So different are the colours of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past and so different the opinions and sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side.
So if it seems that some of what I'll have to say in the pages to come doesn't reflect the mellowing of age, that's only because I've never found that life and memories respond to time the way that tobacco does.
So long as faith with freedom reigns
So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to the master -- so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner, may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil -- so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best-regulated administration of slavery.
So. The time has come for me to get my kite flying, stretch out in the sun, kick off my shoes, and speak my piece. 'The days of struggle are over,' I should be able to say. 'I can look back now and tell myself I don't have a single regret.' But I do. Many years ago a very wise man named Bernard Baruch took me aside and put his arm around my shoulder. 'Harpo, my boy,' he said, 'I'm going to give you three pieces of advice, three things you should always remember.' My heart jumped and I glowed with expectation. I was going to hear the magic password to a rich, full life from the master himself. 'Yes, sir' I said. And he told me the three things. I regret that I've forgotten what they were.
Society expects man to be a passive social animal who believes like the People of the Field in "Jurgen" that "to do what you always have done" and "what is expected of you" are the twin rules of life. This, is course, is not true. The wanton crucifixion of impulses, the unnecessary blocking and frustration of the drives and urges, are an evil that reflects itself in sophistication, ennui and boredom, dissatisfaction, melancholy, fatigue, anxiety and neurosis.
Some take a few seconds to understand the values of life and some take the entire values to understand the seconds of life. But, a large group people stranded in between these two poles just keep groping to understand or appreciate the human values and precious seconds of beautiful life.
Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.