The Art of Being Human | Inspirational Presidential Podcasts

Podcast Excerpt: The liberated individual distinguishes themselves from by their intelligent curiosity, their play of mind beyond the narrow field of instinct, their perception of cause and effect, their appreciation of motive, and a calculation of results. They are interested in the world about them (and of the great universe of which it forms a part), not merely as a thing they would use to satisfy their wants and grow great by, but as a field to stretch his or her mind in.

Luckily we are not the first human beings. We have come into a great heritage of interesting things, collected and piled all about us by the curiosity of past generations. And, so, our interest is selective.

Our education consists in learning intelligent choice. Our energies do not clash or compete: each one of us is free to take our own path to knowledge. Each has that choice, which is ours alone, of the life we shall live, and finds out first or last that the art of living is not only to be genuine and one’s own master, but also to learn mastery in perception and preference.

Keep your eyes alert and your ears quick, as you move among society and among books, and you shall find yourself possessed at last of a new sense: the sense of the pathfinder. Have you never noticed the eyes of someone who has truly seen the world they have lived in: the eyes of the sea-captain, who has watched their life through the changes of the heavens; the eyes of the leader who is accustomed to command in moments of urgency?

You are at once aware that they are eyes which can see. There is something in them that you do not find in other eyes, and you have read the life of that person when you’ve divined what it is.

We all should seek a quick perceiving vision, taking meanings at a glance, reading suggestions as if they were expositions. You shall not otherwise get full value of your humanity. What good shall it do you to ignore that great store of knowledge from generations past, of everything that may make you wise and your life various? Will you not take advantage of the productions of the past, if they may be had for the taking?

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