Think for thyself one good idea, but known to be thine own, is better than a thousand gleaned from fields by others sown.
One must try to make one's life as pleasant as possible. I'm alive and it's not my fault, which means I must somehow go on living the best I can, without bothering anybody, until I die.''But what makes you live? With such thoughts, you'll sit without moving, without undertaking anything...''Life won't leave one alone as it is.
If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe -no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside us as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that's just what we do find inside us.
Such is the common process of marriage. A youth and maiden exchange meeting by chance, or brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home, and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention, or diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty.
Insist on yourself never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession... Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.
One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.