30: The Choice

Then: 13 January 1858, London. At the end of Ruskin’s lecture on “The Deterioritive Power of Conventional Art over Nations.” A challenge to his audience–as well as to himself, at a serious crossroads. The challenge.

Now: 23 November 2014.

Make then your choice, boldly and consciously. For one way or other it must be made. On the dark and dangerous side are set the pride which delights in self-contemplation, the indolence which rests in unquestioned forms, the ignorance that despises what is fairest among God’s creatures, and the dullness that denies what is marvelous in His working: a life of monotony for your own souls and of misguiding for those of others.  And, on the other side, is open to your choice the life of the crowned spirit, moving as a light in creation—discovering always, illuminating always, gaining every hour in strength, yet bowed down every hour into deeper humility; sure of being right in its aim, sure of being irresistible in its progress; happy in what it has securely done—happier in what, day by day, it may as securely hope; happiest at the close of life…to remember that there was never a touch of the chisel or the pencil it wielded but has added to the knowledge and quickened the happiness of mankind.

Be well out there.




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