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Alexander, Caesar, Pompey–how do they compare to Diogenes, Heraclitus, and Socrates? The philosophers saw the things of the world for what they are–that is they saw things in terms of their causes and their matter–and their command centers were autonomous. As for the others, look at the kinds of worries they had and how little freedom they had!

Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations: The Annotated Edition. Introduction by Robin Waterfield, Translator and Editor. New York: Basic Books, 2021.

No need for droning. Were one designing a modern “great books” program, one might do worse than start with Meditations for grounding.