Though Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and physicist Albert
Einstein may be better known for their accomplishments in politics
and physics, Carol Van Houten, editor of the online zine The
Constant Reader, recommends the writings of these two great
thinkers for their thoughts on peace.
In Marcus Aurelius’ memoir Meditations, Van Houten finds
inspiration and peace. On her home page she quotes him: ‘What is
not harmful to the city cannot harm the citizen. In every fancied
case of harm, apply the rule, ‘If the city is not harmed, I am not
harmed either.’ But if the city should indeed be harmed, never rage
at the culprit: rather, find out at what point his vision failed
Van Houten says that she’s comforted by Marcus Aurelius’ reminder
that even the worst of times are only temporary. She appreciates
his advice to always make rational decisions, words that she has
not seen expressed much in the press lately.
Also missing, Van Houten writes, have been inspiring speeches from
our leaders. So, she turns to Albert Einstein for his thoughts from
between WWI and WWII. In his essays, Einstein, also a peace
activist, pleads for renewed vigilance against armaments.
Though full of thoughtful and interesting quotes from brilliant
minds, Van Houten’s article also includes a valuable reading list
of more works in a similar vein.
–Sara V. Buckwitz