We are great fools. ‘He has spent his life in idleness,’ we say, and ‘I have done nothing today.’
What! Have you not lived? That is not only the fundamental, but the most noble of your occupations.
‘If I had been put in charge of some great affair, I might have shown what I could do.’ Have you been able to reflect on your life and control it? Then you have performed the greatest work of all. To reveal herself and do her work, nature has no need of fortune. She manifests herself equally at all levels, and behind curtains as well as in the open. Our duty is to compose our character, not to compose books, to win not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct.
Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live properly.
All other things – to reign, to lay up treasure, to build – are at best but little aids and additions.