I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mary Beard, but I wonder. So the meditations are a commonplace book, routine reminders of what the philosophical Roman was expected to bear in mind. Well, I think there is much to be said for a man in Marcus's position taking the time to do that. And the choice of what he wrote down presumably was his own - those commonplaces that meant something to him, which tells us something about him. I don't recall that Marcus anywhere suggests that he is an original thinker. Come to think of it, original thinking may be at times overrated. It's sound thinking we need more of.