I cannot teach you the ten principles of service. But a little child and a thief can show you what they are. From the child you can learn three things: He is merry for no particular reason; never for a moment is he idle; when he needs something, he demands it vigorously. The thief can instruct you in seven things: He does his service by night; if he does not finish what he has set out to do, in one night, he devotes the next night to it; he and those who work with him love one another; he risks his life for small gains; what he takes has so little value for him that he gives it up for a very small coin; he endures blows and hardship, and it matters nothing to him; he likes his trade and would not exchange it for any other.
Parents represent the last stand of the amateur. Every other trade and profession has developed standards, has required study and practice and licensing before releasing the students into his work. Only one profession remains untutored and untrained -- the bearing and rearing of our children.
My trade and art is to live.
We talk about a space race. There is a space race down here on the ground. In this race every human being is superpower and the competition no longer stands a chance. Other species are bound to this or that patch of turf, and this planet. We feel bound to no patch of turn on Earth, bound only for the stars. We sacrifice a marsh, a bay, a park, a lake. We sacrifice a sparrow. We trade one countdown for another.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body, and I have said that the body is not more than the soul, and nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is, and whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud, and I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth, and to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times, and there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero, and there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe, and I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes. And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God, for I who am curious about each am not curious about God, (No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death.) I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least, nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself. Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then, in the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropt in the street, and everyone is sign'd by God's name, and I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe'er I go, others will punctually come for ever and ever.
We wake up to find the whole world building competitive trade barriers, just as we found it a few years ago building competitive armaments. We are trying to reduce armaments to preserve the world solvency. We shall have to reduce competitive trade barriers to preserve the world's sanity. As between the two, trade barriers are more destructive than armaments and more threatening to the peace of the world.
Bad news never flows up. The only times I saw anyone struggle to warn his superior of impending trouble… were on those occasions when the superior was sure to find out anyway… When this is multiplied over dozens of departments and hundreds of thousands of employees, the result is a vast conspiracy of self-protection, benign in origin but devastating in effect.
Supported by the authority of all institutions, parenthood has come to amount to little more than a campaign against individuality. Every father and every mother trembles lest an offspring, in act or thought, should be different from his fellows; and the smallest display of uniqueness in a child becomes the signal for the application of drastic measures aimed at stamping out that small fire of noncompliance by which personal distinctness is expressed. In an atmosphere of anxiety, in a climate of apprehension, the parental conspiracy against children is planned.
Moral courage, the courage of one’s convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle – the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.
Why will you take by force what you may obtain by love? Why will you destroy us who supply you with food? What can you get by war?... We are unarmed, and willing to give you what you ask, if you come in friendly manner... I am not so simple as not to know it is better to eat good meat, sleep comfortably, live quietly with my women and children, laugh and be merry with the English, and being their friend, trade for their copper and hatchets, than to run away from them... Take away your guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy, or you may die in the same manner.
Every individual... intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention... By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the owner of capital] intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
Instead of casting away our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree, and, more shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they are prejudices; and the longer they have lasted the more we cherish them. We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason, because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.