To Judge of Great and Lofty Things

“Each man is as well or as badly off as he thinks he is. Not the man of whom it is thought, but the one who thinks it of himself, is happy. And by just this fact belief gains reality and truth. Fortune does us neither good nor harm; she only offers us the material and the seed of them, which our soul, more powerful than she, turns and applies as it pleases, sole cause and mistress of its happy or unhappy condition. External circumstances take their savor and color from the inner constitution, just as clothes keep us warm not by their heat but by our own, which they are fitted to foster and nourish; he who would shelter a cold body with them would get the same service for cold; thus are snow and ice preserved…. Things are not that painful or difficult of themselves; it is our weakness and cowardice that make them so. To judge of great and lofty things we need a soul of the same caliber; otherwise we attribute to them the vice that is our won. A straight oar looks bent in the water. What matters is not merely that we see the thing, but how we see it.” (I:15, 47, Frame)