Leading on from my post about Claerbout’s approach to time, this weekend I read Marcus Aurelius’s stoic masterpiece, his Meditations. A colleague, GN (to whom grateful thanks), recommended the work to me some time back and I have at last got around to reading it, though it would seem timely. There is something deeply satisfying, I find, about aphoristic wisdom and Aurelius is at his best when at his most aphoristic. I particularly liked the following (not one of the more common quotations): ‘…a person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.’ And what of ‘It is ridiculous not to escape from one’s own vices, which is possible, while trying to escape the vices of others, which is impossible’? I’ll finish this post with one of the better known quotations… ‘A bitter cucumber? Throw it away. Brambles in the path? Go round them. That is all you need, without going on to ask, ‘So why are these things in the world anyway?” Why did I mention Claerbout in the same context? It is because Aurelius is wonderfully lucid about the paradox of human lives, which seem so significant, subjectively-speaking, and which are so insignificant, objectively-speaking: ‘…how brief the gap from birth to dissolution, how vast the gulf of time before your birth, and an equal infinity after your dissolution.’ I love that phrase, ‘an equal infinity’! That, I think, is what Claerbout is also trying to show in such works as Long Goodbye.