Optimism: “The Lesson of Ages”

Optimism: “The Lesson of Ages”

Printed: 11.99 $eBook: 4.99 $
Genres: Academics, Non-Fiction, Reference Books, Science & Nature & Philosophy Books
Publisher: e-Kitap Projesi & Cheapest Books
Publication Year: 2015
Format: (eBook + Printed)
Length: English, 8.5" x 11" (17 x 27 cm), 130 pages
ASIN: 1508897689
ISBN: 9781508897682

A fancy overtakes us at times to question our presumption in writing a book. Wherein are we beter than another, that we should attempt to doctor another? We look over the matter-of-fact world and find it impossible to make a show, unless we have something to exhibit: Yet here are we who can fiddle little, and fife less-who cannot turn somersets, as we could once when we were less fit to write a book -who cannot commit by the page like an actor, nor play cbess witb a third-rate,-in short who cannot prove our ability by any standard feat whatsoever, proposing to indoctrinate many who can do all these things into the deepest mysteries of life!

About the Book

It is indeed a question, Why should we write a book ? -We have but one encouragement without our own conceit, which is, that few, if any, of the accepted wits of the past were ever excellent in the positive feats which we have mentioned. They seem to have possessed an acknowledged. Greatness in their general health, harmony, or proportion of mind, to whose consciousness pleasant truth was congenial, and came through some subtlety of attraction. This harmony or health of soul must comprise something of that delicate presence called genius : and here is our encouragement- that although we have few, if any, notable specialities to boast of, we may have a very excellent genius nevertheless. And if it shall be found that even genius, to possess truth, must go about and coart its vicinity somewhat; we sball exalt our horn a little, because of experience of various sorts that we have encountered more than most writers-experience of the varieties and extremities of outer and inner life.  

In this particular we can boast of having been poor enough to believe that appetite was ever sufficient, and that means to gratify it were the only requisites of contentment, and rich enough to wish us compelled to bard labor to win again the appetites that once annoyed us. So our book may have in it the wit of both 'wealth and poverty'. We have lain at death's door and knocked for admission; and we have wished to live on earth forever. So our book may contain the wisdom of health and of sickness. We have been heart-sick, melancholy, and despairing for months; and we baYe known spirits for years together which have defied calamity, pain, and care, and in which even now we are taking our immortality at leisure. So our book may contain something of madness if uot of sanity. 

And we have held many opinions in course, and followed many occupations: we have been actor, artist, solicitor, playwright, poet, metaphysician, farmer and machinist ; we have lectured, published, and preached a little ; we have showed; gambled, a.nd shyed our cap in the prize ring. Surely our book shall have the wit of the vagabond.-To the philanthropist who would reproach so reckless and aimless a life, there is this consolation, that it hath compassed but twenty-eight years, by God's mercy; and time seems left us to amend. Yet for our own sake we would not recall nor re-live one hour of the past, if this book's success shall crown our martyred respectability- which, living, had kept us incompetent to the task before us. We have heard that the Rolling stone gathers no moss; but we shall have lived to learn that the polish of locomotion compensates the want of the rich moss that grows only on quiet and stability, and shall Batter ourself that only ll stone gf some symmetry has any tendency to roll.

About the Author
Benjamin Paul Blood

Benjamin Paul Blood (1832 – 1919) was an American philosopher and poet. He was born in Amsterdam, New York. His father, John Blood, was a prosperous landowner. Blood was known as an intelligent man but an unfocused one. He described himself: I was born here in Amsterdam. My father was a land holder of 700 acres [2.8 km²] here, adjoining the city on both sides of the river, and lived, as I now live, in a large brick house on the south bank of the Mohawk visible as you enter Amsterdam from the east. I was his only child, and went a good deal my own way. I ran to machinery, by fancy; patented among other devices a swathing reaper which is very successful. I was of loose and wandering ways. And was a successful gambler through the Tweed regime -- made 'bar'ls' of money, and threw it away. I was a fancy gymnast also, and have had some heavy fights, notable one of forty minutes with Ed. Mullett, whom I left senseless.

This was mere fancy. I never lifted an angry hand against man, woman or child -- all fun -- for me. ....I do farming in a way, but am much idle. I have been a sort of pet of the city, and think I should be missed. In a large vote taken by one of the daily papers here a month or so ago as to who were the 12 leading citizens, I was 6th in the 12, and sole in my class. So you see, if Sparta has many a worthier son, I am still boss in the department I prefer. Blood did indeed patent a swathing reaper, along with other patents, and wrote prolifically, but the larger portion of his writing consisted of letters, either to local newspapers or to friends such as James Hutchison Stirling, Alfred Tennyson and William James (the above quote was from a letter to James). H. M. Kallen wrote of Blood: He was born in 1832 and lived for eighty-six years. During that time he wrote much, but unsystematically. His favorite form of publication was letters to newspapers, mainly local newspapers with a small circulation. These letters dealt with an astonishing diversity of subjects, from local petty politics or the tricks of spiritualist mediums to principles of industry and finance and profundities of metaphysics. Early books included The Philosophy of Justice Between God and Man (1851) and Optimism: The Lesson of Ages (1860), a Christian mystical vision of the pursuit of happiness from Blood's distinctly American perspective. During his lifetime he was best known for his poetry, which included The Bride of the Iconoclast, Justice,and The Colonnades.

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