Application and Perseverance
The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means, and the exercise of ordinary qualities. The common life of every day, affords ample opportunities for acquiring experience of the best kind.
Fortune has often been blamed for her blindness. Those who look into practical life will find that fortune is usually on the side of the industrious, as the winds and waves are on the side of the best navigators. In the pursuit of even the highest branches of human inquiry, the commoner qualities are found the most useful,such as common sense, attention, application, and perseverance.
Genius may not be necessary, though even genius of the highest sort does not disdain the use of these ordinary qualities. The very greatest men have been among the least believers in the power of genius, and as worldly wise and persevering as successful men of the commoner sort. Some have even defined genius to be only common sense intensified. A distinguished teacher and president of a college spoke of it as the power of making ef forts. John Foster held it to be the power of lighting one's own fire.
Newton's was unquestionably a mind of the very highest order, and yet, when asked by what means he had worked out his extraordinary discoveries, he modestly answered, "By always thinking unto them." At another time he thus expressed his method of study: "I keep the subject continually before me, and wait till the first dawning open slowly by little and little into a full and clear light." It was in Newton's case, as in every other,only by diligent application and perseverance that his great reputation was achieved.
无可争议，牛顿的头脑是最高才智的头脑，但当我们问及他是通过什么方法取得了如此重大的发现时，他非常谦虚地答道：“全靠对那些问题不断地深思。“另一次，他这样表述他的研究方法：“我从未停止探索的脚步，当我看到第一缕曙光后，坚定的信念支 持着我最终看到了清晰的世界。“正是通过勤奋和实践，牛顿才最 终获得了不朽的名誉和伟大的成就。
Dalton,the chemist,repudiated the notion of his being "a genius," attributing everything which he had accomplished to simple industry and accumulation. John Hunter said of himself, "My mind is like a beehives; but full as it is of buzz and apparent confusion, it is yet full of order and regularity, and food collected with incessant industry from the choice set stores of nature. "
英国化学家道尔顿对世人称他为“天才“的做法进行了批判。 他认为自己之所以能获得成功完全凭借自身的不懈努力和对知识的不断积累。约翰•亨特也曾说过：“我的思想如同一个蜂箱，常常嗡嗡作响，甚至还会出现混乱，但通过不懈的努力，嗡嗡声已经消失了，蜜蜂们也都恢复了正常的秩序，而且还学会了如何从大自 然的宝库中寻找食物。“
We have, indeed, but to glance at the biographies of great men to find that the most distinguished inventors, artists, thinkers, and workers of all kinds, owe their success, in a great measure, to their indefatigable industry and application.
Pleasure is a freedom song, but it is not freedom. It is the blossoming of your desires; but it is not their fruit, it is a depth calling unto a height; but it is not the deep nor the high, it is the caged taking wing; but it is not space encompassed. Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom song. And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.
Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it was all, and they are judged and rebuked. I would not judge nor rebuke them. I would have them seek, for they shall find pleasure, but not her alone;seven are her sisters, and the least of them is more beautiful than pleasure. Have you not heard of the man who was digging in the earth for roots and found a treasure?
And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness. But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement. They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they would the harvest of a summer. Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted.
And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember; and in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.
But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.
And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quivering hands.
But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?
Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night,or the firefly the stars? And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?
Think you the spirit is a still pool which you can trouble with a staff? Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
Who knows but that which seem omitted today, waits for tomorrow? Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul, and it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.
And now you ask in your heart, "How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?" Go to your fields and your gardens and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower, but it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee, for to the bee a flower is a fountain of life, and to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, and to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
The Strenuous Life
A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as an individual.
We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious efforts, the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past. A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose. If the freedom thus purchased is used aright, and the man still does actual work, though of a different kind, whether as a writer or a general, whether in the field of politics or in the field of exploration and adventure, he shows he deserves his good fortune.
But if he treats this period of freedom from the need of actual labor as a period, not of preparation, but of mere enjoyment, even though perhaps not of vicious enjoyment, he shows that he is simply a cucumber on the earth's surface; and he surely unfits himself to hold his own place with his fellows, if the need to do so should again arise. A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world.
As it is with the individual, so it is with the nation. It is a base untruth to say that happy is the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Begin each day by telling yourself: I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence,disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness 一 all of them due to the offenders' ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the evildoer himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow-creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man's two hands, feet, or eyelids, or like the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Natures law 一 and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction...
Men seek for seclusion in the wilderness, by the seashore, or in the mountains — a dream you have cherished only too fondly yourself. But such fancies are wholly unworthy of a philosopher, since at any moment you choose you can retire within yourself. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul... avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself. Make your rules of life brief, yet so as to embrace the fundamentals;recurrence to them will then suffice to remove all vexation, and send you back without fretting to the duties to which you must return...
At day's first light have in readiness, against disinclination to leave your bed, the thought that"I am rising for the work of man." Must I grumble at setting out to do what I was born for, and for the sake of which I have been brought into the world? Is this the purpose of my creation, to lie here under the blankets and keep myself warm? "ah, but it is a great deal more pleasant!" was it for pleasure, then, that you were born, and not for work, not for effort? Look at the plants, the sparrows, ants, spiders, bees, all busy at their own tasks, each doing his part towards a coherent world-order; and will you refuse man's share of the work, instead of being prompt to carry out Nature's bidding?