Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Is there anything more soothing — or more inspirational?

  • By Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

¶ Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of  time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.


¶ Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

¶ You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

¶ With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann said he wrote Desiderata (Latin: "desired things", plural of desideratum), for himself "because it counsels those virtues I felt most in need of".

Ehrmann (pictured left), a Harvard-schooled philosopher and lawyer, wrote it in 1927 and copyrighted it that year. Largely unknown in the author's lifetime, the text became widely known, according to the entry in Wikipedia, after its use in a devotional, after subsequently being found at Adlai Stevenson's deathbed in 1965, and after spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972. 

More details are available on Wikipedia here.

Reading "Desiderata" can make your day, every day

By Commitscion Saumya Iyer
(Class of 2014)

I absolutely loved this piece!

For people like me, who wallow in perpetual self doubt, it’s something you know instinctively and take for granted; it's something somebody tells you every now and then but you pay no heed. However, reading it all at once certainly resonated with me as it finally struck me that I need to have more confidence in myself and in my abilities (even though I might dive back into my shell of self doubt from time to time).

I think it is a must to have a giant-sized print of "Desiderata" up on your wall so that the moment you wake up, the first thing you read is this. And, honestly, it would just make your day, like it did mine.

UPDATE (October 27, 2012): I received this message from American artist Sherrie Lovler today: "Desiderata is a wonderful piece to read daily, and the image you have posted here is my art and it is available for purchase, so you can have it hanging on your wall. For permission to use my artwork on your blog, I simply ask for a link to my site from the image. Thank you for spreading these great words by Max Ehrmann."

Thank you for alerting me to my lapse, Sherrie. I am more than happy to provide a link to your elegant artwork in the caption to the image (see above).

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