Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is in our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man!
The best arguments in favor of marriage and family life are not that they promote happiness and reduce loneliness, though at their best they do these things, but that they create a situation in which facing the truth about ourselves - our self-deceiving, touchy, vain, inflated selves - becomes more difficult to avoid than it is anywhere else.
The sort of marriage where the couple never have a row, cannot bear “unpleasantness,” the sort of family that is endlessly and determinedly “happy” cannot lead to growth, nor any genuine form of “being.” “Being” is about acknowledging one’s pain, and not trying to conceal it from oneself, or inflict it upon others.
Love, hope and joy, fair pleasure’s smiling train, hate fear and grief, the family of pain; these mix’d with art, and to due bounds confin’d, make and maintain the balance of the mind.
Each person is a one time phenomenon, an occurrence that has never been before and will never be again. You have a unique blend of character traits and personality. You are unique in your particular family constellation, born in a specific time of history and in a specific environment. This uniqueness gives you great importance. Only you can accomplish your unique life tasks.
To be honest, to be kind - to earn a little and spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation - above all, on the same grim condition, to keep friends with himself - here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy.
Mankind is a creature of space, a space race living on a planet in orbit around a star, as others are also doing. Mankind is not unique, as he fondly imagines. He is merely a part of the vast interstellar human family bred and nurtured by us through the eons of time on planets in different solar systems throughout the galaxy.
Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy. Between aesthetic and religious rapture there is a family alliance. Art and Religion are means similar states of mind.
The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people - no mere father and mother - as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.
It is one of the ironic and yet pathetic aspects of our competitive life that with each step up the ladder of success, the regimentation of the individual and his family becomes more intense and coercive. The goal of competitive striving is to be allowed to submit to these extractions and find fulfillment only in doing as faithfully as possible what others in one's competitive class are doing
Wine is the source of the greatest evils among communities. It causes diseases, quarrels, seditions, idleness, aversion to labor, and family disorders... It is s species of poison that causes madness. It does not make a man die, but it degrades him into a brute. Men may preserve their health and vigor without wine; with wine they run the risk of ruining their health and losing their morals.
Keep clear of personalities in conversation. Talk of things, objects, thoughts. The smallest minds occupy themselves with persons. Do not needlessly report ill of others. As far as possible, dwell on the good side of human beings. There are family boards where a constant process of depreciating, assigning motives, and cutting up character goes forward. They are not pleasant places. One who is healthy does not wish to dine at a dissecting table. There is evil enough in man, God knows. But it is not the mission of every young man and woman to detail and report it all. Keep the atmosphere as pure as possible, and fragrant with gentleness and charity.