A branch severed from an adjoining branch necessarily becomes severed from the whole tree. A man, likewise, who had become divided from any of his fellows has thereby fallen away from the whole community. But whereas the branch is lopped by some other hand, the man, by his feelings of hated or aversion, brings about his own estrangement from his neighbour, and does not see that at the same time he has cut himself off from the whole framework of society. Nevertheless it is in our power… to grow back and become one with our neighbour again, so playing our part in the integration of the whole. Yet if such acts of secession are repeated frequently, they make it difficult for the recusant to achieve this reunion and restitution. A branch which has been a partner of the tree’s growth since the beginning, and has never ceased to share its life, is a different thing from one that has been grafted in after a severance. As the gardener’s say, it is of the same tree, but not of the same mind.

Marcus Aurelius