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PREFACE TO THIS EDITION

This preface, though placed at the begiig, as a preface !ust


be,
should be read at the ed of the boo"#
I ha$e recei$ed a large a!out of correspodece cocerig this
s!all %or", ad !a& re$ie%s of it''so!e of the! earl& as log
as the boo" itself''ha$e bee prited# (ut scarcel& a& of the
co!!et has bee ad$erse# So!e people ha$e ob)ected to a
fri$olit& of toe* but as the toe is ot, i !& opiio, at all
fri$olous, this ob)ectio did ot i!press !e* ad had o %eightier
reproach bee put for%ard I !ight al!ost ha$e bee persuaded
that
the $olu!e %as +a%less, A !ore serious stricture has, ho%e$er,
bee o-ered''ot i the press, but b& sudr& ob$iousl& sicere
correspodets''ad I !ust deal %ith it# A referece to page ./
%ill sho% that I aticipated ad feared this disapprobatio# The
setece agaist %hich protests ha$e bee !ade is as follo%s0''
1I the !a)orit& of istaces he 2the t&pical !a3 does ot
precisel& feel a passio for his busiess* at best he does ot disli"e
it# He begis his busiess fuctios %ith so!e reluctace, as late
as he ca, ad he eds the! %ith )o&, as earl& as he ca# Ad his
egies, %hile he is egaged i his busiess, are seldo! at their
full 4h#p#41
I a! assured, i accets of u!ista"able sicerit&, that there are
!a& busiess !e''ot !erel& those i high positios or %ith 5e
prospects, but !odest subordiates %ith o hope of e$er beig
!uch better o-''%ho do e)o& their busiess fuctios, %ho do ot
shir" the!, %ho do ot arri$e at the o6ce as late as possible ad
depart as earl& as possible, %ho, i a %ord, put the %hole of their
force ito their da&4s %or" ad are geuiel& fatigued at the ed
thereof#
I a! read& to belie$e it# I do belie$e it# I "o% it# I al%a&s "e%
it# (oth i 7odo ad i the pro$ices it has bee !& lot to sped
log &ears i subordiate situatios of busiess* ad the fact did
ot escape !e that a certai proportio of !& peers sho%ed %hat
a!outed to a hoest passio for their duties, ad that %hile
egaged i those duties the& %ere reall& 8li$ig8 to the fullest
e9tet of %hich the& %ere capable# (ut I re!ai co$iced that
these fortuate ad happ& idi$iduals :happier perhaps tha the&
guessed; did ot ad do ot costitute a !a)orit&, or a&thig li"e
a !a)orit&# I re!ai co$iced that the !a)orit& of decet a$erage
coscietious !e of busiess :!e %ith aspiratios ad ideals; do
ot as a rule go ho!e of a ight geuiel& tired# I re!ai
co$iced that the& put ot as !uch but as little of the!sel$es as
the& coscietiousl& ca ito the earig of a li$elihood, ad that
their $ocatio bores rather tha iterests the!#
Ne$ertheless, I ad!it that the !iorit& is of su6ciet i!portace
to !erit attetio, ad that I ought ot to ha$e igored it so
co!pletel& as I did do# The %hole di6cult& of the hard'%or"ig
!iorit& %as put i a sigle collo<uial setece b& oe of !&
correspodets# He %rote0 1I a! )ust as "ee as a&oe o doig
so!ethig to 4e9ceed !& progra!!e,4 but allo% !e to tell &ou that
%he I get ho!e at si9 thirt& p#!# I a! ot a&thig li"e so fresh
as &ou see! to i!agie#1
No% I !ust poit out that the case of the !iorit&, %ho thro%
the!sel$es %ith passio ad gusto ito their dail& busiess tas", is
i5itel& less deplorable tha the case of the !a)orit&, %ho go
half'heartedl& ad feebl& through their o6cial da&# The for!er are
less i eed of ad$ice 1ho% to li$e#1 At a& rate durig their
o6cial da& of, sa&, eight hours the& are reall& ali$e* their egies
are gi$ig the full idicated 1h#p#1 The other eight %or"ig hours
of their da& !a& be badl& orgaised, or e$e frittered a%a&* but it
is less disastrous to %aste eight hours a da& tha si9tee hours a
da&* it is better to ha$e li$ed a bit tha e$er to ha$e li$ed at all#
The real traged& is the traged& of the !a %ho is braced to e-ort
either i the o6ce or out of it, ad to this !a this boo" is
pri!aril& addressed# 1(ut,1 sa&s the other ad !ore fortuate
!a,
1although !& ordiar& progra!!e is bigger tha his, I %at to
e9ceed !& progra!!e too, I a! li$ig a bit* I %at to li$e !ore#
(ut I reall& ca4t do aother da&4s %or" o the top of !& o6cial
da&#1
The fact is, I, the author, ought to ha$e foresee that I should
1
appeal !ost strogl& to those %ho alread& had a iterest i
e9istece# It is al%a&s the !a %ho has tasted life %ho de!ads
!ore of it# Ad it is al%a&s the !a %ho e$er gets out of bed
%ho is the !ost di6cult to rouse#
=ell, &ou of the !iorit&, let us assu!e that the itesit& of &our
dail& !oe&'gettig %ill ot allo% &ou to carr& out <uite all the
suggestios i the follo%ig pages# So!e of the suggestios !a&
&et stad# I ad!it that &ou !a& ot be able to use the ti!e spet
o the )oure& ho!e at ight* but the suggestio for the )oure& to
the o6ce i the !orig is as practicable for &ou as for a&bod&#
Ad that %ee"l& iter$al of fort& hours, fro! Saturda& to >oda&,
is &ours )ust as !uch as the other !a4s, though a slight
accu!ulatio of fatigue !a& pre$et &ou fro! e!plo&ig the
%hole of &our 1h#p#1 upo it# There re!ais, the, the i!portat
portio of the three or !ore e$eigs a %ee"# ?ou tell !e +atl&
that &ou are too tired to do a&thig outside &our progra!!e at
ight# I repl& to %hich I tell &ou +atl& that if &our ordiar& da&4s
%or" is thus e9haustig, the the balace of &our life is %rog ad
!ust be ad)usted# A !a4s po%ers ought ot to be !oopolised b&
his ordiar& da&4s %or"# =hat, the, is to be doe@
The ob$ious thig to do is to circu!$et &our ardour for &our
ordiar& da&4s %or" b& a ruse# E!plo& &our egies i so!ethig
be&od the progra!!e before, ad ot after, &ou e!plo& the! o
the progra!!e itself# (rie+&, get up earlier i the !orig# ?ou
sa& &ou caot# ?ou sa& it is i!possible for &ou to go earlier to
bed of a ight''to do so %ould upset the etire household# I do ot
thi" it is <uite i!possible to go to bed earlier at ight# I thi" that
if &ou persist i risig earlier, ad the cose<uece is isu6ciec&
of sleep, &ou %ill soo 5d a %a& of goig to bed earlier# (ut !&
i!pressio is that the cose<ueces of risig earlier %ill ot be a
isu6ciec& of sleep# >& i!pressio, gro%ig stroger e$er&
&ear, is that sleep is partl& a !atter of habit''ad of slac"ess# I
a!
co$iced that !ost people sleep as log as the& do because the&
are at a loss for a& other di$ersio# Ho% !uch sleep do &ou thi"
is dail& obtaied b& the po%erful health& !a %ho dail& rattles up
&our street i charge of Carter Patterso4s $a@ I ha$e cosulted a
doctor o this poit# He is a doctor %ho for t%et&'four &ears has
had a large geeral practice i a large +ourishig suburb of
7odo, ihabited b& e9actl& such people as &ou ad !e# He is a
curt !a, ad his as%er %as curt0
1>ost people sleep the!sel$es stupid#1
He %et o to gi$e his opiio that ie !e out of te %ould ha$e
better health ad !ore fu out of life if the& spet less ti!e i bed#
Other doctors ha$e co5r!ed this )udg!et, %hich, of course,
does
ot appl& to gro%ig &ouths#
Rise a hour, a hour ad a half, or e$e t%o hours earlier* ad''if
&ou !ust''retire earlier %he &ou ca# I the !atter of e9ceedig
progra!!es, &ou %ill acco!plish as !uch i oe !orig hour as
i t%o e$eig hours# 1(ut,1 &ou sa&, 1I could4t begi %ithout
so!e food, ad ser$ats#1 Surel&, !& dear sir, i a age %he a
e9cellet spirit'la!p :icludig a saucepa; ca be bought for less
tha a shillig, &ou are ot goig to allo% &our highest %elfare to
deped upo the precarious i!!ediate co'operatio of a fello%
creature, Istruct the fello% creature, %hoe$er she !a& be, at
ight# Tell her to put a tra& i a suitable positio o$er ight# O
that tra& t%o biscuits, a cup ad saucer, a bo9 of !atches ad a
spirit'la!p* o the la!p, the saucepa* o the saucepa, the lid''
but tured the %rog %a& up* o the re$ersed lid, the s!all teapot,
cotaiig a !iute <uatit& of tea lea$es# ?ou %ill the ha$e to
stri"e a !atch''that is all# I three !iutes the %ater boils, ad
&ou
pour it ito the teapot :%hich is alread& %ar!;# I three !ore
!iutes
the tea is ifused# ?ou ca begi &our da& %hile dri"ig it# These
details !a& see! tri$ial to the foolish, but to the thoughtful the&
%ill
ot see! tri$ial# The proper, %ise balacig of oe4s %hole life
!a&
deped upo the feasibilit& of a cup of tea at a uusual hour#
A# (#
2
CONTENTS
PREFACE, A
I THE DAI7? >IRAC7E, BC
II THE DESIRE TO EDCEED ONE4S PROERA>>E, BF
III PRECAGTIONS (EFORE (EEINNINE, /H
IA THE CAGSE OF THE TROG(7E, .B
A TENNIS AND THE I>>ORTA7 SOG7, .I
AI RE>E>(ER HG>AN NATGRE, HJ
AII CONTRO77INE THE >IND, JB
AIII THE REF7ECTIAE >OOD, JI
ID INTEREST IN THE ARTS, KJ
D NOTHINE IN 7IFE IS HG>DRG>, F/
DI SERIOGS READINE, IL
DII DANEERS TO AAOID, IK
HO= TO 7IAE ON
T=ENT?'FOGR HOGRS A DA?
I
THE DAI7? >IRAC7E
1?es, he4s oe of those !e that do4t "o% ho% to !aage#
Eood situatio# Regular ico!e# Muite eough for lu9uries
as %ell as eeds# Not reall& e9tra$agat# Ad &et the fello%4s
al%a&s i di6culties# So!eho% he gets othig out of his
!oe&# E9cellet +at''half e!pt&, Al%a&s loo"s as if he4d had
the bro"ers i# Ne% suit''old hat, >agi5cet ec"tie''bagg&
trousers, As"s &ou to dier0 cut glass''bad !utto, or Tur"ish
co-ee''crac"ed cup, He ca4t uderstad it# E9plaatio si!pl&
is that he fritters his ico!e a%a&# =ish I had the half of it, I4d
sho% hi!''1
So %e ha$e !ost of us criticised, at oe ti!e or aother, i our
superior %a&#
=e are earl& all chacellors of the e9che<uer0 it is the pride of
the !o!et# Ne%spapers are full of articles e9plaiig ho% to li$e
o such'ad'such a su!, ad these articles pro$o"e a
correspodece
%hose $iolece pro$es the iterest the& e9cite# Recetl&, i a dail&
orga, a battle raged roud the <uestio %hether a %o!a ca
e9ist
icel& i the coutr& o 7FH a &ear# I ha$e see a essa&, 1Ho% to
li$e o eight shilligs a %ee"#1 (ut I ha$e e$er see a essa&,
1Ho%
to li$e o t%et&'four hours a da&#1 ?et it has bee said that ti!e is
!oe&# That pro$erb uderstates the case# Ti!e is a great deal
!ore
tha !oe&# If &ou ha$e ti!e &ou ca obtai !oe&''usuall&# (ut
though &ou ha$e the %ealth of a cloa"'roo! attedat at the
Carlto
Hotel, &ou caot bu& &ourself a !iute !ore ti!e tha I ha$e, or
the
cat b& the 5re has#
Philosophers ha$e e9plaied space# The& ha$e ot e9plaied ti!e#
It
is the ie9plicable ra% !aterial of e$er&thig# =ith it, all is
possible*
%ithout it, othig# The suppl& of ti!e is trul& a dail& !iracle, a
a-air geuiel& astoishig %he oe e9a!ies it# ?ou %a"e up i
the !orig, ad lo, &our purse is !agicall& 5lled %ith t%et&'four
hours of the u!aufactured tissue of the ui$erse of &our life, It
is
&ours# It is the !ost precious of possessios# A highl& sigular
co!!odit&, sho%ered upo &ou i a !aer as sigular as the
co!!odit& itself,
For re!ar", No oe ca ta"e it fro! &ou# It is ustealable# Ad o
oe recei$es either !ore or less tha &ou recei$e#
Tal" about a ideal de!ocrac&, I the real! of ti!e there is o
aristocrac&
3
of %ealth, ad o aristocrac& of itellect# Eeius is e$er re%arded
b& e$e
a e9tra hour a da&# Ad there is o puish!et# =aste &our
i5itel&
precious co!!odit& as !uch as &ou %ill, ad the suppl& %ill e$er
be
%ithheld fro! &ou# >o !&sterious po%er %ill sa&0''1This !a is a
fool,
if ot a "a$e# He does ot deser$e ti!e* he shall be cut o- at the
!eter#1
It is !ore certai tha cosols, ad pa&!et of ico!e is ot
a-ected b&
Suda&s# >oreo$er, &ou caot dra% o the future# I!possible to
get ito
debt, ?ou ca ol& %aste the passig !o!et# ?ou caot %aste
to'
!orro%* it is "ept for &ou# ?ou caot %aste the e9t hour* it is
"ept for &ou#
I said the a-air %as a !iracle# Is it ot@
?ou ha$e to li$e o this t%et&'four hours of dail& ti!e# Out of it
&ou ha$e
to spi health, pleasure, !oe&, cotet, respect, ad the
e$olutio of &our
i!!ortal soul# Its right use, its !ost e-ecti$e use, is a !atter of
the highest
urgec& ad of the !ost thrillig actualit&# All depeds o that#
?our
happiess''the elusi$e priNe that &ou are all clutchig for, !&
frieds,''
depeds o that# Strage that the e%spapers, so eterprisig
ad up'to'
date as the& are, are ot full of 1Ho% to li$e o a gi$e ico!e of
ti!e,1
istead of 1Ho% to li$e o a gi$e ico!e of !oe&1, >oe& is far
co!!oer tha ti!e# =he oe re+ects, oe percei$es that
!oe& is )ust
about the co!!oest thig there is# It ecu!bers the earth i
gross heaps#
If oe ca4t cotri$e to li$e o a certai ico!e of !oe&, oe
ears a
little !ore''or steals it, or ad$ertises for it# Oe does4t ecessaril&
!uddle oe4s life because oe ca4t <uite !aage o a thousad
pouds
a &ear* oe braces the !uscles ad !a"es it guieas, ad balaces
the
budget# (ut if oe caot arrage that a ico!e of t%et&'four
hours
a da& shall e9actl& co$er all proper ite!s of e9pediture, oe does
!uddle oe4s life de5itel&# The suppl& of ti!e, though gloriousl&
regular, is cruell& restricted#
=hich of us li$es o t%et&'four hours a da&@ Ad %he I sa&
1li$es,1
I do ot !ea e9ists, or 1!uddles through#1 =hich of us is free
fro!
that ueas& feelig that the 1great spedig depart!ets1 of his
dail&
life are ot !aaged as the& ought to be@ =hich of us is <uite
sure
that his 5e suit is ot sur!outed b& a sha!eful hat, or that i
attedig
to the croc"er& he has forgotte the <ualit& of the food@ =hich of
us is
ot sa&ig to hi!self''%hich of us has ot bee sa&ig to hi!self
all his
life0 1I shall alter that %he I ha$e a little !ore ti!e1@
=e e$er shall ha$e a& !ore ti!e# =e ha$e, ad %e ha$e al%a&s
had,
all the ti!e there is# It is the realisatio of this profoud ad
eglected
truth :%hich, b& the %a&, I ha$e ot disco$ered; that has led !e to
the
!iute practical e9a!iatio of dail& ti!e'e9pediture#
II
4
THE DESIRE TO EDCEED ONE4S PROERA>>E
1(ut,1 so!eoe !a& re!ar", %ith the Eglish disregard of
e$er&thig
e9cept the poit, 1%hat is he dri$ig at %ith his t%et&'four hours a
da&@
I ha$e o di6cult& i li$ig o t%et&'four hours a da&# I do all that
I
%at to do, ad still 5d ti!e to go i for e%spaper co!petitios#
Surel&
it is a si!ple a-air, "o%ig that oe has ol& t%et&'four hours a
da&, to
cotet oe4s self %ith t%et&'four hours a da&,1
To &ou, !& dear sir, I preset !& e9cuses ad apologies# ?ou are
precisel&
the !a that I ha$e bee %ishig to !eet for about fort& &ears#
=ill &ou
"idl& sed !e &our a!e ad address, ad state &our charge for
tellig !e
ho% &ou do it@ Istead of !e tal"ig to &ou, &ou ought to be
tal"ig to !e#
Please co!e for%ard# That &ou e9ist, I a! co$iced, ad that I
ha$e ot
&et ecoutered &ou is !& loss# >ea%hile, util &ou appear, I %ill
cotiue
to chat %ith !& co!paios i distress''that iu!erable bad of
souls %ho
are hauted, !ore or less paifull&, b& the feelig that the &ears
slip b&, ad
slip b&, ad slip b&, ad that the& ha$e ot &et bee able to get
their li$es ito
proper %or"ig order#
If %e aal&se that feelig, %e shall percei$e it to be, pri!aril&, oe
of
ueasiess, of e9pectatio, of loo"ig for%ard, of aspiratio# It is a
source
of costat disco!fort, for it beha$es li"e a s"eleto at the feast of
all our
e)o&!ets# =e go to the theatre ad laugh* but bet%ee the acts
it raises
a s"i& 5ger at us# =e rush $ioletl& for the last trai, ad %hile
%e are
coolig a log age o the platfor! %aitig for the last trai, it
pro!eades
its boes up ad do% b& our side ad i<uires0 1O !a, %hat
hast thou
doe %ith th& &outh@ =hat art thou doig %ith thie age@1 ?ou
!a& urge
that this feelig of cotiuous loo"ig for%ard, of aspiratio, is part
of life
itself, ad iseparable fro! life itself# True,
(ut there are degrees# A !a !a& desire to go to >ecca# His
cosciece
tells hi! that he ought to go to >ecca# He fares forth, either b&
the aid of
Coo"4s, or uassisted* he !a& probabl& e$er reach >ecca* he !a&
dro%
before he gets to Port Said* he !a& perish igloriousl& o the coast
of the
Red Sea* his desire !a& re!ai eterall& frustrate# Gful5lled
aspiratio
!a& al%a&s trouble hi!# (ut he %ill ot be tor!eted i the sa!e
%a& as
the !a %ho, desirig to reach >ecca, ad harried b& the desire to
reach
>ecca, e$er lea$es (ri9to#
It is so!ethig to ha$e left (ri9to# >ost of us ha$e ot left
(ri9to# =e
ha$e ot e$e ta"e a cab to 7udgate Circus ad i<uired fro!
Coo"4s the
price of a coducted tour# Ad our e9cuse to oursel$es is that
there are ol&
t%et&'four hours i the da&#
5
If %e further aal&se our $ague, ueas& aspiratio, %e shall, I
thi", see
that it sprigs fro! a 59ed idea that %e ought to do so!ethig i
additio
to those thigs %hich %e are lo&all& ad !orall& obliged to do# =e
are
obliged, b& $arious codes %ritte ad u%ritte, to !aitai
oursel$es
ad our fa!ilies :if a&; i health ad co!fort, to pa& our debts, to
sa$e,
to icrease our prosperit& b& icreasig our e6ciec&# A tas"
su6cietl&
di6cult, A tas" %hich $er& fe% of us achie$e, A tas" ofte be&od
our
s"ill, &et, if %e succeed i it, as %e so!eti!es do, %e are ot
satis5ed* the
s"eleto is still %ith us#
Ad e$e %he %e realise tat the tas" is be&od our s"ill, that our
po%ers
caot cope %ith it, %e feel that %e should be less discoteted if
%e ga$e
to our po%ers, alread& o$erta9ed, so!ethig still further to do#
Ad such is, ideed, the fact# The %ish to acco!plish so!ethig
outside
their for!al progra!!e is co!!o to all !e %ho i the course of
e$olutio
ha$e rise past a certai le$el#
Gtil a e-ort is !ade to satisf& that %ish, the sese of ueas&
%aitig for
so!ethig to start %hich has ot started %ill re!ai to disturb the
peace of
the soul# That %ish has bee called b& !a& a!es# It is oe for!
of the
ui$ersal desire for "o%ledge# Ad it is so strog that !e %hose
%hole
li$es ha$e bee gi$e to the s&ste!atic ac<uire!et of "o%ledge
ha$e
bee dri$e b& it to o$erstep the li!its of their progra!!e i
search of
still !ore "o%ledge# E$e Herbert Specer, i !& opiio the
greatest
!id that e$er li$ed, %as ofte forced b& it ito agreeable little
bac"%aters
of i<uir&#
I i!agie that i the !a)orit& of people %ho are coscious of the
%ish to
li$e''that is to sa&, people %ho ha$e itellectual curiosit&''the
aspiratio
to e9ceed for!al progra!!es ta"es a literar& shape# The& %ould
li"e to
e!bar" o a course of readig# Decidedl& the (ritish people are
beco!ig
!ore ad !ore literar&# (ut I %ould poit out that literature b& o
!eas
co!prises the %hole 5eld of "o%ledge, ad that the disturbig
thirst to
i!pro$e oe4s self''to icrease oe4s "o%ledge''!a& %ell be
sla"ed <uite
apart fro! literature# =ith the $arious %a&s of sla"ig I shall deal
later#
Here I !erel& poit out to those %ho ha$e o atural s&!path&
%ith
literature that literature is ot the ol& %ell#
III
PRECAGTIONS (EFORE (EEINNINE
No% that I ha$e succeeded :if succeeded I ha$e; i persuadig &ou
to ad!it
to &ourself that &ou are costatl& hauted b& a suppressed
dissatisfactio
%ith &our o% arrage!et of &our dail& life* ad that the pri!al
cause of
that ico$eiet dissatisfactio is the feelig that &ou are e$er&
da& lea$ig
6
udoe so!ethig %hich &ou %ould li"e to do, ad %hich, ideed,
&ou are
al%a&s hopig to do %he &ou ha$e 1!ore ti!e1* ad o% that I
ha$e dra%
&our attetio to the glarig, daNNlig truth that &ou e$er %ill
ha$e 1!ore
ti!e,1 sice &ou alread& ha$e all the ti!e there is''&ou e9pect !e
to let &ou
ito so!e %oderful secret b& %hich &ou !a& at a& rate approach
the ideal
of a perfect arrage!et of the da&, ad b& %hich, therefore, that
hautig,
upleasat, dail& disappoit!et of thigs left udoe %ill be got
rid of,
I ha$e foud o such %oderful secret# Nor do I e9pect to 5d it,
or do I
e9pect that a&oe else %ill e$er 5d it# It is udisco$ered# =he
&ou 5rst
bega to gather !& drift, perhaps there %as a resurrectio of hope
i &our
breast# Perhaps &ou said to &ourself, 1This !a %ill sho% !e a
eas&,
ufatiguig %a& of doig %hat I ha$e so log i $ai %ished to do#1
Alas,
o, The fact is that there is o eas& %a&, o ro&al road# The path
to >ecca
is e9tre!el& hard ad sto&, ad the %orst of it is that &ou e$er
<uite get
there after all#
The !ost i!portat preli!iar& to the tas" of arragig oe4s life
so that
oe !a& li$e full& ad co!fortabl& %ithi oe4s dail& budget of
t%et&'
four hours is the cal! realisatio of the e9tre!e di6cult& of the
tas", of
the sacri5ces ad the edless e-ort %hich it de!ads# I caot
too strogl&
isist o this#
If &ou i!agie that &ou %ill be able to achie$e &our ideal b&
igeiousl&
plaig out a ti!e'table %ith a pe o a piece of paper, &ou had
better
gi$e up hope at oce# If &ou are ot prepared for discourage!ets
ad
disillusios* if &ou %ill ot be cotet %ith a s!all result for a big
e-ort,
the do ot begi# 7ie do% agai ad resu!e the ueas& doNe
%hich
&ou call &our e9istece#
It is $er& sad, is it ot, $er& depressig ad so!bre@ Ad &et I
thi" it
is rather 5e, too, this ecessit& for the tese bracig of the %ill
before
a&thig %orth doig ca be doe# I rather li"e it !&self# I feel it
to be
the chief thig that di-eretiates !e fro! the cat b& the 5re#
1=ell,1 &ou sa&, 1assu!e that I a! braced for the battle# Assu!e
that
I ha$e carefull& %eighed ad co!preheded &our poderous
re!ar"s*
ho% do I begi@1 Dear sir, &ou si!pl& begi# There is o !agic
!ethod
of begiig# If a !a stadig o the edge of a s%i!!ig'bath
ad
%atig to )u!p ito the cold %ater should as" &ou, 1Ho% do I
begi to
)u!p@1 &ou %ould !erel& repl&, 1Oust )u!p# Ta"e hold of &our
er$es,
ad )u!p#1
As I ha$e pre$iousl& said, the chief beaut& about the costat
suppl& of
ti!e is that &ou caot %aste it i ad$ace# The e9t &ear, the
e9t da&,
the e9t hour are l&ig read& for &ou, as perfect, as uspoilt, as if
&ou
7
had e$er %asted or !isapplied a sigle !o!et i all &our career#
=hich
fact is $er& gratif&ig ad reassurig# ?ou ca tur o$er a e% leaf
e$er&
hour if &ou choose# Therefore o ob)ect is ser$ed i %aitig till
e9t %ee",
or e$e util to'!orro%# ?ou !a& fac& that the %ater %ill be
%ar!er e9t
%ee"# It %o4t# It %ill be colder#
(ut before &ou begi, let !e !ur!ur a fe% %ords of %arig i
&our pri$ate
ear#
7et !e pricipall& %ar &ou agaist &our o% ardour# Ardour i
%ell'doig
is a !isleadig ad a treacherous thig# It cries out loudl& for
e!plo&!et*
&ou ca4t satisf& it at 5rst* it %ats !ore ad !ore* it is eager to
!o$e
!outais ad di$ert the course of ri$ers# It is4t cotet till it
perspires#
Ad the, too ofte, %he it feels the perspiratio o its bro%, it
%earies
all of a sudde ad dies, %ithout e$e puttig itself to the trouble
of sa&ig,
1I4$e
had eough of this#1
(e%are of uderta"ig too !uch at the start# (e cotet %ith
<uite a little#
Allo% for accidets# Allo% for hu!a ature, especiall& &our o%#
A failure or so, i itself, %ould ot !atter, if it did ot icur a loss of
self'
estee! ad of self'co5dece# (ut )ust as othig succeeds li"e
success,
so othig fails li"e failure# >ost people %ho are ruied are ruied
b&
atte!ptig too !uch# Therefore, i settig out o the i!!ese
eterprise
of li$ig full& ad co!fortabl& %ithi the arro% li!its of t%et&'
four
hours a da&, let us a$oid at a& cost the ris" of a earl& failure# I
%ill ot
agree that, i this busiess at a& rate, a glorious failure is better
tha a
pett& success# I a! all for the pett& success# A glorious failure
leads to
othig* a pett& success !a& lead to a success that is ot pett&#
So let us begi to e9a!ie the budget of the da&4s ti!e# ?ou sa&
&our
da& is alread& full to o$er+o%ig# Ho%@ ?ou actuall& sped i
earig
&our li$elihood''ho% !uch@ Se$e hours, o the a$erage@ Ad i
actual
sleep, se$e@ I %ill add t%o hours, ad be geerous# Ad I %ill
def& &ou
to accout to !e o the spur of the !o!et for the other eight
hours#
IA
THE CAGSE OF THE TROG(7ES
I order to co!e to grips at oce %ith the <uestio of ti!e'
e9pediture i
all its actualit&, I !ust choose a idi$idual case for e9a!iatio# I
ca
ol& deal %ith oe case, ad that case caot be the a$erage case,
because
there is o such case as the a$erage case, )ust as there is o such
!a as the
a$erage !a# E$er& !a ad e$er& !a4s case is special#
8
(ut if I ta"e the case of a 7odoer %ho %or"s i a o6ce, %hose
o6ce
hours are fro! te to si9, ad %ho speds 5ft& !iutes !orig
ad ight
i tra$ellig bet%ee his house door ad his o6ce door, I shall
ha$e got as
ear to the a$erage as facts per!it# There are !e %ho ha$e to
%or" loger
for a li$ig, but there are others %ho do ot ha$e to %or" so log#
Fortuatel& the 5acial side of e9istece does ot iterest us
here* for our
preset purpose the cler" at a poud a %ee" is e9actl& as %ell o-
as the
!illioaire i Carlto House'terrace#
No% the great ad profoud !ista"e %hich !& t&pical !a !a"es
i regard
to his da& is a !ista"e of geeral attitude, a !ista"e %hich $itiates
ad
%ea"es t%o'thirds of his eergies ad iterests# I the !a)orit& of
istaces
he does ot precisel& feel a passio for his busiess* at best he
does ot disli"e
it# He begis his busiess fuctios %ith reluctace, as late as he
ca, ad he
eds the! %ith )o&, as earl& as he ca# Ad his egies %hile he is
egaged
i his busiess are seldo! at their full 1h#p#1 :I "o% that I shall be
accused
b& agr& readers of traducig the cit& %or"er* but I a! prett&
thoroughl&
ac<uaited %ith the Cit&, ad I stic" to %hat I sa&#;
?et i spite of all this he persists i loo"ig upo those hours fro!
te to
si9 as 1the da&,1 to %hich the te hours precedig the! ad the si9
hours
follo%ig the! are othig but a prologue ad epilogue# Such a
attitude,
ucoscious though it be, of course "ills his iterest i the odd
si9tee
hours, %ith the result that, e$e if he does ot %aste the!, he
does ot
cout the!* he regards the! si!pl& as !argi#
This geeral attitude is utterl& illogical ad uhealth&, sice it
for!all&
gi$es the cetral pro!iece to a patch of ti!e ad a buch of
acti$ities
%hich the !a4s oe idea is to 1get through1 ad ha$e 1doe %ith#1
If a
!a !a"es t%o'thirds of his e9istece subser$iet to oe'third, for
%hich
ad!ittedl& he has o absolutel& fe$erish Nest, ho% ca he hope to
li$e full&
ad co!pletel&@ He caot#
If !& t&pical !a %ishes to li$e full& ad co!pletel& he !ust, i
his !id,
arrage a da& %ithi a da&# Ad this ier da&, a Chiese bo9 i a
larger
Chiese bo9, !ust begi at J p#!# ad ed at CL a#!# It is a da& of
si9tee
hours* ad durig all these si9tee hours he has othig %hate$er
to do but
culti$ate his bod& ad his soul ad his fello% !e# Durig those
si9tee
hours he is free* he is ot a %age'earer* he is ot preoccupied
%ith !oetar&
cares* he is )ust as good as a !a %ith a pri$ate ico!e# This
!ust be his
attitude# Ad his attitude is all i!portat# His success i life
:!uch !ore
i!portat tha the a!out of estate upo %hat his e9ecutors %ill
ha$e to
pa& estate dut&; depeds o it#
=hat@ ?ou sa& that full eerg& gi$e to those si9tee hours %ill
lesse the
9
$alue of the busiess eight@ Not so# O the cotrar&, it %ill
assuredl&
icrease the $alue of the busiess eight# Oe of the chief thigs
%hich
!& t&pical !a has to lear is that the !etal faculties are capable
of a
cotiuous hard acti$it&* the& do ot tire li"e a ar! or a leg# All
the&
%at is chage''ot rest, e9cept i sleep#
I shall o% e9a!ie the t&pical !a4s curret !ethod of e!plo&ig
the
si9tee hours that are etirel& his, begiig %ith his uprisig# I
%ill
!erel& idicate thigs %hich he does ad %hich I thi" he ought
ot to
do, postpoig !& suggestios for 1platig1 the ti!es %hich I
shall
ha$e cleared''as a settler clears spaces i a forest#
I )ustice to hi! I !ust sa& that he %astes $er& little ti!e before he
lea$es the house i the !orig at I#CL# I too !a& houses he
gets
up at ie, brea"fasts bet%ee I#K ad I#I CPB, ad the bolts#
(ut
i!!ediatel& he bags the frot door his !etal faculties, %hich are
tireless, beco!e idle# He %al"s to the statio i a coditio of
!etal
co!a# Arri$ed there, he usuall& has to %ait for the trai# O
hudreds
of suburba statios e$er& !orig &ou see !e cal!l& strollig
up
ad do% platfor!s %hile rail%a& co!paies ublushigl& rob
the!
of ti!e, %hich is !ore tha !oe&# Hudreds of thousads of
hours
are thus lost e$er& da& si!pl& because !& t&pical !a thi"s so
little
of ti!e that it has e$er occurred to hi! to ta"e <uite eas&
precautios
agaist the ris" of its loss#
He has a solid coi of ti!e to sped e$er& da&''call it a so$ereig#
He
!ust get chage for it, ad i gettig chage he is cotet to lose
hea$il&#
Supposig that i sellig hi! a tic"et the co!pa& said, 1=e %ill
chage
&ou a so$ereig, but %e shall charge &ou three halfpece for doig
so,1
%hat %ould !& t&pical !a e9clai!@ ?et that is the e<ui$alet of
%hat
the co!pa& does %he it robs hi! of 5$e !iutes t%ice a da&#
?ou sa& I a! dealig %ith !iutiae# I a!# Ad later o I %ill )ustif&
!&self#
No% %ill &ou "idl& bu& &our paper ad step ito the trai@
A
TENNIS AND THE I>>ORTA7 SOG7
?ou get ito the !orig trai %ith &our e%spaper, ad &ou
cal!l& ad
!a)esticall& gi$e &ourself up to &our e%spaper# ?ou do ot hurr&#
?ou
"o% &ou ha$e at least half a hour of securit& i frot of &ou# As
&our
glace ligers idl& at the ad$ertise!ets of shippig ad of sogs
o the
outer pages, &our air is the air of a leisured !a, %ealth& i ti!e,
of a
!a fro! so!e plaet %here there are a hudred ad t%et&'four
hours
a da& istead of t%et&'four# I a! a i!passioed reader of
e%spapers#
10
I read 5$e Eglish ad t%o Frech dailies, ad the e%s'agets
aloe
"o% ho% !a& %ee"lies, regularl&# I a! obliged to !etio this
persoal
fact lest I should be accused of a pre)udice agaist e%spapers
%he I sa&
that I ob)ect to the readig of e%spapers i the !orig trai#
Ne%spapers
are produced %ith rapidit&, to be read %ith rapidit&# There is o
place i !&
dail& progra!!e for e%spapers# I read the! as I !a& i odd
!o!ets#
(ut I do read the!# The idea of de$otig to the! thirt& or fort&
cosecuti$e
!iutes of %oderful solitude :for o%here ca oe !ore perfectl&
i!!erse
oe4s self i oe4s self tha i a co!part!et full of silet,
%ithdra%, s!o"ig
!ales; is to !e repugat# I caot possibl& allo% &ou to scatter
priceless
pearls of ti!e %ith such Orietal la$ishess# ?ou are ot the Shah
of ti!e#
7et !e respectfull& re!id &ou that &ou ha$e o !ore ti!e tha I
ha$e# No
e%spaper readig i trais, I ha$e alread& 1put b&1 about three'
<uarters of
a hour for use#
No% &ou reach &our o6ce# Ad I abado &ou there till si9 o4cloc"#
I a!
a%are that &ou ha$e o!iall& a hour :ofte i realit& a hour
ad a half;
i the !idst of the da&, less tha half of %hich ti!e is gi$e to
eatig# (ut
I %ill lea$e &ou all that to sped as &ou choose# ?ou !a& read &our
e%spapers the#
I !eet &ou agai as &ou e!erge fro! &our o6ce# ?ou are pale ad
tired#
At a& rate, &our %ife sa&s &ou are pale, ad &ou gi$e her to
uderstad
that &ou are tired# Durig the )oure& ho!e &ou ha$e bee
graduall&
%or"ig up the tired feelig# The tired feelig hags hea$& o$er
the
!ight& suburbs of 7odo li"e a $irtuous ad !elachol& cloud,
particularl& i %iter# ?ou do4t eat i!!ediatel& o &our arri$al
ho!e#
(ut i about a hour or so &ou feel as if &ou could sit up ad ta"e a
little
ourish!et# Ad &ou do# The &ou s!o"e, seriousl&* &ou see
frieds*
&ou potter* &ou pla& cards* &ou +irt %ith a boo"* &ou ote that old
age is
creepig o* &ou ta"e a stroll* &ou caress the piao#### (& Oo$e, a
<uarter
past ele$e# ?ou the de$ote <uite fort& !iutes to thi"ig about
goig
to bed* ad it is cocei$able that &ou are ac<uaited %ith a
geuiel& good
%his"&# At last &ou go to bed, e9hausted b& the da&4s %or"# Si9
hours,
probabl& !ore, ha$e goe sice &ou left the o6ce''goe li"e a
drea!,
goe li"e !agic, uaccoutabl& goe,
That is a fair sa!ple case# (ut &ou sa&0 1It4s all $er& %ell for &ou to
tal"#
A !a 8is8 tired# A !a !ust see his frieds# He ca4t al%a&s be
o the
stretch#1 Oust so# (ut %he &ou arrage to go to the theatre
:especiall&
%ith a prett& %o!a; %hat happes@ ?ou rush to the suburbs* &ou
spare
o toil to !a"e &ourself glorious i 5e rai!et* &ou rush bac" to
to% i
aother trai* &ou "eep &ourself o the stretch for four hours, if ot
5$e*
&ou ta"e her ho!e* &ou ta"e &ourself ho!e# ?ou do4t sped
three'<uarters
of a hour i 1thi"ig about1 goig to bed# ?ou go# Frieds ad
fatigue
11
ha$e e<uall& bee forgotte, ad the e$eig has see!ed so
e9<uisitel&
log :or perhaps too short;, Ad do &ou re!e!ber that ti!e %he
&ou
%ere persuaded to sig i the chorus of the a!ateur operatic
societ&, ad
sla$ed t%o hours e$er& other ight for three !oths@ Ca &ou
de& that
%he &ou ha$e so!ethig de5ite to loo" for%ard to at e$etide,
so!ethig
that is to e!plo& all &our eerg&''the thought of that so!ethig
gi$es a glo%
ad a !ore itese $italit& to the %hole da&@
=hat I suggest is that at si9 o4cloc" &ou loo" facts i the face ad
ad!it that
&ou are ot tired :because &ou are ot, &ou "o%;, ad that &ou
arrage &our
e$eig so that it is ot cut i the !iddle b& a !eal# (& so doig
&ou %ill
ha$e a clear e9pase of at least three hours# I do ot suggest that
&ou should
e!plo& three hours e$er& ight of &our life i usig up &our !etal
eerg&#
(ut I do suggest that &ou !ight, for a co!!ece!et, e!plo& a
hour ad a
half e$er& other e$eig i so!e i!portat ad cosecuti$e
culti$atio of the
!id# ?ou %ill still be left %ith three e$eigs for frieds, bridge,
teis,
do!estic scees, odd readig, pipes, gardeig, potterig, ad
priNe
co!petitios# ?ou %ill still ha$e the terri5c %ealth of fort&'5$e
hours
bet%ee B p#!# Saturda& ad CL a#!# >oda&# If &ou perse$ere
&ou %ill
soo %at to pass four e$eigs, ad perhaps 5$e, i so!e
sustaied
edea$our to be geuiel& ali$e# Ad &ou %ill fall out of that habit
of
!utterig to &ourself at CC#CH p#!#, 1Ti!e to be thi"ig about
goig to
bed#1 The !a %ho begis to go to bed fort& !iutes before he
opes
his bedroo! door is bored* that is to sa&, he is ot li$ig#
(ut re!e!ber, at the start, those iet& octural !iutes thrice a
%ee"
!ust be the !ost i!portat !iutes i the te thousad ad
eight&# The&
!ust be sacred, <uite as sacred as a dra!atic rehearsal or a teis
!atch#
Istead of sa&ig, 1Sorr& I ca4t see &ou, old chap, but I ha$e to ru
o- to
the teis club,1 &ou !ust sa&, 1###but I ha$e to %or"#1 This, I
ad!it, is
itesel& di6cult to sa&# Teis is so !uch !ore urget tha the
i!!ortal
soul#
AI
RE>E>(ER HG>AN NATGRE
I ha$e icidetall& !etioed the $ast e9pase of fort&'four hours
bet%ee
lea$ig busiess at B p#!# o Saturda& ad returig to busiess at
CL a#!#
o >oda&# Ad here I !ust touch o the poit %hether the %ee"
should
cosist of si9 da&s or of se$e# For !a& &ears''i fact, util I %as
approachig
fort&''!& o% %ee" cosisted of se$e da&s# I %as costatl&
beig ifor!ed
b& older ad %iser people that !ore %or", !ore geuie li$ig,
could be got
out of si9 da&s tha out of se$e#
12
Ad it is certail& true that o%, %ith oe da& i se$e i %hich I
follo% o
progra!!e ad !a"e o e-ort sa$e %hat the caprice of the
!o!et dictates,
I appreciate itesel& the !oral $alue of a %ee"l& rest#
Ne$ertheless, had I
!& life to arrage o$er agai, I %ould do agai as I ha$e doe#
Ol& those
%ho ha$e li$ed at the full stretch se$e da&s a %ee" for a log ti!e
ca
appreciate the full beaut& of a regular recurrig idleess#
>oreo$er, I a!
ageig# Ad it is a <uestio of age# I cases of aboudig &outh
ad
e9ceptioal eerg& ad desire for e-ort I should sa& uhesitatigl&0
Qeep
goig, da& i, da& out#
(ut i the a$erage case I should sa&0 Co5e &our for!al
progra!!e
:super'progra!!e, I !ea; to si9 da&s a %ee"# If &ou 5d &ourself
%ishig to e9ted it, e9ted it, but ol& i proportio to &our %ish*
ad
cout the ti!e e9tra as a %idfall, ot as regular ico!e, so that
&ou ca
retur to a si9'da& progra!!e %ithout the sesatio of beig
poorer, of
beig a bac"slider#
7et us o% see %here %e stad# So far %e ha$e !ar"ed for sa$ig
out of the %aste of da&s, half a hour at least o si9 !origs a
%ee", ad oe hour ad a half o three e$eigs a %ee"# Total,
se$e hours ad a half a %ee"#
I propose to be cotet %ith that se$e hours ad a half for the
preset# 1=hat@1 &ou cr&# 1?ou preted to sho% us ho% to li$e,
ad &ou ol& deal %ith se$e hours ad a half out of a hudred
ad si9t&'eight, Are &ou goig to perfor! a !iracle %ith &our
se$e hours ad a half@1 =ell, ot to !ice the !atter, I a!''if
&ou %ill "idl& let !e, That is to sa&, I a! goig to as" &ou to
atte!pt a e9periece %hich, %hile perfectl& atural ad
e9plicable,
has all the air of a !iracle# >& cotetio is that the full use of
those
se$e'ad'a'half hours %ill <uic"e the %hole life of the %ee", add
Nest to it, ad icrease the iterest %hich &ou feel i e$e the !ost
baal occupatios# ?ou practise ph&sical e9ercises for a !ere te
!iutes !orig ad e$eig, ad &et &ou are ot astoished
%he
&our ph&sical health ad stregth are bee5ciall& a-ected e$er&
hour
of the da&, ad &our %hole ph&sical outloo" chaged# =h& should
&ou be astoished that a a$erage of o$er a hour a da& gi$e to
the
!id should per!aetl& ad co!pletel& eli$e the %hole
acti$it&
of the !id@
>ore ti!e !ight assuredl& be gi$e to the culti$atio of oe4s self#
Ad i proportio as the ti!e %as loger the results %ould be
greater#
(ut I prefer to begi %ith %hat loo"s li"e a tri+ig e-ort#
It is ot reall& a tri+ig e-ort, as those %ill disco$er %ho ha$e &et
to essa& it# To 1clear1 e$e se$e hours ad a half fro! the )ugle
is
passabl& di6cult# For so!e sacri5ce has to be !ade# Oe !a&
ha$e
spet oe4s ti!e badl&, but oe did sped it* oe did do so!ethig
%ith it, ho%e$er ill'ad$ised that so!ethig !a& ha$e bee# To do
so!ethig else !eas a chage of habits#
Ad habits are the $er& dic"es to chage, Further, a& chage,
e$e
a chage for the better, is al%a&s acco!paied b& dra%bac"s ad
disco!forts# If &ou i!agie that &ou %ill be able to de$ote se$e
hours ad a half a %ee" to serious, cotiuous e-ort, ad still li$e
&our old life, &ou are !ista"e# I repeat that so!e sacri5ce, ad a
i!!ese deal of $olitio, %ill be ecessar&# Ad it is because I
"o%
13
the di6cult&, it is because I "o% the al!ost disastrous e-ect of
failure
i such a eterprise, that I earestl& ad$ise a $er& hu!ble
begiig#
?ou !ust safeguard &our self'respect# Self'respect is at the root of
all
purposefuless, ad a failure i a eterprise deliberatel& plaed
deals
a desperate %oud at oe4s self'respect# Hece I iterate ad
reiterate0
Start <uietl&, uostetatiousl&#
=he &ou ha$e coscietiousl& gi$e se$e hours ad a half a
%ee"
to the culti$atio of &our $italit& for three !oths''the &ou !a&
begi to sig louder ad tell &ourself %hat %odrous thigs &ou are
capable of doig#
(efore co!ig to the !ethod of usig the idicated hours, I ha$e
oe
5al suggestio to !a"e# That is, as regards the e$eigs, to allo%
!uch !ore tha a hour ad a half i %hich to do the %or" of a
hour
ad a half# Re!e!ber the chace of accidets# Re!e!ber hu!a
ature#
Ad gi$e &ourself, sa&, fro! I to CC#/L for &our tas" of iet&
!iutes#

AII
CONTRO77INE THE >IND
People sa&0 1Oe ca4t help oe4s thoughts#1 (ut oe ca# The
cotrol
of the thi"ig !achie is perfectl& possible# Ad sice othig
%hate$er
happes to us outside our o% brai* sice othig hurts us or
gi$es us
pleasure e9cept %ithi the brai, the supre!e i!portace of beig
able
to cotrol %hat goes o i that !&sterious brai is patet# This
idea is
oe of the oldest platitudes, but it is a platitude %ho4s profoud
truth ad
urgec& !ost people li$e ad die %ithout realisig# People
co!plai of
the lac" of po%er to cocetrate, ot %ittig that the& !a& ac<uire
the
po%er, if the& choose#
Ad %ithout the po%er to cocetrate''that is to sa&, %ithout the
po%er to
dictate to the brai its tas" ad to esure obediece''true life is
i!possible#
>id cotrol is the 5rst ele!et of a full e9istece#
Hece, it see!s to !e, the 5rst busiess of the da& should be to
put the
!id through its paces# ?ou loo" after &our bod&, iside ad out*
&ou
ru gra$e dager i hac"ig hairs o- &our s"i* &ou e!plo& a
%hole
ar!& of idi$iduals, fro! the !il"!a to the pig'"iller, to eable
&ou
to bribe &our sto!ach ito decet beha$iour# =h& ot de$ote a
little
attetio to the far !ore delicate !achier& of the !id,
especiall& as
&ou %ill re<uire o e9traeous aid@ It is for this portio of the art
ad
craft of li$ig that I ha$e reser$ed the ti!e fro! the !o!et of
<uittig
&our door to the !o!et of arri$ig at &our o6ce#
1=hat@ I a! to culti$ate !& !id i the street, o the platfor!, i
the
14
trai, ad i the cro%ded street agai@1 Precisel&# Nothig
si!pler,
No tools re<uired, Not e$e a boo"# Ne$ertheless, the a-air is ot
eas&#
=he &ou lea$e &our house, cocetrate &our !id o a sub)ect
:o
!atter %hat, to begi %ith;# ?ou %ill ot ha$e goe te &ards
before
&our !id has s"ipped a%a& uder &our $er& e&es ad is lar"ig
roud
the corer %ith aother sub)ect#
(rig it bac" b& the scru- of the ec"# Ere &ou ha$e reached the
statio
&ou %ill ha$e brought it bac" about fort& ti!es# Do ot despair#
Cotiue#
Qeep it up# ?ou %ill succeed# ?ou caot b& a& chace fail if &ou
perse$ere# It is idle to preted that &our !id is icapable of
cocetratio#
Do &ou ot re!e!ber that !orig %he &ou recei$ed a
dis<uietig letter
%hich de!aded a $er& carefull&'%orded as%er@ Ho% &ou "ept
&our !id
steadil& o the sub)ect of the as%er, %ithout a secod4s
iter!issio, util
&ou reached &our o6ce* %hereupo &ou istatl& sat do% ad
%rote the
as%er@ That %as a case i %hich 8&ou8 %ere roused b&
circu!staces to
such a degree of $italit& that &ou %ere able to do!iate &our !id
li"e a t&rat#
?ou %ould ha$e o tri+ig# ?ou isisted that its %or" should be
doe, ad its
%or" %as doe#
(& the regular practice of cocetratio :as to %hich there is o
secret''
sa$e the secret of perse$erace; &ou ca t&raise o$er &our !id
:%hich
is ot the highest part of 8&ou8; e$er& hour of the da&, ad i o
!atter
%hat place# The e9ercise is a $er& co$eiet oe# If &ou got ito
&our
!orig trai %ith a pair of du!b'bells for &our !uscles or a
ec&clopaedia
i te $olu!es for &our learig, &ou %ould probabl& e9cite
re!ar"# (ut as
&ou %al" i the street, or sit i the corer of the co!part!et
behid a pipe,
or 1strap'hag1 o the Subterraea, %ho is to "o% that &ou are
egaged i
the !ost i!portat of dail& acts@ =hat asiie boor ca laugh at
&ou@
I do ot care %hat &ou cocetrate o, so log as &ou cocetrate#
It is the
!ere discipliig of the thi"ig !achie that couts# (ut still, &ou
!a& as
%ell "ill t%o birds %ith oe stoe, ad cocetrate o so!ethig
useful# I
suggest''it is ol& a suggestio''a little chapter of >arcus Aurelius
or Epictetus#
Do ot, I beg, sh& at their a!es# For !&self, I "o% othig !ore
1actual,1
!ore burstig %ith plai co!!o'sese, applicable to the dail& life
of plai
persos li"e &ou ad !e :%ho hate airs, pose, ad osese; tha
>arcus
Aurelius or Epictetus# Read a chapter''ad so short the& are, the
chapters,
''i the e$eig ad cocetrate o it the e9t !orig# ?ou %ill
see#
?es, !& fried, it is useless for &ou to tr& to disguise the fact# I ca
hear
&our brai li"e a telephoe at !& ear# ?ou are sa&ig to &ourself0
1This
fello% %as doig prett& %ell up to his se$eth chapter# He had
begu to
15
iterest !e faitl&# (ut %hat he sa&s about thi"ig i trais, ad
coce'
tratio, ad so o, is ot for !e# It !a& be %ell eough for so!e
fol"s,
but it is4t i !& lie#1
It is for &ou, I passioatel& repeat* it is for &ou# Ideed, &ou are the
$er&
!a I a! ai!ig at#
Thro% a%a& the suggestio, ad &ou thro% a%a& the !ost precious
suggestio that %as e$er o-ered to &ou# It is ot !& suggestio# It
is
the suggestio of the !ost sesible, practical, hard'headed !e
%ho
ha$e %al"ed the earth# I ol& gi$e it &ou at secod'had# Tr& it#
Eet
&our !id i had# Ad see ho% the process cures half the e$ils of
life
''especiall& %orr&, that !iserable, a$oidable, sha!eful disease''
%orr&,
AIII
THE REF7ECTIAE >OOD
The e9ercise of cocetratig the !id :to %hich at least half a
hour a
da& should be gi$e; is a !ere preli!iar&, li"e scales o the
piao#
Ha$ig ac<uired po%er o$er that !ost urul& !e!ber of oe4s
co!ple9
orgais!, oe has aturall& to put it to the &o"e# Gseless to
possess a
obediet !id uless oe pro5ts to the furthest possible degree b&
its
obediece# A prologed pri!ar& course of stud& is idicated#
No% as to %hat this course of stud& should be there caot be a&
<uestio*
there e$er has bee a& <uestio# All the sesible people of all
ages are
agreed upo it# Ad it is ot literature, or is it a& other art, or is
it
histor&, or is it a& sciece# It is the stud& of oe4s self# >a,
"o%
th&self# These %ords are so hac"e&ed that $eril& I blush to %rite
the!#
?et the& !ust be %ritte, for the& eed to be %ritte# :I ta"e bac"
!&
blush, beig asha!ed of it#; >a, "o% th&self# I sa& it out loud#
The
phrase is oe of those phrases %ith %hich e$er&oe is fa!iliar, of
%hich
e$er&oe ac"o%ledges the $alue, ad %hich ol& the !ost
sagacious put
ito practice# I do4t "o% %h&# I a! etirel& co$iced that %hat
is !ore
tha a&thig else lac"ig i the life of the a$erage %ell'
itetioed !a
of to'da& is the re+ecti$e !ood#
=e do ot re+ect# I !ea that %e do ot re+ect upo geuiel&
i!portat
thigs* upo the proble! of our happiess, upo the !ai directio
i %hich
%e are goig, upo %hat life is gi$ig to us, upo the share %hich
reaso has
:or has ot; i deter!iig our actios, ad upo the relatio
bet%ee our
priciples ad our coduct#
Ad &et &ou are i search of happiess, are &ou ot@ Ha$e &ou
disco$ered it@
The chaces are that &ou ha$e ot# The chaces are that &ou ha$e
alread&
co!e to belie$e that happiess is uattaiable# (ut !e ha$e
attaied it#
16
Ad the& ha$e attaied it b& realisig that happiess does ot
sprig fro!
the procurig of ph&sical or !etal pleasure, but fro! the
de$elop!et of
reaso ad the ad)ust!et of coduct to priciples#
I suppose that &ou %ill ot ha$e the audacit& to de& this# Ad if
&ou ad!it
it, ad still de$ote o part of &our da& to the deliberate
cosideratio of &our
reaso, priciples, ad coduct, &ou ad!it also that %hile stri$ig
for a
certai thig &ou are regularl& lea$ig udoe the oe act %hich is
ecessar&
to the attai!et of that thig#
No%, shall I blush, or %ill &ou@
Do ot fear that I !ea to thrust certai priciples upo &our
attetio# I care
ot :i this place; %hat &our priciples are# ?our priciples !a&
iduce &ou to
belie$e i the righteousess of burglar&# I do4t !id# All I urge is
that a life
i %hich coduct does ot fairl& %ell accord %ith priciples is a sill&
life* ad
that coduct ca ol& be !ade to accord %ith priciples b& !eas
of dail&
e9a!iatio, re+ectio, ad resolutio# =hat leads to the
per!aet sorro%'
fuless of burglars is that their priciples are cotrar& to burglar&#
If the&
geuiel& belie$ed i the !oral e9cellece of burglar&, peal
ser$itude %ould
si!pl& !ea so !a& happ& &ears for the!* all !art&rs are happ&
&ears for
the!* all !art&rs are happ&, because their coduct ad their
priciples agree#
As for reaso :%hich !a"es coduct, ad is ot ucoected %ith
the !a"ig
of priciples;, it pla&s a far s!aller part i our li$es tha %e fac&#
=e are
supposed to be reasoable but %e are !uch !ore isticti$e tha
reasoable#
Ad the less %e re+ect, the less reasoable %e shall be# The e9t
ti!e &ou
get cross %ith the %aiter because &our stea" is o$er'coo"ed, as"
reaso to
step ito the cabiet'roo! of &our !id, ad cosult her# She %ill
probabl&
tell &ou that the %aiter did ot coo" the stea", ad had o cotrol
o$er the
coo"ig of the stea"* ad that e$e if he aloe %as to bla!e, &ou
acco!plished
othig good b& gettig cross* &ou !erel& lost &our digit&, loo"ed
a fool i
the e&es of sesible !e, ad soured the %aiter, %hile producig
o e-ect
%hate$er o the stea"#
The result of this cosultatio %ith reaso :for %hich she !a"es o
charge;
%ill be that %he oce !ore &our stea" is o$er'coo"ed &ou %ill
treat the
%aiter as a fello%'creature, re!ai <uite cal! i a "idl& spirit, ad
politel&
isist o ha$ig a fresh stea"# The gai %ill be ob$ious ad solid#
I the for!atio or !odi5catio of priciples, ad the practice of
coduct,
!uch help ca be deri$ed fro! prited boo"s :issued at si9pece
each ad
up%ards;# I !etioed i !& last chapter >arcus Aurelius ad
Epictetus#
Certai e$e !ore %idel& "o% %or"s %ill occur at oce to the
!e!or&#
I !a& also !etio Pascal, 7a (ru&ere, ad E!erso# For !&self,
&ou do
ot catch !e tra$ellig %ithout !& >arcus Aurelius# ?es, boo"s are
17
$aluable# (ut ot readig of boo"s %ill ta"e the place of a dail&,
cadid,
hoest e9a!iatio of %hat oe has recetl& doe, ad %hat oe
is about
to do''of a stead& loo"ig at oe4s self i the face :discocertig
though
the sight !a& be;#
=he shall this i!portat busiess be acco!plished@ The solitude
of the
e$eig )oure& ho!e appears to !e to be suitable for it# A
re+ecti$e
!ood aturall& follo%s the e9ertio of ha$ig eared the da&4s
li$ig#
Of course if, istead of attedig to a ele!etar& ad profoudl&
i!portat
dut&, &ou prefer to read the paper :%hich &ou !ight )ust as %ell
read %hile
%aitig for &our dier; I ha$e othig to sa&# (ut atted to it at
so!e ti!e
of the da& &ou !ust# I o% co!e to the e$eig hours#
ID
INTEREST IN THE ARTS
>a& people pursue a regular ad uiterrupted course of idleess
i
the e$eigs because the& thi" that there is o alterati$e to
idleess
but the stud& of literature* ad the& do ot happe to ha$e a taste
for
literature# This is a great !ista"e#
Of course it is i!possible, or at a& rate $er& di6cult, properl& to
stud&
a&thig %hate$er %ithout the aid of prited boo"s# (ut if &ou
desire to
uderstad the deeper depths of bridge or of boat'sailig &ou
%ould ot
be deterred b& &our lac" of iterest i literature fro! readig the
best
boo"s o bridge or boat'sailig# =e !ust, therefore, distiguish
bet%ee
literature, ad boo"s treatig of sub)ects ot literar&# I shall co!e
to
literature i due course#
7et !e o% re!ar" to those %ho ha$e e$er read >eredith, ad
%ho are
capable of beig u!o$ed b& a discussio as to %hether >r#
Stephe
Phillips is or is ot a true poet, that the& are perfectl& %ithi their
rights#
It is ot a cri!e ot to lo$e literature# It is ot a sig of i!becilit&#
The
!adaris of literature %ill order out to istat e9ecutio the
ufortuate
idi$idual %ho does ot co!prehed, sa&, the i+uece of
=ords%orth o
Te&so# (ut that is ol& their i!pudece# =here %ould the& be,
I %oder,
if re<uested to e9plai the i+ueces that %et to !a"e
Tschai"o%s"&4s
1Pathetic S&!pho&1@
There are eor!ous 5elds of "o%ledge <uite outside literature
%hich
%ill &ield !agi5cet results to culti$ators# For e9a!ple :sice I
ha$e
)ust !etioed the !ost popular piece of high'class !usic i
Eglad
to'da&;, I a! re!ided that the Pro!eade Cocerts begi i
August#
?ou go to the!# ?ou s!o"e &our cigar or cigarette :ad I regret to
sa&
that &ou stri"e &our !atches durig the soft bars of the
17ohegri1
18
o$erture;, ad &ou e)o& the !usic# (ut &ou sa& &ou caot pla&
the
piao or the 5ddle, or e$e the ba)o* that &ou "o% othig of
!usic#
=hat does that !atter@ That &ou ha$e a geuie taste for !usic is
pro$ed b& the fact that, i order to 5ll his hall %ith &ou ad &our
peers,
the coductor is obliged to pro$ide progra!!es fro! %hich bad
!usic
is al!ost etirel& e9cluded :a chage fro! the old Co$et Earde
da&s,;#
No% surel& &our iabilit& to perfor! 1The >aide4s Pra&er1 o a
piao
eed ot pre$et &ou fro! !a"ig &ourself fa!iliar %ith the
costructio
of the orchestra to %hich &ou liste a couple of ights a %ee"
durig a
couple of !oths, As thigs are, &ou probabl& thi" of the
orchestra as a
heterogeeous !ass of istru!ets producig a cofused
agreeable !ass
of soud# ?ou do ot liste for details because &ou ha$e e$er
traied
&our ears to liste to details#
If &ou %ere as"ed to a!e the istru!ets %hich pla& the great
the!e at
the begiig of the C !ior s&!pho& &ou could ot a!e the!
for &our
life4s sa"e# ?et &ou ad!ire the C !ior s&!pho&# It has thrilled
&ou# It
%ill thrill &ou agai# ?ou ha$e e$e tal"ed about it, i a e9pasi$e
!ood,
to that lad&''&ou "o% %ho! I !ea# Ad all &ou ca positi$el&
state
about the C !ior s&!pho& is that (eetho$e co!posed it ad
that it is
a 1)oll& 5e thig#1
No%, if &ou ha$e read, sa&, >r# Qrehbiel4s 1Ho% to 7iste to >usic1
:%hich
ca be got at a& boo"seller4s for less tha the price of a stall at
the Alha!bra,
ad %hich cotais photographs of all the orchestral istru!ets
ad plas of
the arrage!et of orchestras; &ou %ould e9t go to a pro!eade
cocert %ith
a astoishig itesi5catio of iterest i it# Istead of a
cofused !ass, the
orchestra %ould appear to &ou as %hat it is''a !ar$ellousl&
balaced orgais!
%hose $arious groups of !e!bers each ha$e a di-eret ad a
idispesable
fuctio# ?ou %ould sp& out the istru!ets, ad liste for their
respecti$e
souds# ?ou %ould "o% the gulf that separates a Frech hor
fro! a Eglish
hor, ad &ou %ould percei$e %h& a pla&er of the hautbo& gets
higher %ages
tha a 5ddler, though the 5ddle is the !ore di6cult istru!et#
?ou %ould
8li$e8 at a pro!eade cocert, %hereas pre$iousl& &ou had !erel&
e9isted
there i a state of beati5c co!a, li"e a bab& gaNig at a bright
ob)ect#
The foudatios of a geuie, s&ste!atic "o%ledge of !usic
!ight be laid#
?ou !ight specialise &our i<uiries either o a particular for! of
!usic :such
as the s&!pho&;, or o the %or"s of a particular co!poser# At the
ed of a
&ear of fort&'eight %ee"s of three brief e$eigs each, co!bied
%ith a stud&
of progra!!es ad attedaces at cocerts chose out of &our
icreasig
"o%ledge, &ou %ould reall& "o% so!ethig about !usic, e$e
though &ou
%ere as far o- as e$er fro! )aglig 1The >aide4s Pra&er1 o the
piao#
19
1(ut I hate !usic,1 &ou sa&# >& dear sir, I respect &ou#
=hat applies to !usic applies to the other arts# I !ight !etio
>r# Cler!ot
=itt4s 1Ho% to 7oo" at Pictures,1 or >r# Russell Sturgis4s 1Ho% to
Oudge
Architecture,1 as begiigs :!erel& begiigs; of s&ste!atic
$italisig
"o%ledge i other arts, the !aterials for %hose stud& aboud i
7odo#
1I hate all the arts,1 &ou sa&# >& dear sir, I respect &ou !ore ad
!ore#
I %ill deal %ith &our case e9t, before co!ig to literature#

D
NOTHINE IN 7IFE IS HG>DRG>
Art is a great thig# (ut it is ot the greatest# The !ost i!portat
of all
perceptios is the cotiual perceptio of cause ad e-ect'i other
%ords,
the perceptio of the cotiuous de$elop!et of the ui$erse'i
still other
%ords, the perceptio of the course of e$olutio# =he oe has
thoroughl&
got i!bued ito oe4s head the leadig truth that othig happes
%ithout a
cause, oe gro%s ot ol& large'!ided, but large'hearted#
It is hard to ha$e oe4s %atch stole, but oe re+ects that the thief
of the
%atch beca!e a thief fro! causes of heredit& ad e$iro!et
%hich are
as iterestig as the& are scieti5call& co!prehesible* ad oe
bu&s
aother %atch, if ot %ith )o&, at a& rate %ith a philosoph& that
!a"es
bitteress i!possible# Oe loses, i the stud& of cause ad e-ect,
that
absurd air %hich so !a& people ha$e of beig al%a&s shoc"ed
ad paied
b& the curiousess of life# Such people li$e a!id hu!a ature as
if hu!a
ature %ere a foreig coutr& full of a%ful foreig custo!s# (ut,
ha$ig
reached !aturit&, oe ought surel& to be asha!ed of beig a
strager i a
strage lad,
The stud& of cause ad e-ect, %hile it lesses the paifuless of
life, adds
to life4s pictures<ueess# The !a to %ho! e$olutio is but a
a!e loo"s
at the sea as a gradiose, !ootoous spectacle, %hich he ca
%itess i
August for three shilligs third'class retur# The !a %ho is
i!bued %ith
the idea of de$elop!et, of cotiuous cause ad e-ect, percei$es
i the
sea a ele!et %hich i the da&'before'&esterda& of geolog& %as
$apour,
%hich &esterda& %as boilig, ad %hich to'!orro% %ill ie$itabl&
be ice#
He percei$es that a li<uid is !erel& so!ethig o its %a& to be
solid, ad
he is peetrated b& a sese of the tre!edous, chageful
pictures<ueess of
life# Nothig %ill a-ord a !ore durable satisfactio tha the
costatl&
culti$ated appreciatio of this# It is the ed of all sciece#
Cause ad e-ect are to be foud e$er&%here# Rets %et up i
Shepherd4s
(ush# It %as paiful ad shoc"ig that rets should go up i
Shepherd4s
20
(ush# (ut to a certai poit %e are all scieti5c studets of cause
ad e-ect,
ad there %as ot a cler" luchig at a 7&os Restaurat %ho did
ot scieti'
5call& put t%o ad t%o together ad see i the :oce; T%o'pe&
Tube the
cause of a e9cessi$e de!ad for %ig%a!s i Shepherd4s (ush,
ad i the
e9cessi$e de!ad for %ig%a!s the cause of the icrease i the
price of
%ig%a!s#
1Si!ple,1 &ou sa&, disdaifull&# E$er&thig'the %hole co!ple9
!o$e!et
of the ui$erse'is as si!ple as that'%he &ou ca su6cietl& put
t%o ad
t%o together# Ad, !& dear sir, perhaps &ou happe to be a
estate aget4s
cler", ad &ou hate the arts, ad &ou %at to foster &our i!!ortal
soul, ad
&ou ca4t be iterested i &our busiess because it4s so hu!dru!#
Nothig is hu!dru!#
The tre!edous, chageful pictures<ueess of life is !ar$ellousl&
sho%
i a estate aget4s o6ce# =hat, There %as a bloc" of tra6c i
O9ford
Street* to a$oid the bloc" people actuall& bega to tra$el uder the
cellars
ad drais, ad the result %as a rise of rets i Shepherd4s (ush,
Ad &ou
sa& that is4t pictures<ue, Suppose &ou %ere to stud&, i this
spirit, the
propert& <uestio i 7odo for a hour ad a half e$er& other
e$eig#
=ould it ot gi$e Nest to &our busiess, ad trasfor! &our %hole
life@
?ou %ould arri$e at !ore di6cult proble!s# Ad &ou %ould be able
to
tell us %h&, as the atural result of cause ad e-ect, the logest
straight
street i 7odo is about a &ard ad a half i legth, %hile the
logest
absolutel& straight street i Paris e9teds for !iles# I thi" &ou %ill
ad!it that i a estate aget4s cler" I ha$e ot chose a e9a!ple
that
speciall& fa$ours !& theories#
?ou are a ba" cler", ad &ou ha$e ot read that breathless
ro!ace
:disguised as a scieti5c stud&;, =alter (agehot4s 17o!bard
Street1@
Ah, !& dear sir, if &ou had begu %ith that, ad follo%ed it up for
iet&
!iutes e$er& other e$eig, ho% ethrallig &our busiess %ould
be to
&ou, ad ho% !uch !ore clearl& &ou %ould uderstad hu!a
ature#
?ou are 1peed i to%,1 but &ou lo$e e9cursios to the coutr&
ad
the obser$atio of %ild life'certail& a heart'elargig di$ersio#
=h&
do4t &ou %al" out of &our house door, i &our slippers, to the
earest
gas la!p of a ight %ith a butter+& et, ad obser$e the %ild life of
co!!o ad rare !oths that is beatig about it, ad co'ordiate
the
"o%ledge thus obtaied ad build a superstructure o it, ad at
last
get to "o% so!ethig about so!ethig@
?ou eed ot be de$oted to the arts, ot to literature, i order to
li$e full&#
The %hole 5eld of dail& habit ad scee is %aitig to satisf& that
curiosit&
%hich !eas life, ad the satisfactio of %hich !eas a
uderstadig heart#
21
I pro!ised to deal %ith &our case, O !a %ho hates art ad
literature, ad
I ha$e dealt %ith it# I o% co!e to the case of the perso, happil&
$er&
co!!o, %ho does 1li"e readig#1
DI
SERIOGS READINE
No$els are e9cluded fro! 1serious readig,1 so that the !a %ho,
bet o
self'i!pro$e!et, has bee decidig to de$ote iet& !iutes
three ti!es
a %ee" to a co!plete stud& of the %or"s of Charles Dic"es %ill be
%ell
ad$ised to alter his plas# The reaso is ot that o$els are ot
serious''
so!e of the great literature of the %orld is i the for! of prose
5ctio''
the reaso is that bad o$els ought ot to be read, ad that good
o$els
e$er de!ad a& appreciable !etal applicatio o the part of
the reader#
It is ol& the bad parts of >eredith4s o$els that are di6cult# A
good o$el
rushes &ou for%ard li"e a s"i- do% a strea!, ad &ou arri$e at the
ed,
perhaps breathless, but ue9hausted# The best o$els i$ol$e the
least
strai# No% i the culti$atio of the !id oe of the !ost
i!portat factors
is precisel& the feelig of strai, of di6cult&, of a tas" %hich oe
part of &ou
is a9ious to achie$e ad aother part of &ou is a9ious to shir"*
ad that f
eelig caot be got i facig a o$el# ?ou do ot set &our teeth i
order to
read 1Aa Qareia#1 Therefore, though &ou should read o$els,
&ou should
ot read the! i those iet& !iutes#
I!agiati$e poetr& produces a far greater !etal strai tha
o$els# It
produces probabl& the se$erest strai of a& for! of literature# It
is the
highest for! of literature# It &ields the highest for! of pleasure,
ad
teaches the highest for! of %isdo!# I a %ord, there is othig to
co!pare %ith it# I sa& this %ith sad cosciousess of the fact that
the
!a)orit& of people do ot read poetr&#
I a! persuaded that !a& e9cellet persos, if the& %ere
cofroted
%ith the alterati$es of readig 1Paradise 7ost1 ad goig roud
Trafalgar S<uare at ooda& o their "ees i sac"'cloth, %ould
choose the ordeal of public ridicule# Still, I %ill e$er cease
ad$isig
!& frieds ad ee!ies to read poetr& before a&thig#
If poetr& is %hat is called 1a sealed boo"1 to &ou, begi b& readig
HaNlitt4s fa!ous essa& o the ature of 1poetr& i geeral#1 It is
the
best thig of its "id i Eglish, ad o oe %ho has read it ca
possibl&
be uder the !isapprehesio that poetr& is a !ediae$al torture,
or a
!ad elephat, or a gu that %ill go o- b& itself ad "ill at fort&
paces#
Ideed, it is di6cult to i!agie the !etal state of the !a %ho,
after
readig HaNlitt4s essa&, is ot urgetl& desirous of readig so!e
poetr&
before his e9t !eal# If the essa& so ispires &ou I %ould suggest
that
&ou !a"e a co!!ece!et %ith purel& arrati$e poetr&#
There is a i5itel& 5er Eglish o$el, %ritte b& a %o!a, tha
22
a&thig b& Eeorge Eliot or the (rotes, or e$e Oae Auste,
%hich
perhaps &ou ha$e ot read# Its title is 1Aurora 7eigh,1 ad its
author
E#(# (ro%ig# It happes to be %ritte i $erse, ad to cotai a
cosiderable a!out of geuiel& 5e poetr&# Decide to read that
boo" through, e$e if &ou die for it# Forget that it is 5e poetr&#
Read it si!pl& for the stor& ad the social ideas# Ad %he &ou
ha$e doe, as" &ourself hoestl& %hether &ou still disli"e poetr&#
I ha$e "o% !ore tha oe perso to %ho! 1Aurora 7eigh1 has
bee the !eas of pro$ig that i assu!ig the& hated poetr&
the&
%ere etirel& !ista"e#
Of course, if, after HaNlitt, ad such a e9peri!et !ade i the
light
of HaNlitt, &ou are 5all& assured that there is so!ethig i &ou
%hich
is atagoistic to poetr&, &ou !ust be cotet %ith histor& or
philosoph&#
I shall regret it, &et ot icosolabl&# 1The Declie ad Fall1 is ot
to be
a!ed i the sa!e da& %ith 1Paradise 7ost,1 but it is a $astl&
prett& thig*
ad Herbert Specer4s 1First Priciples1 si!pl& laughs at the clai!s
of
poetr& ad refuses to be accepted as aught but the !ost !a)estic
product
of a& hu!a !id# I do ot suggest that either of these %or"s is
suitable
for a t&ro i !etal strais# (ut I see o reaso %h& a& !a of
a$erage
itelligece should ot, after a &ear of cotiuous readig, be 5t to
assault
the supre!e !asterpieces of histor& or philosoph&# The great
co$eiece
of !asterpieces is that the& are so astoishigl& lucid#
I suggest o particular %or" as a start# The atte!pt %ould be futile
i the
space of !& co!!ad# (ut I ha$e t%o geeral suggestios of a
certai
i!portace# The 5rst is to de5e the directio ad scope of &our
e-orts#
Choose a li!ited period, or a li!ited sub)ect, or a sigle author#
Sa& to
&ourself0 1I %ill "o% so!ethig about the Frech Re$olutio, or
the
rise of rail%a&s, or the %or"s of Ooh Qeats#1 Ad durig a gi$e
period,
to be settled beforehad, co5e &ourself to &our choice# There is
!uch
pleasure to be deri$ed fro! beig a specialist#
The secod suggestio is to thi" as %ell as to read# I "o% people
%ho
read ad read, ad for all the good it does the! the& !ight )ust as
%ell
cut bread'ad'butter# The& ta"e to readig as better !e ta"e to
dri"#
The& +& through the shires of literature o a !otor'car, their sole
ob)ect
beig !otio# The& %ill tell &ou ho% !a& boo"s the& ha$e read i
a &ear#
Gless &ou gi$e at least fort&'5$e !iutes to careful, fatiguig
re+ectio
:it is a a%ful bore at 5rst; upo %hat &ou are readig, &our iet&
!iutes
of a ight are chie+& %asted# This !eas that &our pace %ill be
slo%#
Ne$er !id#
Forget the goal* thi" ol& of the surroudig coutr&* ad after a
period,
perhaps %he &ou least e9pect it, &ou %ill suddel& 5d &ourself i
a lo$el&
to% o a hill#
23
DII
DANEERS TO AAOID
I caot ter!iate these hits, ofte, I fear, too didactic ad
abrupt, upo
the full use of oe4s ti!e to the great ed of li$ig :as distiguished
fro!
$egetatig; %ithout brie+& referrig to certai dagers %hich lie i
%ait
for the sicere aspirat to%ards life# The 5rst is the terrible dager
of
beco!ig that !ost odious ad least supportable of persos''a
prig#
No% a prig is a pert fello% %ho gi$es hi!self airs of superior
%isdo!#
A prig is a po!pous fool %ho has goe out for a cere!oial %al",
ad
%ithout "o%ig it has lost a i!portat part of his attire, a!el&,
his
sese of hu!our# A prig is a tedious idi$idual %ho, ha$ig !ade a
disco$er&, is so i!pressed b& his disco$er& that he is capable of
beig
gra$el& displeased because the etire %orld is ot also i!pressed
b& it#
Gcosciousl& to beco!e a prig is a eas& ad a fatal thig#
Hece, %he oe sets forth o the eterprise of usig all oe4s
ti!e, it is
)ust as %ell to re!e!ber that oe4s o% ti!e, ad ot other
people4s ti!e,
is the !aterial %ith %hich oe has to deal* that the earth rolled o
prett&
co!fortabl& before oe bega to balace a budget of the hours,
ad that it
%ill cotiue to roll o prett& co!fortabl& %hether or ot oe
succeeds i
oe4s e% role of chacellor of the e9che<uer of ti!e# It is as %ell
ot to
chatter too !uch about %hat oe is doig, ad ot to betra& a too'
paied
sadess at the spectacle of a %hole %orld deliberatel& %astig so
!a&
hours out of e$er& da&, ad therefore e$er reall& li$ig# It %ill be
foud,
ulti!atel&, that i ta"ig care of oe4s self oe has <uite all oe
ca do#
Aother dager is the dager of beig tied to a progra!!e li"e a
sla$e to
a chariot# Oe4s progra!!e !ust ot be allo%ed to ru a%a& %ith
oe#
It !ust be respected, but it !ust ot be %orshipped as a fetish# A
progra!!e
of dail& e!plo& is ot a religio#
This see!s ob$ious# ?et I "o% !e %hose li$es are a burde to
the!sel$es
ad a distressig burde to their relati$es ad frieds si!pl&
because the&
ha$e failed to appreciate the ob$ious# 1Oh, o,1 I ha$e heard the
!art&red
%ife e9clai!, 1Arthur al%a&s ta"es the dog out for e9ercise at eight
o4cloc"
ad he al%a&s begis to read at a <uarter to ie# So it4s <uite out
of the
<uestio that %e should# # #1 etc#, etc# Ad the ote of absolute
5alit& i
that plaiti$e $oice re$eals the ususpected ad ridiculous traged&
of a career#
O the other had, a progra!!e is a progra!!e# Ad uless it is
treated
%ith deferece it ceases to be a&thig but a poor )o"e# To treat
oe4s
progra!!e %ith e9actl& the right a!out of deferece, to li$e %ith
ot
too !uch ad ot too little elasticit&, is scarcel& the si!ple a-air it
!a&
appear to the ie9perieced#
24
Ad still aother dager is the dager of de$elopig a polic& of
rush, of
beig graduall& !ore ad !ore obsessed b& %hat oe has to do
e9t# I
this %a& oe !a& co!e to e9ist as i a priso, ad oes life !a&
cease to
be oe4s o%# Oe !a& ta"e the dog out for a %al" at eight
o4cloc", ad
!editate the %hole ti!e o the fact that oe !ust begi to read at
a <uarter
to ie, ad that oe !ust ot be late#
Ad the occasioal deliberate brea"ig of oe4s progra!!e %ill ot
help
to !ed !atters# The e$il sprigs ot fro! persistig %ithout
elasticit&
i %hat oe has atte!pted, but fro! origiall& atte!ptig too
!uch, fro!
5llig oe4s progra!!e till it rus o$er# The ol& cure is to
recostitute
the progra!!e, ad to atte!pt less#
(ut the appetite for "o%ledge gro%s b& %hat it feeds o, ad
there are
!e %ho co!e to li"e a costat breathless hurr& of edea$our#
Of the!
it !a& be said that a costat breathless hurr& is better tha a
eteral doNe#
I a& case, if the progra!!e e9hibits a tedec& to be
oppressi$e, ad
&et oe %ishes ot to !odif& it, a e9cellet palliati$e is to pass
%ith
e9aggerated deliberatio fro! oe portio of it to aother* for
e9a!ple,
to sped 5$e !iutes i perfect !etal <uiescece bet%ee
chaiig up
the St# (erard ad opeig the boo"* i other %ords, to %aste 5$e
!iutes %ith the etire cosciousess of %astig the!#
The last, ad chiefest dager %hich I %ould idicate, is oe to
%hich I
ha$e alread& referred''the ris" of a failure at the co!!ece!et of
the
eterprise#
I !ust isist o it#
A failure at the co!!ece!et !a& easil& "ill outright the
e%bor
i!pulse to%ards a co!plete $italit&, ad therefore e$er&
precautio
should be obser$ed to a$oid it# The i!pulse !ust ot be o$er'
ta9ed#
7et the pace of the 5rst lap be e$e absurdl& slo%, but let it be as
regular as possible#
Ad, ha$ig oce decided to achie$e a certai tas", achie$e it at all
costs
of tediu! ad distaste# The gai i self'co5dece of ha$ig
acco!plished
a tireso!e labour is i!!ese#
Fiall&, i choosig the 5rst occupatios of those e$eig hours, be
guided
b& othig %hate$er but &our taste ad atural icliatio#
It is a 5e thig to be a %al"ig ec&clopaedia of philosoph&, but if
&ou
happe to ha$e o li"ig for philosoph&, ad to ha$e a li"e for the
atural
histor& of street'cries, !uch better lea$e philosoph& aloe, ad
ta"e to
street'cries#
25

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