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Self Investment Orison Swett Marden

Self Investment Orison Swett Marden

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Published by vtraj33
Self Investment
Self Investment

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Published by: vtraj33 on Mar 16, 2012
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determine the character, the success and hap-
piness of our whole lives.
Every soul is born responsive to the beauti-
ful, but this instinctive love of beauty must be
fostered through the eye and the mind must
be cultivated, or it will die. The craving for
beauty is as strong in a child of the slums as
in a favorite of fortune. " The physical hun-
ger of the poor, the yearning of their stom-
achs," says Jacob A. Riis, " is not half so
bitter, or so little likely to be satisfied as their
esthetic hunger, their starving for the beauti-

Mr. Riis has often tried to take flowers
from his Long Island home to the " poors " in
Mulberry Street, New York. "But they
never got there," he says. " Before I had
gone half a block from the ferry I was held up
by a shrieky mob of children who cried for
the posies and would not let me go another
step till I had given them one. And when
they got it they ran, shielding the flower with
the most jealous care, to some place where
they could hide and gloat over their treasure.
They came dragging big, fat babies and little
weazened ones that they might get a share,
and the babies' eyes grew round and big at
the sight of the golden glory from the fields,




the like of which had never come their way.
The smaller the baby, and the poorer, the
more wistful its look, and so my flowers went.
Who could have said them no?
" I learned then what I had but vaguely
understood before, that there is a hunger that
is worse than that which starves the body and
gets into the newspapers. All children love
beauty and beautiful things. It is the spark
of the divine nature that is in them and justi-
fies itself! To that ideal their souls grow.
When they cry out for it they are trying to
tell us in the only way they can that if we let
the slum starve the ideal, with its dirt and its
ugliness and its hard-trodden mud where flow-
ers were meant to grow, we are starving that
which we little know. A man, a human, may
grow a big body without a soul; but as a citi-
zen, as a mother, he or she is worth nothing
to the commonwealth. The mark they are
going to leave upon it is the black smudge of
the slum.

" So when in these latter days we invade
that slum to make homes there and teach the
mothers to make them beautiful; when we
gather the children into kindergartens, hang
pictures in the schools; when we build beauti-
ful new schools and public buildings and let



in the light, with grass and flower and bird,
where darkness and foulness were before;
when we teach the children to dance and play
and enjoy themselves — alas! that it should
ever be needed — we are trying to wipe off
the smudge, and to lift the heavy mortgage
which it put on the morrow, a much heavier
one in the loss of citizenship than any com-
munity, even the republic, can long endure.
We are paying arrears of debt which we
incurred by our sad neglect, and we could be
about no better business."
There are many poor children in the slums
of New York, Mr. Millionaire, who could go
into your drawing-room and carry away from
its rich canvases, its costly furnishings, a vis-
ion of beauty which you never perceived in
them because your esthetic faculties, your finer
sensibilities, were early stifled by your selfish
pursuit of the dollar.
The world is full of beautiful things, but
the majority have not been trained to discern
them. We cannot see all the beauty that lies
around us, because our eyes have not been
trained to see it; our esthetic faculties have
not been developed. We are like the lady who,
standing with the great artist, Turner, before
one of his wonderful landscapes, cried out in



amazement: " Why, Mr. Turner, I cannot see
those things in nature that you have put in
your picture."
" Don't you wish you could, madam ? " he


Just think what rare treats we shut out of
our lives in our mad, selfish, insane pursuit of
the dollar! Do you not wish that you could
see the marvels that Turner saw in a land-
scape, that Ruskin saw in a sunset? Do you
not wish that you had put a little more beauty
into your life instead of allowing your nature
to become encoarsened, your esthetic faculties
blinded, and your finer instincts blighted by
the pursuit of the coarser things of life; in-
stead of developing your brute instincts of
pushing and elbowing your way through the
world for a few more dollars, in your selfish
effort to get something away from somebody

Fortunate is the person who has been edu-
cated to the perception of beauty; he possesses
a heritage of which no reverses can rob him.
Yet it is a heritage possible to all who will
take the trouble to begin early in life to culti-
vate the finer qualities of the soul, the eye,
and the heart.

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