Saturday, August 06, 2022


Wasted Time

A.G. Sertillanges (1863-1948), The Intellectual Life, tr. Mary Ryan (Westminster: The Newman Press, 1960), pp. 7-8:
In the first free years after early studies, when the ground of our intelligence has been newly turned-up, and the seed sown, what splendid tillage could be undertaken! That is the time that will never come again, the time that we shall have to live on by and by. What it is, we shall be; for we can hardly put down new roots. The future is always the heir of the past; the penalty for neglecting, at the right time, to prepare it, is to live on the surface of things. Let each one think of that, while thinking may be of some avail.

How many young people, with the pretension to become workers, miserably waste their days, their strength, the vigor of their intelligence, their ideal! Either they do not work—there is time enough!—or they work badly, capriciously, without knowing what they are nor where they want to go nor how to get there. Lectures, reading, choice of companions, the proper proportion of work and rest, of solitude and activity, of general culture and specialization, the spirit of study, the art of picking out and utilizing data gained, some provisional output which will give an idea of what the future work is to be, the virtues to be acquired and developed,—nothing of all that is thought out and no satisfactory fulfillment will follow.

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