“Whatever project you can dream of or imagine, begin it now – for boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ( August 28, 1749 to March 22, 1832) (paraphrased)
Goethe was a genius and a polymath. He made major contributions in the areas of poetry, literature, drama, philosophy, and other fields. I just read in Wikipedia earlier today that he originated the idea of a “world literature.”
His novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) was one of my favorite novels when I was in my late teens and 20’s; it is still on a bookshelf of favorites. This novel is over 235 years old, and it is still being read!
This quote is powerful and inspirational, and it sings down the ages from Goethe and his time to us.
In a time of economic hardship for many people, there is an urge to hunker down, tighten belts, and allow our hopes and personal worlds to contract. It may seem to be enough to fight off desperation.
However, I will argue that it is a time of enormous potential and enormous innovation. I would add that it is a time calling for change and transformation.
What would you begin? Can you network with others on an idea you have had for improving things and for making things better? Can you make a phone call or two? Can you write an email or two about your project or dream and ask for support and assistance? Can you bring your work closer to alignment with your personal values? Can you sign up for a course? Can you teach a course?
Have we truly read or heard this quote so many times that we are reluctant to believe it or to carry through with what it asks of us?
I cannot believe that.
I’m not sure that we’re reluctant to believe. I think as the pace of life has sped up, as communities have split apart–people have trouble feeling a part (rather than apart) of something and have trouble figuring out how to make the time. This isn’t to say it is not worth trying but to explain that when people are struggling to gain control over their own lives they often let others things slide.
But yes, small things ripple through communities. You should check out PBS’s “This Emotional Life”. I believe the last of the three parts talked about a long term study on the effects of people’s emotional states through their social networks.
Hi C. R. Lanei, thank you for your thoughtful comment.
Your comments are always thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Press on with your writing and your projects!
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