Premeditatio malorum (“the pre-meditation of evils”) is a Stoic exercise of imagining things that could go wrong or be taken away from us. It helps us prepare for life’s inevitable setbacks and develop resilience in the face of uncertainty. We don’t always get what is rightfully ours, even if we’ve earned it. Not everything is as clean and straightforward as we think they may be. Psychologically, we must prepare ourselves for this to happen.
“What is quite unlooked for is more crushing in its effect, and unexpectedness adds to the weight of a disaster. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. We should project our thoughts ahead of us at every turn and have in mind every possible eventuality instead of only the usual course of events...
Rehearse them in your mind: exile, torture, war, shipwreck. All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes.”
By doing this exercise, Seneca was always prepared for difficulty and prepared to meet any fate. Which is a good thing—because nearly every single one of those things actually happened to him. And from what we know, he faced each with bravery, strength and understanding. and always working that disruption into his plans. He was fitted for defeat or victory.
The premeditatio malorum medallion is designed to keep us equally prepared—and strengthen us for any possibility. The back features part of Seneca’s quote, “All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes.” Wrapped around the border are the situations Seneca instructs us to rehearse: Exile. Torture. War. Shipwreck.
Anticipation doesn’t magically make things easier, of course. But the more prepared we are, the abler we are to proceed despite the potential difficulties. With anticipation, we have time to raise defenses, or even avoid them entirely. We’re ready to be driven off course because we’ve plotted a way back. We can resist going to pieces if things didn’t go as planned. With anticipation, we can endure.
Each coin is handcrafted in the United States by a custom mint operating in Minnesota since 1882. The coin is shipped in a custom-designed box with an accompanying information card, explaining the practice to anyone receiving the coin. Each coin has a unique finish and character.
Dimensions: 1 9/16” in diameter, 2.778 MM thick, 26.2 grams.
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