42: The Essence of Work

Good Friends,

As I’ve mentioned, every day, for this purpose or that, I troll about in the myriad Ruskin waters. Sometimes I find what I am looking for, sometimes it finds me, the latter experience being as delightful as the first. Today, quite suddenly (the very definition of serendipity!), I stumbled on this little bit from Modern Painters III (1854).

We all work. This seems to me to capture the essence of it (when it is right work) just beautifully.

[The] originality that men strain after is not newness (there is nothing new); it is only genuineness. It all depends on this single glorious facility of getting to the spring of things and working out from that. It is the coolness and clearness and deliciousness of water fresh from the fountainhead, as opposed to the thick, hot, unrefreshing drainage from other men’s meadows.


Back to work.



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1 Response to 42: The Essence of Work

  1. Tim Holton says:

    He wonderfully echoes here his master, Carlyle, who said, “The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity,” but Ruskin is so much more colorful! I had never seen this quote of Ruskin’s before, but the words “thick, hot, unrefreshing drainage from other men’s meadows” is truly wonderful!

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