In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius talks about how to see everything for how important it really is, by taking ‘Plato’s view’. That is, specifically a bird’s eye one.
It’s best to take a birds-eye view and see everything all at once—of gatherings, armies, farms, weddings and divorces, births and deaths, noisy courtrooms or silent spaces, every foreign people, holidays, memorials, markets—all blended together and arranged in a pairing of opposites.
When looking at all the stuff in our lives from a bird’s eye view, all the worries about the future, regrets of the past, dramas and insecurities are seen for what they really are: nothing.
But what about taking a dog’s eye view?
People’s status, position, fame, fortune and attractiveness doesn’t matter from a bird’s eye view. But a dog’s eye view can teach us how to deal with people who have any of those things. Which, we undoubtedly have to, day-in day out.
A dog doesn’t give two shits about whether a person is famous or forgotten, wealthy or wretched, has high-status, low-status, beautiful hair, succesful in bussiness, a failure in politics, a mediocre success in law, has no hair, has too much back hair, is fit, is fat, makes good jokes or tells really crappy ones.
All they care about is if someone is a shitty person and we need to be wary of them.¹ And they’ll usually sense it from far.
It’s a reminder that when you’re trying to contact or get help from or ask favours from those more famous, more ‘successful’, more wealthy than you, that they’re exactly like you. And there’s no need to be intimidated. Because if Chunky doesn’t care, neither should I. All that matters is to treat people with respect and be a good person. The rest is dog shit.
¹ Or at least reminds them of someone was shitty to them in the past