The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. -Psalm 46:6

the easiest side of the easy

Posted: August 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on the easiest side of the easy

I am revisiting, after too long a separation, Ranier Maria Rilke’s slim volume Letters to a Young Poet. This passage, penned just over 100 years ago, brings into tighter focus how we have, with little discernible controversy, allowed the value of ease to take its relatively secure place among the core values of our age:

And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact that there is something in you that wants to move out of it. This very wish, if you use it calmly and prudently and like a tool, will help you spread out your solitude over a great distance. Most people have (with the help of conventions) turned their solutions toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.


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