Things of Value

Make for thyself a definition or description of the thing
which is presented to thee, so as to see distinctly
what kind of a thing it is in its substance,
in its nudity, in its complete entirety,
and tell thyself its proper name,
and the names of the things of which it has been compounded,
and into which it will be resolved.
For nothing is so productive of elevation of mind
as to be able to examine methodically
and truly every object
which is presented to thee in life,
and always to look at things
so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is,
and what kind of use everything performs in it,
and what value everything has with reference to the whole,
and what with reference to man,
who is a citizen of the highest city,
of which all other cities are like families;
what each thing is, and of what it is composed,
and how long it is the nature of this thing to endure.
– Marcus Aurelius
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