Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Commonplace Book 2

Here are three quotations from Robert Louis Stevenson's fine essay "Crabbed Age and Youth." It it Stevenson argues that the old need not look down on the young, nor should one regret one's own past folly too much. Likewise the young should not be afraid to think and act, even wrongly, due to their inexperience.

"Doubtless the world is quite right in a million ways; but you have to be kicked about a little to convince you of the fact. And in the meanwhile you must do something, be something, believe something. It is not possible to keep the mind in a state of accurate balance and blank; and even if you could do so, instead of coming ultimately to the right conclusion, you would be very apt to remain in a state of balance and blank to perpetuity. Even in quite intermediate stages, a dash of enthusiasm is not a thing to be ashamed of in the retrospect: if St. Paul had not been a very zealous Pharisee, he would have been a colder Christian."

"When the torrent sweeps the man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory."

"If we are indeed here to perfect and complete our own natures, and grow larger, stronger, and more sympathetic against some nobler career in the future, we had all best bestir ourselves to the utmost while we have the time. To equip a dull, respectable person with wings would be but to make a parody of an angel."

3 comments:

The Hippo said...

Hmmm...Yes...Big Gulps hu?

Jennifer said...

That was quite beautiful. I fear that I fall into the category of hating my past. And I include everything up to yesterday. Strike that: up to this morning, even. I got me some problems, bro.

David Grover said...

I have that same problem.