"A capacity for self-recollection - for withdrawal from the outward to the inward - is in fact the condition of all noble and useful activity. If the sailor did not carry with him his own temperature he could not go from the pole to the equator, and remain himself in spite of all. The man who has no refuge in himself, who lives, so to speak, in his front rooms, in the outer whirlwind of things and opinions, is not properly a personality at all. He is one of a crowd, a taxpayer, an elector, an anonymity, but not a man.
He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions -- such a man is a mere article of the world's furniture - a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being - an echo, not a voice. The man who has no inner life, is the slave of his surroundings, as the barometer is the obedient servant of the air at rest, and the weathercock the humble servant of the air in motion."
Henri Frederic Amiel, a Swiss scholar and writer, pulls no punches in this stinging exhortation. But how soon we abandon our inner life at the meeting of odds.
Photo by Gundega Dege