Courage is always greatest when blended with meekness; intellectual ability is most admirable when it sparkles in the setting of a modest self-distrust; and never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury.
All that a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectually, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly. Intellectual force is a principal element of the soul’s life, and should be proposed by every man as the principal end of his being.
We do not need more national development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character... We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.
It is a welcome symptom in an age which is commonly denounced as materialistic, that it makes heroes of men whose goals lie wholly in the intellectual and moral sphere. This proves that knowledge and justice are ranked above wealth and power by a large section of the human race.
Only those who know the supremacy of the intellectual life - the life which has a seed of ennobling thought and purpose within it - can understand the grief of one who falls from the serene activity into the absorbing soul wasting struggle.
Philosophers have very justly remarked that the only solid instruction is that which the pupil brings from his own depths; that the true instruction is not that which transmits notions wholly formed, but that which renders him capable of forming for himself good opinions. That which they have said in regard to the intellectual faculties applies equally to the moral faculties. There is for the soul a spontaneous culture, on which depends all the real progress in perfection.
When we have something for a long time we usually take it for granted. From the day we were born we have breathed air and seen sunlight and the beauty of nature. We have had sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch for such a long time we have lost our appreciation for them. We take our daily pleasures and our intellectual attainments for granted.
Two principles govern the moral and intellectual world. One is perpetual progress, the other the necessary limitations to that progress. If the former alone prevailed, there would be nothing steadfast and durable on earth, and the whole of social life would be the sport of winds and waves. If the alter had exclusive sway, or even if it obtained a mischievous preponderancy, every thing would petrify or rot. The best ages of the world are those in which these two principles are the most equally balanced. In such ages every enlightened man ought to adopt both principles, and with one hand develop what he can, with the other restrain and uphold what he ought.
We settle things by a majority vote, and the psychological effect of doing that is to create the impression that the majority is probably right. Of course, on any fine issue the majority is sure to be wrong. Think of taking a majority vote on the best music. Jazz would win over Chopin. Or on the best novel. Many cheap scribblers would win over Tolstoy. And any day a prizefight will get a bigger crowd, larger gate receipts and wider newspaper publicity than any new revelation of goodness, truth or beauty could hope to achieve in a century.