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Marcus Aurelius on Distraction

Marcus Aurelius on Distraction

Obvious State illustration Marcus Aurelius
"Free yourself from distraction, walk the path in front of you." - Marcus Aurelius

Much of Aurelius' Meditations is dedicated to the pursuit of focus. The mind wrestles with distraction constantly (maybe you're doing it right now?), and while we know what we ought to be doing, it is so easy to wander from idle thought to idle thought. Whether it be the desire for instant gratification, the temptation to multi-task, the anxiety of the unknown, or simply a lack of will to focus, the mind's ability to derail itself from what it wants to achieve is boundless.

In this illustration, a forest path recedes into the trees. Rather than being present in nature, the viewer's thoughts wander to less idyllic concerns, as the slender trees momentarily transform into the outline of a barcode. The tension between the natural and the commercial creates a dissonance and a challenge to the viewer to recenter on what truly matters.

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Marcus Aurelius Meditations Free yourself from distraction, illustration by Evan Robertson

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