“I can’t imagine how anyone can say: ‘I’m weak’, and then remain so. After all, if you know it, why not fight against it, why not try to train your character?” “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
Some books are well worth a reread… and this one is no exception. Many times throughout the last 7 months of quarantine, occupied in our interior apartment, I have thought of Anne Frank, and so I found myself delving into her world and thoughts once more.
Her presence of mind and thoughtful insights, written in a clear and elegant style, would no doubt make Marcus Aurelius proud. Her dedication to improving herself, despite her situation, is nothing less of incredible… and is something regularly espoused by the Stoics.
Not to mention the excellent practice of keeping a diary in the first place!
Meditations title page

Title page of an 1811 edition of Meditations – the diary of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, translated by R. Graves.

Indeed, many of her thoughts would fit in beautifully in Meditations or Epictetus’ Discourses.
“How noble and good everyone could be if, at the end of each day, they were to review their own behavior and weigh up the rights and wrongs.” – “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
This was written by a 15 year old who has been inside for 2 years, only a month before she was taken away to her death…
Anne’s words are powerful, not only because of the tragic and raw perspective from which she writes, but also because they are true. We should review our own behavior every night. We should consider the rights and wrongs we have done… and we should train our character to be good.
And this brings us to today’s mailbag…
What makes for ‘Good’ Character? How can we train ourselves? What traits should we develop? And how do we discover what those are?
As always, you can write me directly at [email protected] or comment below.