Universal Nature and Injustice

“Injustice is sin. When universal Nature has constituted rational creatures for the sake of each other–to benefit one another as deserved, but never to harm–anyone contravening her will is clearly guilty of sin against the oldest of the gods: because universal Nature is the nature of ultimate reality, to which all present existence is related.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Chap. 9, trans. Martin Hammond (London: Penguin, 2006), p. 83.

Marcus Aurelius (d. AD 180) ruled the Roman Empire from AD 161 to 180.  Despite his significant reign as the last of the “good emperors,” his written collection of short meditations have made him famous as a Stoic philosopher.  In this text he expresses the Stoic idea that justice is a universal ideal rooted in nature.

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