Friday, May 23, 2014

"Make the most of what there is good in institutions, in opinions, in communities, in individuals. It is very easy to do the reverse of this, to make the worst of what there is of evil, absurd, and erroneous. By so doing we shall have no difficulty in making estrangements more wide, and hatreds and strifes more abundant, and errors more extreme." Dean Stanley.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The following piece on the proud person is written with the contempt that people truly feel towards those who see themselves as more than they are. I’m in this essay, no doubt: but I rarely find anyone who doesn’t hold some or many of the following weaknesses. Read this slowly with true self-evaluation before you just dismiss it as a description of the other guy.
A proud man is a fool in fermentation that swells and boils over like a porridge-pot. He set out his feathers like an owl, to swell and seem bigger than he is. He is troubled with a tumor and inflammation of self-conceit, that renders every part of him stiff and uneasy. He has given himself sympathetic love-powder, that works upon him to foolish self-affection, and has transformed him into his own mistress.
He is his own gallant knight, and makes most passionate addresses to his own dear perfections. He commits idolatry to himself, and worships his own image; though there is no soul living of his church but himself, yet he believes as the church believes, and maintains his faith with the obstinacy of a fanatic. He is his own favorite, and advances himself, not only above his merit, but above all mankind; he give place to no man but himself, and that with very great distance to all others, whom he esteems not worthy to approach him.
He believes whatever he has, receives a value in just being his, as a horse in a nobleman’s stable will bear a greater price than in a common market.
He strives to look bigger than himself, as well as others; and is no better than his own parasite and flatterer.
A little flood will make a shallow torrent swell about its banks, and rage, and foam, and yield a roaring noise, while a deep, silent stream glides quietly on; so a vain-glorious, insolent, proud man swells with a little frail prosperity, grows big and loud, and overflows its bounds, and when he sinks, leaves mud and dirt behind him.
Now, we can naturally take no view of ourselves, unless we look downwards, to teach us what humble admirers we ought to be of our own value. The slighter and less solid his materials are, the more room they take up, and make him swell the bigger, as feathers and cotton will stuff cushions better than things of more close and solid parts. Butler.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

“What would be the heart of an old weather-beaten hollow stump, if the leaves and blossoms of its youth were suddenly to spring up out of the mould around it, and to remind it how bright and blissful summer was in the years of its prime!
That which has died within us, is often the saddest portion of what Death has taken away, sad to all, sad above measure to those in whom no higher life has been awakened. The heavy thought is the thought of what we were, of what we hoped and purpost to have been, of what we ought to have been, of what but for ourselves we might have been, set by the side of what we are; as though we were haunted by the ghost of our own youth. This is a thought the crushing weight of which nothing but strength above our own can lighten.” Guesses at Truth. 

  I look often into faces that have let years go by without fruitage. Addiction and wayward living steal years so silently and swiftly, that when finally realized, it seems impossible that whole seasons have been lost. That being said, I’m sure there is not a person, when assessing the years, cannot find many that lay fallow.  

Friday, May 09, 2014

   “Everybody is impatient for the time when he shall be his own master. And if coming of age were to make one so, if years could indeed “Bring the philosophic mind,” it would be rightly a day of rejoicing to a whole household and neighborhood. But to often he, who is impatient to become his own master, when the outward checks are removed, merely becomes his own slave, the slave of a master in the insolent flush of youth, hasty, headstrong, wayward and tyrannical. Had he really become his own master, the first act of his dominion over himself would have been to put himself under the dominion of a higher Master and a wiser.” Guesses at Truth.

  “Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold, stir more than they can quiet, fly to the end without consideration of the means.”  Bacon.

  “In the morning of our days, when the senses are unworn and tender, when the whole man is awake in every part, and the gloss of novelty is fresh upon all the objects that surround us, how lively at that time are our sensations, but how false and inaccurate the judgments we form of things.”  Burke.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Henry D. Thoreau lived a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust;” in an “economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy;” in “the poverty that enjoys true wealth.” His literary creed was stoical, like his personal tastes. Reading, in his view, was, or ought to be, “a noble, intellectual exercise.” He did not wish to be lulled asleep; nor would he suffer his life to be taken by newspapers and novels. Perhaps his taste was narrow. He believed in books that call for alertness, books that a man must “stand on tiptoe to read:” books that deal with high themes simply; books “solidly done,” not “cursed with a style.”

I like that and especially the line - books that a man must "stand on tiptoe to read." 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Great things are the aggregate of little’s; great results proceed from little causes. Human life is a succession of unimportant events; only here and there one can be called great in itself. A crushing sorrow, the loss of a fortune, physical and mental suffering, are the exceptions and not the rule of life. Experiences so small as scarcely to leave a trace behind, are the rule, producing in the consummation a life that is noble or ignoble, useful or useless, an honor or a disgrace.
A banker in the city of Paris, France, said to a boy who entered the bank:--
“What now, my son?”
“Want a boy here?” was the answer.
“Not just now,” the banker replied, engaging in further conversation with the lad, whose appearance favorably impressed him.
When the boy went out, the eyes of the banker followed him into the street, where he saw him stoop to pick up a pin and fasten it to the collar of his coat. The act revealed to the banker a quality indispensable to a successful financier; and he called the boy back, gave him a position, and in process of time, he became the most distinguished banker in Paris, Laffitte.” From “Leaders of Men.”