People are born infinitely capable of living; of life. This capacity is cut back and whittled away steadily until there is nothing left but to die. People who say “It isn’t the end of the world; don’t worry” are like those who waste fresh water in a desert: life is valuable. When a relative dies, or the job goes to someone else, a small world, a potential way of life is closed.
The same people will often say “Don’t worry, it’s all for the best.” What a pathetic statement! It debases all human effort to make conditions better for living and makes a mockery of the individuals who have striven so hard for an unattainable ideal, yet who feel they have failed – it’s like making do with Eric Robinson, unaware and hardly caring that Bach is just around the corner. Of course, looking back, we will always agree that our lives have taken the best course; this is because our emotional stabilisers, which help us to adapt to wartime conditions and earthquakes, will always enable us to like best the way of life which we know. Placid acceptance is a dreadful abuse of one’s potential and one which is frequently misinterpreted as Christian forbearance. Christ didn’t lie down and die without a murmur, nor did he find suffering noble: in Gethsemane he begged for the cup to be taken away from him.
Things are worth taking care over; things are worth doing well. It doesn’t matter if one falls short of a very high target. Easy emotions and works of art created easily are worth little, for the pursuit of excellence necessarily involves a struggle. Everyone struggles from time to time in their lives, but it is the quality of their struggle which decides their relative greatness. Reaching towards the excellent is reaching towards God. The man on the crowded bus who is utterly absorbed in a book is reaching further than the histrionic ‘creative’ artist, mindful all the while of his audience ratings.
One of the greatest drawbacks for most people is the fact that they have no Sistine Chapel or 5th Symphony in which to fulfil themselves. Everyone has a unique potential – that of their capacity to live. “Know thyself,” can surely be a lifelong struggle but only with self-knowledge can one fulfil one’s own potential. Beauty is the reflection of a beautiful mind. The more refined is one’s self-awareness, knowledge, and self-respect, the closer one is approaching an appreciation of and oneness with one’s living force: God.
28 June 1971
- Mrs.Thomas’s talk – July 15th, 1970
- Roger Gardner’s death
- Mrs.Huntington’s death
- Refusal at Cambridge, Dec.1970 & A-levels
- Lillian Board’s death, Dec.26 1970
- Virginia Wade beaten 4thround of Wimbledon
- J.Y.M. conference
- Moulins Cathedral and Jacqueline DuPre records