8.9.2022 – don’t cheat yourself out

don’t cheat yourself out
of life be not simply good
be good for something

The full quote is: “Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.

And it deserves a better haiku and if time allows, I will work on it.

This appears in a letter written by Henry Thoreau on March 27, 1848, to Mr. Harrison Blake.

The text of the letter appears in the Familiar Letters Of Henry David Thoreau – Part II The Golden Age Of Achievement, Edited, With An Introduction And Notes by F. B. Sanborn, Houghton, Mifflin And Company, 1894.

I was struck by the words, as anyone would be, but me more so on this occasion due to earlier haiku’s I recently posted.

On August 1, I wrote:

ask yourselves, have we
each of us, done all we could?
have we done enough?

On July 27, I wrote:

leaving unimpaired
though doing nothing really
is doing something

On July 23, I wrote:

people sat at home
doing nothing and they thought
do something instead

Somehow, Mr. Thoreau is a good response to all of this.

Do not be too moral.

Perhaps one of the most important uses of the word, ‘too’ in recent memory.

You may cheat yourself out of much life so.

Aim above morality.

Aim above morality?

Aim above morality!

Be not simply good;

Be good for something!

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