Meditations on Meditations: Praise and Service (4.19)

The man whose heart is palpitating for fame after death does not reflect that out of all those who remember him every one will himself soon be dead also, and in the course of time the next generation after that, until in the end, after flaring and sinking by turns, the final spark of memory is quenched.

Furthermore, even supposing that those who remember you were never to die at all, nor their memories to die either, yet what is that to you?

Clearly, in your grave, nothing; and even in your lifetime, what is the good of praise – unless maybe to subserve some lesser design?

Surely, then, you are making an inopportune rejection of what Nature has given you today, if all your mind is set on what men will say of you tomorrow.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.19

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