Among all ennobling forces hardly any other can be named so strong as an inmost friendship. As the special culture which the winning of our Likers gives is that of quick, wide, kindliness, the special culture which the winning of our Lovers gives is that of purity, sincerity, humility, selflessness, and the high standard for all honourable qualities. That says it — the high standard for all honourable qualities: to win and hold a friend we are compelled to keep ourselves at his ideal point, and in turn our love makes on him the same appeal. Each insists on his right in the other to an ideal. All around the circle of our best beloved it is this idealizing that gives to love its beauty and its pain and its mighty leverage on character. Its besauty, because that idealizing is the secret of love's glow. Its pain, because that idealizing makes the constant peril of love's vanishing. Its leverage to uplift character, because this same idealizing is a constant challenge between every two, compelling each to be his best.
— William Channing Gannett (born March 13, 1840)
From The House Beautiful
Still one thing remains to furnish the House Beautiful, the most important thing of all, without which guests and books and flowers and pictures and harmonies of colour only emphasize the fact that the house is not a home. I mean the warm light in the rooms that comes from kind eyes, from quick unconscious smiles, from gentleness in tones, from little unpremeditated caresses of manner, from habits of forethoughtfulness for one another, — all that happy illumination which, in the inside of a house, corresponds to morning sunlight outside falling on quiet dewy fields. It is an atmosphere really generated of many self-controls, of much forbearance, of training in self-sacrifice; but by the time it reaches instinctive expression, these stern generators of it are hidden in the radiance resulting. It is like a constant love-song without words, whose meaning is, ‘We are glad that we are alive together.’ It is a low pervading music, felt, not heard, which begins each day with the ‘good morning,’ and only ends in the dream-drowse beyond ‘good night.’ It is cheer; it is peace; it is trust; it is delight; it is all these for, and all these in, each other.
— William Channing Gannett (born March 13, 1840)
The History of Philosophy
The history of philosophy enjoys, in some measure, the advantages both of civil and natural history, whereby it is relieved from what is most tedious and disgusting in both. Philosophy exhibits the powers of nature, discovered and directed by human art. It has, therefore, in some measure, the boundless variety with the amazing uniformity of the one, and likewise every thing that is pleasing and interesting in the other. And the idea of continual rise and improvement is conspicuous in the whole study, whether we be attentive to the part which nature, or that which men are acting in the great scene.
It is here that we see the human understanding to its greatest advantage, grasping at the noblest objects, and increasing its own powers, by acquiring to itself the powers of nature, and directing them to the accomplishment of its own views; whereby the security, and happiness of mankind are daily improved. Human abilities are chiefly conspicuous in adapting means to ends, and in deducing one thing from another by the method of analogy; and where may we find instances of greater sagacity, than in philosophers diversifying the situations of things, in order to give them an opportunity of showing their mutual relations, affections, and influences; deducing one truth and one discovery from another, and applying them all to the useful purposes of human life.
If the exertion of human abilities, which cannot but form a delightful spectacle for the human imagination, give us pleasure, we enjoy it here in a higher degree than while we are contemplating the schemes of warriors, and the stratagems of their bloody art.
— Joseph Priestley (born March 13, 1733)
From Why I Am an Agnostic
I am an agnostic as to the question of God. I think that it is impossible for the human mind to believe in an object or thing unless it can form a mental picture of such object or thing. Since man ceased to worship openly an anthropomorphic God and talked vaguely and not intelligently about some force in the universe, higher than man, that is responsible for the existence of man and the universe, he cannot be said to believe in God. One cannot believe in a force excepting as a force that pervades matter and is not an individual entity. To believe in a thing, an image of the thing must be stamped on the mind. If one is asked if he believes in such an animal as a camel, there immediately arises in his mind an image of the camel. This image has come from experience or knowledge of the animal gathered in some way or other. No such image comes, or can come, with the idea of a God who is described as a force.
— Clarence Darrow (died March 13, 1938)
|William Channing Gannett (1840-1923)|