"Looking forward into life and to those prospects which seem to be commensurate with your talents...you may justly esteem those incidents fortunate which compel an exertion of mental power, maturity of which is rarely seen growing out of an uninterrupted tranquility. Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man, is not that he has been exempted from the evils of life, but that he has surmounted them." Coming from Patrick Henry, a man who clearly possessed the qualities about which he writes, this quote provides great encouragement. In the fields of Symphonic conservation and technological development—my primary interests—character traits that display strength of mind prove to be exceptional assets.
The ability to exert sustained mental power is rare in these days of psychological couch potatoes. Personally, mastery of concentration—the cognitive capacity to devise and decipher complex algorithms and to gain absolute tonal control (endeavors that can take a lifetime)—is a goal. As thoughtful effort brings intellectual benefit, mental ascent reveals ideas greater in overall importance and sheer complexity. Rational maturity is not just skill, but understanding. In today’s cultural trend of overbooking, uninterrupted tranquility is highly sought after at the individual level. During the fast-paced course of the day, the intellectual considers those things that truly have little importance emergencies, and that which would benefit the mind and spirit practically worthless. Nonetheless, he or she still seeks mental heightening.
With the lapse of agrarian farmers, their traditional manly virtues—such as courage, determination, and vigor—are no longer considered by the average observer on par with worldly get-rich-quick skills. As manliness disintegrated, customary attributes of women have also suffered in popularity, mainly due to the dregs of their social religion, feminism. Consider a dull chisel. To regain its sharpness, it must be ground. The chisel loses some of its metal—in an apparently painful manner—but is better from the experience. It is like this with men. Adversity, by its very nature is unpleasant, but this quality is what builds character and ‘toughens manhood.’ From a scientific standpoint, mental stress and exercise increase the electrical connectivity of neural chains in the brain. Yet today, the couch potato contingent detests exertion of any kind. Therefore, what America—and the world at large—needs for revival is not a charismatic economist to lead, but for individuals to have a mental reawakening.
1 Patrick Henry. William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1983), p. 120