If we want to form a simple idea of what was meant by kosmos, we must imagine the whole of the universe as if it were both ordered and animate. For the Stoics, the structure of the world – the cosmic order – is not merely magnificent, it is also comparable to a living being. The material world, the entire universe, fundamentally resembles a gigantic animal, of which each element – each organ – is conceived and adapted to the harmonious functioning of the whole. Each part, each member of this immense body, is perfectly in place and functions impeccably (although disasters do occur, they do not last for long, and order is soon restored) in the most literal sense: without fault, and in harmony with the other parts. And it is this that theoria helps us to unravel and understand.
What Marcus Aurelius suggests amounts to the idea that nature – when it functions normally and aside from the occasional accidents and catastrophes that occur – renders justice finally to each of us. It supplies to each of us our essential needs as individuals: a body which enables us to move about the world, an intelligence which permits us to adapt to the world, and natural resources which enable us to survive in the world. So that, in this great cosmic sharing out of goods, each receives his due.
A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living by Luc Ferry