last section (see previous post). In short: the happenings of life and the inability of stupid people who are not mentally or emotionally equipped to react appropriately. After a short period of time between reflection, what immediately stood out in my second viewing were the words simple and familiar. Their use in this context did not completely make sense in the framework of my original analysis. Aurelius could have chosen to use other descriptors, such as brutal and violent. They would certainly be much closer in relation to disease, death, blasphemy, conspiracy! It’s easy to read this sentence and sense the negativity around what is being said. However, I believe there is a subtle beauty here, and it can be found in in the imagery he provides.
There are two instances to which Aurelius relates the simple and familiar proceeding of life: “the rose to spring,” and “the fruit in summer.” I interpret this to be the simplicity of nature, unbiased and uninterested in the desires of man, the continual occurrence of the seasons, always to be counted on. The simple joy of breathing in the perfumes of the rose in spring, picking a ripened apple in the heat of the afternoon sun, anticipating the effects of its rejuvenation.
I believe Aurelius purposefully used examples he knew would invoke a sense of calm and happiness in his readers. He then related this positive energy with “disease, death, blasphemy, conspiracy.” In doing so, he successfully juxtaposed the two energies and visually exemplifies the very meaning of what he is telling us. In short: the world is unbiased, seasonal, and continuous – life and death continue to happen regardless of our intentions and ambitions.