Acting justly


“Wisdom and acting justly are the same.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.37

I’ve always had a problem with the image of a wiseman as a long-bearded recluse living in a cave at the top of a snowy mountain. What can you be wise about if you live by yourself and do nothing all day?

I much prefer the Stoic view of Marcus Aurelius: “Wisdom and acting justly are the same.” When I hear that someone made a “wise move”, I picture a person who thought deeply about what needed to be done and then took the right action. Those who should know better and fail to act, we often call fools.

The ethical leader is not simply expected to act but to act justly.

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