"If one were to measure what is agreeable by the standard of pleasure, nothing would be pleasanter than self-control; and if one were to measure what is to be avoided by pain, nothing would be more painful than lack of self-control."

Musonius Rufus - Fragments
Of the things in my life which bring me pleasure, none serves this purpose more than overcoming my personal demons. My temper, my lusts, my worries, all of these once tampted down by self-control give me a sense of control that nothing else does. Musonius says that nothing is more painful than the lack of self-control. This bears out as everytime I have given in to one of my passions I have payed a price. If fortune allows me another day I shall see it gratefully and remember this.

"The soul of a man harms itself, first and foremost, 1 when it becomes (as far as it can) a seperate growth, a sort of tumour on the universe: because to resent anything that happens is to seperate oneself in revolt from Nature, which holds in collective embrace the particular natures of all other things. Secondly, 2 when it turns away from another human being, or is even carried so far in opposition as to intend him harm - such is the case in the souls of those gripped by anger. A soul harms itself, thirdly, 3 when it gives in to pleasure or pain. Fourthly, 4 whenever it dissimulates, doing or saying anything feigned or false. Fifthly, 5 whenever it fails to direct any of its own actions or impulses to a goal, but acts at random, without concious attention - whereas even the most trivial action should be undertaken in reference to the end. And the end for rational creatures is to follow the reason and the rule of the most venerable archetype of a governing state - the Universe. " - Marcus Aurelius

1. I should monitor the way in which I judge the events of my life. Remembering always the things which are in my control and those which are not. To withhold judgment of the events which Nature has saw fit to present me with, and keep the knowledge that nothing is good or bad until I judge it to be so. This will keep me from harm.

2. To remember that I am part of a larger whole, a polis that includes all people and virtue is to be found in helping and not hurting those around me. This will keep me from harm.

3. Remember that pleasure and pain are not in my control. And to base my happines on the aqcuiring of pleasure or the avoidance of pain is a fools errand. This will keep me from harm.

4. To avoid presenting myself falsely, or to lie or slander against others. To avoid pretending to be things which I am not. This will keep me from harm.

5. To avoid doing anything without purpose. To relax with purpose, to act with purpose, to live with purpose. To keep reason at the forefront of everythign I do. This will keep me from harm.

These five maxims form a protective armor for the soul. It is the walls of the citadel that keep out those that would do my soul harm. It is the foundation that I will build my virtue upon.