Menticulture - See Life As It Is, If You Would Be Serene And Sane
( Originally Published 1901 )
PROFESSOR OF ETHICS, LELAND STANFORD, JR., UNIVERSITY, EDWARD HOWARD GRIGGS
Anger and worry are wasteful and destructive of life. Dante represents the souls of the angry as immersed in a river of black mud; and just so is the inner life beclouded and befouled by anger. One who sees life steadily will not worry; for he knows if he be true, even the evil that comes to him may be his teacher, and he realizes that in all the wide universe there is nothing which can cause him fear.
Anger and worry always result from a failure to see life in true perspective. In our hurried lives great things and small force themselves upon us and seem of equal importance. Thus, if we would avoid anger and worry, we need, above all things, to attain that serenity and sanity of mind which will enable us to see life as it is. We need some little time each day to be alone and think quietly time when the world can drop away from our vision and we can understand ourselves. As Wordsworth expresses it
" Every day should have some part Free for a Sabbath of the heart."
All contemplation of the beautiful, whether in art or in the infinitely varied face of nature, helps us to this sanity of spirit. The chief value of noble poetry lies in its power to lift us out of the narrow and monotonous round of daily work and worry into the presence of that which partakes of eternity. One might say, half paradoxically, that the only way to live well in time is to live in the presence of eternity.
If to this serenity of spirit we can add a constant devotion, at least of the margin of our lives, to some large objective aim, to culture, to the service of humanity, and particularly to the service of those whose lives touch ours most closely, we shall be in little danger of falling victims to anger and worry and the discordant hosts they lead.