Life & Work
April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
Life is a battle, and to fight that battle heroically and well is the great purpose of every man’s existence, who is worthy and fit to live at all.
To stem the strong currents of adversity, to advance in despite of all obstacles, to snatch victory from the jealous grasp of fortune, to become a chief and a leader among men, to rise to rank and power by eloquence, courage, perseverance, study, energy, activity, discouraged by no reverses, impatient of no delays, deterred by no hazards; to win wealth, to subjugate men by our intellect, the very elements by our audacity, to succeed, to prosper, to thrive; – thus it is, according to the general understanding, that one fights well the battle of life.
Even to succeed in business by that boldness which halts for no risks, that [grit] which stakes all upon hazardous chances; by the shrewdness of the close dealer, the boldness of the unscrupulous operator, even by the knaveries of the stock-board and the gold-room; to crawl up into place by disreputable means or the votes of brutal ignorance, – these also are deemed to be among the great successes of life.
But that which is the greatest battle, and in which the truest honor and most real success are to be won, is that which our intellect and reason and moral sense, our spiritual natures, fight against our sensual appetites and evil passions, our earthly and material or animal nature. Therein only are the true glories of heroism to be won, there only the successes that entitle us to triumphs.
In every human life that battle is fought; and those who win…often suffer ignominious defeat and disastrous rout, and discomfiture and shameful downfall in this encounter.
~ from The Sublime Prince of The Royal Secret (1871) ~