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Desiderata: Go Placidly Amidst The Noise
Desiderata: Go Placidly Amidst The Noise And Haste
Many of us recognise the opening of Desiderata immediately, many of us pause a moment and think, then realise we know them from somewhere. We think what a sonorous line it is. It's almost hippyish but it isn't. It's, well it's just right, somehow.
I've heard followers of Buddha say Max Ehrmann's Desiderata encapsulates their religion, Christians saying the same. Other major religions can accept it without violating their own codes. I doubt if anyone could mention another work like it that appeals to so many. I'm an agnostic but I've admired the words for many years. I dislike being preached at but I think it expresses the way I'd like to live my life. I might not always manage it but Desiderata always reminds me gently that I'm straying from myself..
Desiderata In Full: Max Ehrmann's Classic
Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to 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 or 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 not this 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 labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy
Desiderata: Relevant Today?
Good insight and wisdom don't really go out of fashion and can usually be applied to situations occurring here and now. Check out the pic on this module: that wouldn't be happening if there wasn't current demand!
"Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. "
From the noisy so-and-so next to you on the rush-hour train to the annoying poster on forums, what better advice could you have? The lonely old woman on the bus, the Big Issue seller, don't ignore them - speak to them, they're people. And you'll be amazed what you hear sometimes.
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.
Difficult, this one, unless you win the lottery, And even then you'll find out that a few million isn't that much, not when the most expensive aprtment in London is Â£143 million ... Small house - I'm comfortable. Prints on the walls - would the originals be better? A CD's the same whether you're rich or poor, so's a book to read.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Don't cross your bridges before you come to them. Don't make decisions if you're in the wrong frame of mind.
Pick any line from Desiderata and see how many ways there are of restating it. See how many proverbs and sayings echo it. See what situations you can think of where it's relevant.
And see how it fits in with your religion, code of ethics or other value system.
What Do You Think?
Max Ehrmann: Author Of Desiderata
Max Ehrmann was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1872. He studied law and philosophy at Harvard and returned home to practise law. In his life he wrote many poems though none achieved fame until after his death.
He was assistant DA in Terre Haute, then went into the family business (meat-packing), went into an overalls business and retired at age 40 to write poetry, He died in 1945.
Desiderata ("things that are yearned for") was written in 1927. Ehrmann included it in a Christmas message to friends in 1933 and gave a copy to a local church, US Army psychiatrist Merill Moore wrote in 1942 to Ehrmann that he used the Desiderata poem in his therapy work with wounded and mentally-disturbed soldiers. Moore later wrote to Ehrmann suggesting that the poem should be bottled and sold as 'Dr Ehrmann's Magic Soul Medicine'.
Unlikely Pop Charter
In 1971/1972 Les Crane (see wiki info) had a chart hit with Desiderata -- much to his and everyone else's surprise.
Since then it has been recorded in everything from Spanish to Greek and sold in the millions.
Desiderata On Amazon
Pleasant booklet of 48 pages with black and white line drawings
8.5" x 11" poster of Desiderata, suitable for many decorating schemes.
Main illustrations used are from the Zazzle shop Digital Dreams, used with permission.