Marcus Aurelius and do the right thing
I think I was a little hard on my good friend Marcus Aurelius. I have always admired him and I hate to put him down just because he persecuted Christians. Heck, everybody persecutes Christians, even Christians. See my posting on May 5th 2011. Emperor Aurelius may have persecuted Christians but he did not take joy in their suffering the way Nero is supposed to have. His definition of ‘right’ was different from mine but his determination to do what is right put limits on his cruelty.
This is the same principle at work in ‘doing unto others as you would have them do to you’. It is true that you may misstep trying to ‘do unto others…’ but the rule sets obvious limits on how much of a misstep you can make.
Also in M.A.’s defense, he was in the position of having to do right by many people with conflicting requirements. Like a company boss who must balance the demands of workers and shareholders, customers and suppliers. Some decisions are difficult. It is easy to criticize other people’s decisions and logic especially when separated by time and context.
All that being said I still think he acted out of self-interest. I have faith in human nature but in a negative way. Most of us wear invisible bracelets that read WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) even those of us who wear the WWJD ones.