Friday, July 17, 2009
The Path Less Trod
In looking at the writers of our early nation, I chose some that I thought I knew. As I read about them and their passions, I have grown to respect them even more. This week, I'm spotlighting John Adams. Here is a quote from one of his writings:
Man is distinguished from other animals, his fellow inhabitants of this planet, by a capacity of acquiring knowledge and civility, more than by any excellency, corporeal, or mental, with which mere nature has furnished his species. His erect figure and sublime countenance would give him but little elevation above the bear or the tiger; nay, notwithstanding those advantages, he would hold an inferior rank in the scale of being, and would have a worse prospect of happiness than those creatures, were it not for the capacity of uniting with others, and availing himself of arts and inventions in social life. As he comes originally from the hands of his Creator, self-love or self-preservation is the only spring that moves within him; he might crop the leaves or berries with which his Creator had surrounded him, to satisfy his hunger; he might sip at the lake or rivulet to slake his thirst; he might screen himself behind a rock or mountain from the bleakest of the winds; or he might fly from the jaws of voracious beasts to preserve himself from immediate destruction. But would such an existence be worth preserving? Would not the first precipice or the first beast of prey that could put a period to the wants, the frights, and horrors of such a wretched being, be a friendly object and a real blessing?
I thought this was an amazing piece. I love the language with which he speaks, the picture he vividly paints and the expression of gratitude for a divine being.
I hope you'll look up some of his works and get to know him better. I'll surprise you with next weeks' spotlight.