Interim

In the time since my last post I have packed up one apartment, said goodbyes, and traveled to New York to move into a new apartment with the help of a few good family members and friends (Thanks!).

Until I can get my thoughts in order (which will follow getting my apartment in order), here are some words from Jean-Jacques, the narrator in Rousseau's Emile. They do not advise an easy life, but the seem to believe in a beautiful one. About a year ago I was convinced of this path to happiness, now I wonder if any sort of happiness must involve a healthy dose of disenchantment...

My son, there is no happiness without courage, nor virtue without a struggle. The word virtue is derived from a word signifying strength, and strength is the foundation of all virtue. Virtue is the heritage of a creature weak by nature but strong by will.

The illusions of pride are the source of our greatest ills; but the contemplation of human suffering keeps the wise humble. He keeps to his proper place and makes no attempt to depart from it; he does not waste his strength in getting what he cannot keep; and his whole strength being devoted to the right employment of what he has, he is in reality richer and more powerful in proportion as he desires less than we.

Would you live in wisdom and happiness, fix your heart on the beauty that is eternal; let your desires be limited by your position, let your duties take precedence of your wishes; extend the law of necessity into the region of morals; learn to lose what may be taken from you; learn to forsake all things at the command of virtue, to set yourself above the chances of life, to detach your heart before it is torn in pieces, to be brave in adversity so that you may never be wretched, to be steadfast in duty that you may never be guilty of a crime.