The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Chapter 1

THE LABYRINTH OF THE WORLD

CHAPTER I

ON THE CAUSES OF THIS MY PILGRAMAGE THROUGH THE WORLD

When I had attained that age at which the difference between good and bad begins to appear to the human understanding, I saw how different are the ranks, conditions, occupations of men, the works and endeavours at which they toil; and it seemed most necessary to me to consider what group of men I should join, and with what matters I should occupy my life.

(The Fickleness of the Mind.)

2. Thinking much and often on this matter, and weighing it diligently in my mind, I came to the decision that that fashion of life which contained least of cares and violence, and most comfort, peace, and cheerfulness pleased me most.

3. But then, again, it seemed to me difficult to know which and what was my vocation, and I knew not of whom to seek counsel; nor did I greatly wish to consult anyone on this matter, thinking that each one would praise to me his own walk in life. Neither did I dare to grasp anything hastily, for I feared that I might not choose aright.

4. Yet, I confess, I secretly began to grasp first at one thing, then another, then a third, but each one I speedily abandoned, for I remarked (as it seemed to me) something of hardship and vanity in each. Meanwhile, I feared that my fickleness would bring me to shame. And I knew not what to do.

5. Thus yearning and turning the matter in solitude in my mind, I came to this decision that I should first behold all earthly things that are under the sun, and then only, having wisely compared one thing with another, choose a course of life, and obtain in some fashion the things necessary for leading a quiet life in the world. The more I thought the matter over, the more this matter pleased me.