I read The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal regularly as well as other publications on a consistent basis.
I also listen to NPR and watch televised new shows to include PBS and NBC.
I am not a news junkie.
However, I was taught that a democracy depends on engaged, informed citizens.
Yet, I tire of talking heads and all the noise that fills our nation and our world.
I look to history for lessons, wisdom and guidance as I make my way in the world.
Marcus Aurelius was the last ruler of the Pax Romana, the two-hundred year period of relative stability and security in the Roman Empire.
“His death in 180 is considered the end of the Pax Romana…and the increasing instability in the west that followed has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the eventual fall of the Western Roman Empire.” Marcus Aurelius
This statement from Wikipedia reminds me of my high school history classes during which we talked about the fall of the Roman Empire. Our teacher pointed out that the Romans were lulled by “bread and circuses” rather than fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens.
As explained by Amy Scanlon, “Basically ancient Rome was a society that completely revolved around war, and where compassion was considered a vice rather than a virtue… [The] Romans saw gladiatorial contests not as a form of decadence but as a cure for decadence. And decadence to the Romans had little to do with sexual behavior or lack of a decent work ethic, but a lack of military-style honor and soldierly virtues. To a Roman compassion was a detestable vice, which was considered both decadent and feminine. Watching people and animals slaughtered brutally [in the arena] was seen as a way to keep the civilian population from this ‘weakness’ because they didn’t see combat…. Bread and Circuses
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” Marcus Aurelius
As a citizen, it is my job to be informed, to think clearly and thoughtfully about the issues and to work toward unification in our country and in the world.