- Advantages of contemplation
- Number of men contributed their lives for humanity and were in action in while of their life
This famous quotation from the German poet and Philosopher Goethe contains a valuable idea. Life is not just a reverie, a dream. It is much more than that. It is action, endeavours great and heroic deeds. Without energetic action, life would stagnate. Without true deeds, life would become static and would lose much of its charm. A life of thought and reflection would be quite futile if the thought never emerges to issue in practical action.
This does not, however, mean that contemplation has no place in life. Contemplation induces peace of mind, tranquillity and contentment. Great ideals are usually a product of contemplation. Practically all the germinal ideas of the world have come from thinkers and Philosophers with whom contemplation was a habit. Without mature reflection and cool deliberation nothing should be done. Meditation and silent prayer are purifying agents for the soul and a sedative for the nerves.
But contemplation should never be regarded as the aim or reason diet of human life. If great idea offered to the world by Philosophers had not been translated into action by practical men. they would have been lost. If the teachings of thinkers like Rousseau and Voltaire had not been given a concrete shape in the form of position, there would have been no revolution and no political progress in France.
The march of civilisation has largely depended upon men of action, men for whom the desire to do brave deeds was supreme. How much does the world owe to its great explorers, navigators and mountain climbers who faced the wrath of nature and fury of the elements in order to satisfy their inner urge for action. Think of the large number of men who have in one way or other contributed to the progress and prosperity of mankind or who have been responsible for the realisation of the great ideals of the world.
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. Pasteur, John Brown, Florence nightingale. Garibaldi Lenin— all these were those persons whose capacity for action was exceptional. It is . indeed, interesting to imagine what would have happened if all these and similar men and women of action had passed their lives in contemplation. Would not human life have still been primitive? The attitude of mind expressed by Tennyson is certainly not to be envied or encouraged.
Life would come to a standstill if we were all to spend our existence in dreamily ease. We would therefore say with Ulysses that to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield, is the sum of life. We ought not to pause, to make an end, to cut unfurnished. As Carlyle says, Work while it is called today for the night cometh wherein no man can work. Merely to brood and muse over life would be a poor way of spending time. If we were all to act upon Stevenson’s advice and turn idlers (even in his sense of the word), life would become exceedingly dull. There is a keen pleasure in achievement and a great joy in creation compared with which the satisfaction born of mere contemplation is nothing.
Besides, the desire for action is something irrepressible except in morbid. lazy people. Nature has endowed us with inexhaustible reserves of energy and we must utilize them in action. War itself. which is so destructive, may be looked upon as a necessity since it serves as an outlet for superabundant energy that accumulates in human beings. In short, it is not desirable to retire into jungles. like Pakistani saints or go to monasteries .like medieval Christian monks and spend life in meditation. The prophets moved about among men and made energetic efforts to teach mankind the ideal way of life.