Posts Tagged ‘study’
On hearing that Ismenias was an excellent flute player Antisthenes answered:
“But he must be a worthless man,for if he were not, he would not be such a capital flute-player!” King Philip of Macedon, when his son played brilliantly and agreeably on the harp at an entertainment, said to him, “Are you not ashamed, to play so well?” Plutarch said that it was enough for a king, if he sometimes employed his leisure in listening to musicians.
Think how a timely reproof changed Alexander the great to concentrate on things worthwhile? There was nothing that earmarked him to be world conqueror. But he conquered his own inclinations and mind in order to pursue what was important. From skirmishes he graduated to lead men in war and honed his skills to lead them well. His father made him see where his true interest ought to be. Life being short one ought to have his or her priorities right.
‘Reach for the stars’ implies that it is addressed to those who are earth-bound. By developing full potential doesn’t mean growing in all directions. Michelangelo was versatile with words and chisel. His verses showed his talent but his genius shone through sculpture. We know him as painter of the Sistine chapel ceiling and as the sculptor of David. Being able to play Jews-harp is all right but for an orator like Demosthenes excellence in it is at the cost of something more profound and noble.
Plutarch writes thus in his life of Pericles thus: One day in Rome, Caesar, seeing some rich foreigners nursing and petting young lap-dog and monkeys, enquired whether in their parts of
the world the women bore no children: a truly imperial reproof to those who waste on animals the affection which they ought to bestow upon mankind. May we not equally blame those who waste the curiosity and love of knowledge which belongs to human nature, by directing it to worthless, not to useful objects? It is indeed unavoidable that external objects, whether good or bad, should produce some effect upon our senses; but every man is able, if he chooses, to concentrate his mind upon any subject he may please. For this reason we ought to seek virtue, not merely in order to contemplate it, but that we may ourselves derive some benefit from so doing.
He who waters the rosebush and spends pruning it shall have some of its fragrance cling to him.