If the Internet had existed in 1927, Max Ehrmann would have simply put his little masterpiece into a broadcast email, and it would have been forwarded around the world and famous in a very short time. Instead, he let it sit in his desk drawer or bedroom until he died, at which time his wife found it while sorting through his papers. She had it published in a little book of his poems, but it remained virtually unknown. Later, apparently, a myth developed that it had been written anonymously and secreted into the wall of a St. Paul's Cathedral in 1692, and with that myth, the masterwork became famous around the world. Here it is:
Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to 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 or 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 not this 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
--- Max Ehrmann, 1927
LET US FAST FORWARD NOW TO 2011. With the advent of the Internet. unknown authors nowadays can self-publish their little masterpieces in blogs or e-mails. For example, here's one that I saw today and liked. It was forwarded to me by a very good friend Josh. Josh is a pathologist in Silver Spring, Maryland. The author unknown:
I Am the Democratic Liberal-Progressive's Worst Nightmare.
I am a Conservative, Tax-Paying, American Veteran, Gun Owning Biker.
I am a Master leatherworker. I work hard and long hours with my hands to earn a living.
I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don't push it on others.
I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles, and drive American-made cars, and I believe in American products and buy them whenever I can.
I believe the money I make belongs to me and not some liberal governmental functionary, Democratic or Republican, that wants to share it with others who don't work!
I'm in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!
I think owning a gun doesn't make you a killer; it makes you a smart American.
I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it!
I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac or any other item, you should do it in English.
If this makes me a BAD American, then yes, I'm a BAD American.
If you are a BAD American too, please forward this to everyone you know....We want our country back! My Country..... I hope this offends all illegal aliens.
My great, great, great, great grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in the Revolution & the War of 1812. My great, great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Mexican American War. My great, great grandfather watched as his friends & brothers died in the Civil War. My great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Spanish-American War. My grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I. My father watched as his friends died in WW II.
I watched as my friends died in Vietnam, Panama & Desert Storm. My son watched & bled as his friends died in Afghanistan and Iraq . None of them died for the Mexican Flag. Everyone died for the American flag.
Texas high school students raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole, other students took it down. Guess who was expelled...the students who took it down.
California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo, because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.
Enough is enough! This message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America .
We've bent over to appease the America-haters long enough. I'm taking a stand.
I'm standing up because of the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the American flag.If you agree, stand up with me. If you disagree, please let me know. I will gladly remove you from my e-mail list.
And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.
AMERICANS, stop giving away Your RIGHTS !
Let me make this clear! THIS IS MY COUNTRY !
This statement DOES NOT mean I'm against immigration !
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legal!
1. Get a sponsor !
2. Learn the LANGUAGE, as immigrants have in the past !
3. Live by OUR rules !
4. Get a job !
5. Pay YOUR Taxes !
6. No Social Security until you have earned it and Paid for it !
7. NOW find a place to lay your head !
If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone, then YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !
We've gone so far the other way . . . bent over backwards not to offend anyone.
I want to know which church is it, exactly, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson preaches, where he gets his money, and why he is always part of the problem and not the solution?
Can I get an AMEN on that one?
I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you're breaking the law, regardless of what color you are, but not just because you happen to ride a bike.
And, no, I don't mind having my face shown on my driver's license. I think it's good.... And I'm proud that 'God' is written on my money..
I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don't want you deciding who should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.
I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making 'donations' to their cause.... Get a job and do your part to support yourself and your family!
I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes two parents....I believe 'illegal' is illegal no matter what the lawyers think!
I believe the American flag should be the only one allowed in AMERICA ! I believe there should be no other language option.
I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.
My heroes are Malcolm Forbes, Bill Gates, John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Willie G. Davidson, who makes the awesome Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor.
I know wrestling is fake and I don't waste my time watching or arguing about it.
I've never owned a slave, nor was I a slave. I haven't burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks, and neither have you!
I believe if you don't like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country!
This is AMERICA ...We like it the way it is and more so the way it was ...so stop trying to change it to look like Russia or China , or some other socialist country!
If you were born here and don't like it... you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you. (And take Barack Hussein Obama and his group with you.) Massachusetts started the ball rolling. Keep it going.I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the White House, the seat of our biggest problems.
Made in the U S A and DARN PROUD OF IT!!!!!
Only AMERICANS seems to care when American Citizens are being offended !
WAKE UP America ! ! !
If you do not Pass this on, may your fingers cramp !
[End of E-Mail]
I like that piece. It is passionate; It is elegant in it's own rough hewn way; and it covers a lot of intellectual territory. I suggest that you think about passing it along!!