"The secret to success is sincerity. If you can fake that, you can do anything." Television executive counselling newcomer Daniel Schorr, 1953
Trappist monk, Father Thomas Merton was once asked to write a chapter for a book entitled "Secrets of Success." He replied: "If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success."
"Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, inasmuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People. We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming an preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.... I do by this proclamation designate and set apart the 30th day of April, 1863 as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer." Abraham Lincoln
'You are not responsible' sang the sirens of Liberation. 'Whatever you do that does not bring you joy --- from living in the suburbs and having babies to hanging out in bars and being promiscuous to spending your days in a job that bores you --- is not your fault. They -- men, society, your mothers, your fathers -- made you do it.' What can be more tempting than the notion that no decision taken in your life for which you may harbor some regret was a decision actually taken by you for yourself? And thus the whining began, cast, to be sure, in the language of social justice, and revolutionary determination, but whining all the same. So it went -- and went with flying success -- in those early years. Now it's three decades later. Young women are being as mercilessly exploited as young men in the white-shoe law firms, girl marines slog through the mud at Parris Island, and females train for the attempt to land airplanes on aircraft carriers.... Successful careers turn out to be a source not of liberation but of unending worry and demand. From "Liberating Germaine Greer," a review by Midge Decter "First Things," 10/99
"Without mindfulness, the tyranny of the "Disjointed Moment" binds us to the daemons of fashion, fatuity and dispirited physicality. Burdened by the claustrophobic crush of materialist immediacy, we accumulate tokens of "success," slowly coming to believe (whether consciously or not) that "s/he who dies with the most toys wins."" Alan Archibald