Go placidly


Poems / Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

by Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

8 Replies to “Go placidly”

  1. >remember what peace there may be in silence

    There is no peace in silence- the silence of the lambs. But there is peace in silence- the silence of the grave. Therefore, let us work for world peace.

    >Avoid loud and aggressive persons

    Too late. You’re friends with me.

    >Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

    Good move.

    >Be yourself.

    Ah, but who are you. This is so easy to say. Typical preachy nonsense. Nothing useful.

    >Take kindly the counsel of the years,

    Terry Pratchett: “Inside every old person, there’s a young person wondering what happened.”

    >You are a child of the universe,

    Ok. Statement of fact. That’s cool. But the universe is a cold, vast lonely place that will kill you in all but a vanishingly small scrap of it.

    >Therefore be at peace with God,

    It is not possible to make peace with something that doesn’t exist.

    >With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

    Only for those who haven’t been destroyed by the sham, drudgery and broken dreams. As that cataract-blinded old woman begging in the station how beautiful this world is.

    I know I shouldn’t react, but I am enraged at the wilful blindness and the maliciousness of nonsense like this.

  2. >remember what peace there may be in silenceThere is no peace in silence- the silence of the lambs. But there is peace in silence- the silence of the grave. Therefore, let us work for world peace.>Avoid loud and aggressive personsToo late. You’re friends with me.>Keep interested in your own career, however humble;Good move. >Be yourself.Ah, but who are you. This is so easy to say. Typical preachy nonsense. Nothing useful.>Take kindly the counsel of the years,Terry Pratchett: “Inside every old person, there’s a young person wondering what happened.”>You are a child of the universe,Ok. Statement of fact. That’s cool. But the universe is a cold, vast lonely place that will kill you in all but a vanishingly small scrap of it.>Therefore be at peace with God,It is not possible to make peace with something that doesn’t exist.>With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.Only for those who haven’t been destroyed by the sham, drudgery and broken dreams. As that cataract-blinded old woman begging in the station how beautiful this world is. I know I shouldn’t react, but I am enraged at the wilful blindness and the maliciousness of nonsense like this.

  3. Do you suppose there’s anyone who values lack of integrity, cheapness, dishonesty and viciousness? I don’t think so. Most of our values are similar…just a matter of how we interpret those in real life and where we are willing to compromise then.

    By the way your answer surprised me, because, of all things, I didn’t expect you to think that I didn’t value these things.

    But you’re entitled to your opinion, I guess.

  4. Do you suppose there’s anyone who values lack of integrity, cheapness, dishonesty and viciousness? I don’t think so. Most of our values are similar…just a matter of how we interpret those in real life and where we are willing to compromise then.By the way your answer surprised me, because, of all things, I didn’t expect you to think that I didn’t value these things.But you’re entitled to your opinion, I guess.

  5. i guess, i didnt express my thoughts clearly – its not that you dont value these things – most of us value the same things – when i say our values are different – the importance(hence ‘value’) one person gives to being a nice person will be different from the importance another person gives to being nice – maybe this person values being straightforward more than being nice..thats point 1.

    point 2 is our operating systems (ie the way we operate :-)) are not really compatible) – i am the quite shy introverted person – you are the ‘party hard’ ‘life of the party’ kinds 😉

    isn’t this too lengthy a discussion about nothing in particular?

  6. i guess, i didnt express my thoughts clearly – its not that you dont value these things – most of us value the same things – when i say our values are different – the importance(hence ‘value’) one person gives to being a nice person will be different from the importance another person gives to being nice – maybe this person values being straightforward more than being nice..thats point 1.point 2 is our operating systems (ie the way we operate :-)) are not really compatible) – i am the quite shy introverted person – you are the ‘party hard’ ‘life of the party’ kinds ;-)isn’t this too lengthy a discussion about nothing in particular?

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