"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."
- Marcus Aurelius
My own ideas on the quote:
Emperor Marcus Aurelius presents one of the very central themes of the Stoic philosophy. Stoic philosophy is all about removing unnecessary ballast from ones mind. Inflicting oneself with an unnecessary fear of unknown and uncertain future is all too common. This happens in spite of that it can be the most destructive form of mental self-mutilation there is on offer.
Marcus Aurelius does think that you can avoid this unnecessary trap. One just really needs to put some effort into making it happen. Marcus Aurelius does not say that this would be an easy thing to do at all. He just says that realizing the amount of unnecessary fears that do fill our minds will help us to cope with the reality.
This marvelous quote does also say that if one has made it thus far, there is no reason to think that one would not succeed in the future also. The only thing that he sees as a necessary requirement for achieving this goal is to take the full use of rational mind. A rational attitude when we think about the future also helps.
Of course, any kind of full rationality is just a pipe-dream. After all we all are mere humans and humans are always driven by instincts and emotions also. However, at least striving for some semblance of rationality will always produce more rational results than just letting emotions and instincts lead you where they want.
(This piece was completely refurbished on 28th of August, 2012)
"Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration. The meditations serve as an example of how Aurelius approached the Platonic ideal of a philosopher-king and how he symbolized much of what was best about Roman civilization."