Friday, March 29, 2013

Intellectual Excellence

On the Importance of the Intellect

I. It becomes all men, who desire to excel other animals,[1] to strive, to the utmost of their power,[2] not to pass through life in obscurity, [3] like the beasts of the field,[4] which nature has formed groveling[5] and subservient to appetite.

All our power is situate in the mind and in the body.[6] Of the mind we rather employ the government;[7] of the body the service.[8] The one is common to us with the gods; the other with the brutes. It appears to me, therefore, more reasonable[9]to pursue glory by means of the intellect than of bodily strength, and, since the life which we enjoy is short, to make the remembrance of us as lasting as possible. For the glory of wealth and beauty is fleeting and perishable; that of intellectual power is illustrious and immortal.[10]

Yet it was long a subject of dispute among mankind, whether military efforts were more advanced by strength of body, or by force of intellect. For, in affairs of war, it is necessary to plan before beginning to act,[11] and, after planning, to act with promptitude and vigor.[12] Thus, each[13] being insufficient of itself, the one requires the assistance of the other.[14]


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