Instinct gave place temporarily to a system of habits, each one of which became contingent, their convergence of which became contingent, their convergence towards the preservation of society being alone necessary, and this necessity bringing back instinct with it. The necessity of the whole, felt behind the contingency of the parts, is what we call moral obligation in general - it being understood that the parts are contingent in the eyes of society only; to the individual, into whom society inculcates its habits, the part is as necessary as the whole.
With our finite minds we cannot presume to know if there is a Purpose. We sense, however, the presence of something greater than we can comprehend, a force as yet unknown to us - perhaps even to be unknown. So we accept our situation, learn from it, and do the best we can, resting on faith, despair, or cynicism, depending on the individual. Overriding all this must be an obligation - self-imposed or externally impressed - to do the best one can for others, to relieve suffering and to exercise compassion. We are all in this together, for life is a common, not an individual, endeavor.
He who can wait for what he desires takes the course not to be exceedingly grieved if he fails of it; he, on the contrary, who labors after a thing too impatiently thinks the success when it comes is not a recompense equal to all the pains he has been at about it.
I had the opportunity to deliver babies... In each of these numinous moments, I knew that life had meaning; each experience was accompanied by an upwelling of gratitude and humility. These moments, which can be called an experience of the self, or archetype of meaning, are akin to the act of finally seeing the Holy Grail after a long quest... It is through these moments of grace and gratitude that we acquire a sense of meaning and a desire to live a meaningful life. The personal challenge is now.
Your awareness of your self-worth is not a contradiction to the obligation to be humble. Humility is not a lack of awareness of your positive accomplishments and abilities. Only a fool is not aware of what he really is an this is not humility. Humility is the internalized awareness with every fiber of your body that everything, yes everything, you have is not your own. Rather it is a gift from the Almighty who bestowed His kindness on you. The more a person actually feels that what he has is a gift the greater is his humility.
What a noble gift to man are the forests! What a debt of gratitude and admiration we owe to their beauty and their utility! How pleasantly the shadows of the wood fall upon our heads when we turn from the glitter and turmoil of the world of man!
There is no man but for his own interest hath an obligation to be honest. There may; be sometimes temptations to be otherwise; but, all cares cast up, he shall find it the greatest ease, the highest profit, the best pleasure, the most safety, and the noblest fame, to hold the horns of this altar, which in all assays, can in himself protect him.
All times are great exactly in proportion as men feel, profoundly, their indebtedness to something or other... A feeling of immeasurable obligation puts life into a man and fight into him, and joy into him.
A person who utters words, or does acts of admiration, gratitude, or appreciation only on utilitarian grounds becomes a person without admiration, gratitude or appreciation. If utilitarianism has no place for desert, desert has no place for utilitarianism either.
Where is the reward of virtue? and what recompense has nature provided for such important sacrifices as those of life and fortune, which we must often make to it? O sons of earth! Are ye ignorant of the value of this celestial mistress? And do ye meanly inquire for her portion, when ye observe her genuine beauty?