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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


"Simplicity is a state of mind. It dwells in the main intention of our lives. A man is simple when his chief care is the wish to be what he ought to be, that is, honestly and naturally human. And this is neither so easy nor so impossible as one might think. At bottom, it consists in putting our acts and aspirations in accordance with the law of our being, and consequently with the Eternal Intention which willed that we should be at all. Let a flower be a flower, a swallow a swallow, a rock a rock, and let a man be a man, and not a fox, a hare, a hog, or a bird of prey: this is the sum of the whole matter.

Here we are led to formulate the practical ideal of man. Everywhere in life we see certain quantities of matter and energy associated for certain ends. Substances more or less crude are thus transformed and carried to a higher degree of organization. It is not otherwise with the life of man. The human ideal is to transform life into something more excellent than itself. We may compare existence to raw material. What it is, matters less than what is made of it, as the value of a work or art lies in the flowering of the workman's skill. We bring into the world with us different gifts: one has received gold, another granite, a third marble, most us wood or clay. Our talk is to fashion these substances. Everyone knows that the most precious material may be spoiled, and he knows, too, that out of the least costly an immortal work may be shaped. Art is the realization of a permanent idea in an ephemeral form. True life is the realization of the higher virtues, -- justice, love, truth, liberty, moral power, -- in our daily activities, whatever they may be. And this life is possible in social conditions the most diverse, and with natural gifts the most unequal. It is not fortune or personal advantage, but our turning them to account, that constitues the value of life. Fame adds no more than does length of days: quality is the thing" (emphasis added here by the RRR).

The Simple Life by Charles Wagner.

Those of my readers who have read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintainence will recognize that it was Phaedrus' misunderstanding of this concept that led him into madness and the destruction of his personality. Phaedrus missed that quality is one attribute of the Creator, not a god in itself.


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