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A talent somewhat above mediocrity, shrewd and not too sensitive, is more likely to rise in the world than genius.
When one has come to accept a certain course as duty he has a pleasant sense of relief and of lifted responsibility, even if the course involves pain and renunciation. It is like obedience to some external authority; any clear way, though it lead to death, is mentally preferable to the tangle of uncertainty.
A strange and somewhat impassive physiognomy is often, perhaps, an advantage to an orator, or leader of any sort, because it helps to fix the eye and fascinate the mind.
Each man must have his I; it is more necessary to him than bread; and if he does not find scope for it within the existing institutions he will be likely to make trouble.
It is surely a matter of common observation that a man who knows no one thing intimately has no views worth hearing on things in general. The farmer philosophizes in terms of crops, soils, markets, and implements, the mechanic generalizes his experiences of wood and iron, the seaman reaches similar conclusions by his own special road; and if the scholar keeps pace with these it must be by an equally virile productivity.
No matter what a man does, he is not fully sane or human unless there is a spirit of freedom in him, a soul unconfined by purpose and larger than the practicable world.
One who shows signs of mental aberration is, inevitably, perhaps, but cruelly, shut off from familiar, thoughtless intercourse, partly excommunicated; his isolation is unwittingly proclaimed to him on every countenance by curiosity, indifference, aversion, or pity, and in so far as he is human enough to need free and equal communication and feel the lack of it, he suffers pain and loss of a kind and degree which others can only faintly imagine, and for the most part ignore.
There is no way to penetrate the surface of life but by attacking it earnestly at a particular point.
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