Contempt of all outward things that come in competition with duty fulfills the ideal of human greatness. It is sanctioned by conscience, that universal and eternal lawgiver, whose chief principle is, that everything must be yielded up for right.
It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.
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When the taste is purified, the morals are not easily corrupted. Whatever injures the body, the morals, or the mind, will lessen or vitiate taste; thus, disorders of the body and violent passions of the mind, will do this, and so will also excessive care or covetousness; but above all, a habit of intemperance, and keeping low company will greatly deprave that which was once a good taste.
Prejudice, like the spider, makes everywhere its home. It has neither taste nor choice of place, and all that it requires is room. If the one prepares her food by poisoning it to her palate and her use, the other does the same. Prejudice may be denominated the spider of the mind.
True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste.
The desire to serve others is the highest impulse of the human heart and the rewards of such service are beyond measure. If you wish to taste this, then just do it. Just take one step... You will see that the tyranny of self-concern, worry, and trivial pursuits can be released from your life with that single step. It doesn't really matter what you do, it only matters that you do it.
What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish. This is bad for everyone; the majority lose all genuine taste of their own, and the minority become cultural snobs.