What does the quote "it befits all to strive with greatest effort lest they pass their lives in silence meaning" mean?

1 Answer

  • 3 weeks ago

    Well Jonas, let me preface my response by telling you that I'm an iconoclast and often disagree with the general opinion of more rational souls.

    What the quote means is that a person should try their hardest (with their greatest effort) to  make a contribution to society. You should use your God given talent or ability to add to the lives of others. If you don't, you will be forgotten and your life will end with you being forgotten. In other words a life lived not always doing your best is equivalent to passing through life as though you were invisible or silent. 

    As I've said, I have a problem with this. First of all, we are all forgotten; it just takes time.Probably everyone in America believes that George Washing will never be forgotten. The problem is that most people have no concept of time much greater than their life. The Muslims ruled India from ~ 1200 to 1400. other than historians no one remembers the names of any of the rulers. That's only 700- years ago, which is less than a second in human history.

    Most people's lives pass in silence. I've taken a train into New York City and looked at the very large buildings made of brick more than a hundred years ago. Someone laid every one of those bricks. They are all forgotten. Millions of people contribute in their small way to make society better and, through their small efforts, they have.

    I have tried to be a teacher. I've really tried to make a world a little better by my having lived. I felt if I could influence two students to go on and try to help, then my life would have made the world better by one person for my having lived. I know I've done this because I've had students tell me I was an inspiration for them, and sometimes this has been 20 years after they were in my class. So, although I didn't strive with obsessive effort and  sometimes allowed myself a respite to re"create" myself, I think that it made me a better man for it and I did help in my small way.

    Wordsworth wrote a poem which starts: "the world is too much with us; late and soon. Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Little we see in Nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away."

    Take time to see the stars and the earth, Jonas. But most of all, take time to know and understand the brothers and sisters who make up the world you live in. Many of them pass their lives in silence, but their seemingly invisible efforts have made our world better,..... and they continue to do so!

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