Being patient and peaceful in the midst of adversity can often be Great Virtues. Being passive in the face of anything is, more often than not, merely a vice.
I still have no idea what man may yet best me at something. But I always know that man who will never best me at anything – the man who does not try.
Emotions are fine things if they lead to useful improvements in a man’s circumstances (beneficial insights, sustained advancement, heroic self-sacrifice, workable solutions and cures), but emotions that merely lead to more emotions and to self-absorption are worse than useless, they are actually detrimental to human progress.
Modern man is almost wholly absorbed in the latter view of his own emotions. Therefore he constantly wallows in his own anger, fear, hatred, and loss of self-discipline and self-control. He is in constant self-generated despair about both the things he could easily control about himself and the world but won’t bother to, and the things he could never control but “feels” he must.
Yet it never occurs to modern man that he is absorbed in this hyper-emotional outlook upon himself and the rest of the world merely because he chooses it to be so. Many far wiser people throughout the history of the world have had far different views upon the role emotions should play in living their lives.
Emotions are merely camouflaged vices when they overmaster the man.
I would venture to say that most of the diseases and disorders (especially the chronic ones) faced by modern man develop as a direct result of his mostly self-inflicted sedentary and passive nature. He is sedentary and passive in his work, he is sedentary and passive in his entertainments, he is sedentary and passive in his ambitions, he is sedentary and passive towards evil and injustice in the world, he is sedentary and passive in the amount of tyranny he will endure, he is sedentary and passive in his economic ventures, he is sedentary and passive in his relations with others, and he is sedentary and passive in his very nature.
Modern man is filled with the sitting and waiting diseases. He is mainly merely an observer of life, sitting upon his plump ass in his comfortable cafes, staring at his various diversionary devices and inventions, waiting for something to happen. Of course everything that is really happening around him he is entirely unobservant of and uninvolved with.
How could such a way of life, practiced continually, breed anything but disease and disorder?
It readily occurs to modern man to automatically doubt everything and everyone at all times, except of course, his own doubts at any time.
If I am ever self-obsessed
How then may I be true-possessed
By Virtues greater than myself
By powers grand, and high, and blessed?
If I am by my vices bound
How then may I my real depths sound
Or motive out what I have found
Within my soul before it drowns?
If I am timid, small, and weak
What greater thing may I then seek
What in me that is unique
That does not of the craven reek?
If I am hapless, dim, and dumb
What of depth may I then plumb
Naïve or stupid I succumb
To all that ever ill-becomes,
If I am slothful, lazy, sad
If I am wrathful, greedy, mad
If taken less than all I add
What do I gain that makes me glad?
For though I am but mortal man
I hope that you will understand
I’ll be no less than what I can
Though Stranger in the Strange, Strange Land.
Who knows what a man may become?
But one thing he will never become. What he never attempts.