No matter what we have come through, or how many perils we have safely passed, or how many imperfect and jagged – in some places perhaps irreparably – our life has been, we cannot in our heart of hearts imagine how it could have been different. As we look back on it, it slips in behind us in orderly array, and, with all its mistakes, acquires a sort of eternal fitness, and even, at times, of poetic glamour.
A man with few friends is only half-developed; there are whole sides of his nature which are locked up and have never been expressed. He cannot unlock them himself, he cannot even discover them; friends alone can stimulate him and open him.
Diplomacy is a disguised war, in which states seek to gain by barter and intrigue, by the cleverness of arts, the objectives which they would have to gain more clumsily by means of war.
Our real duty is always found running in the direction of our worthiest desires.
We can easily become as much slaves to precaution as we can to fear. Although we can never rivet our fortune so tight as to make it impregnible, we may by our excessive prudence squeeze out of the life that we are guarding so anxiously all the adventurous quality that makes it worth living.
Self-recognition is necessary to know one’s road, but, knowing the road, the price of the mistakes and perils is worth paying. The following of that road will be all the discipline one needs. Discipline does not mean being molded by outside forces, but sticking to one’s road against the forces that would deflect or bury the soul. People speak of finding one.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Robert Thurman American Buddhist Scholar
- Warren Bennis American Management Consultant
- Dero A. Saunders American Journalist
- Elbert Hubbard American Writer
- Shantideva Indian Buddhist Scholar
- Adam Clarke British Methodist Scholar
- Richard Livingstone British Scholar
- C. Northcote Parkinson British Historian
- A. E. Housman British Poet
- Bonaventure Italian Christian Scholar