As for the discipline, we [me and Frank Moore Cross] belong to two different disciplines. One involves research and archaeological materials. Mine is more interpretive. But it is the love for the text that is there, and that is what makes the whole adventure of reading and studying and sharing worthwhile.
The worth of men consists in their liability to persuasion. . . . Civilisation is the maintenance of social order, by its own inherent persuasiveness as embodying the nobler alternative. The recourse to force, however unavoidable, is a disclosure of the failure of civilisation, either in the general society or in a remnant of individuals. Thus in a live civilisation there is always an element of unrest. For sensitiveness to ideas means curiosity, adventure, change. Civilised order survives on its merits, and is transformed by its power of Recognizing its imperfections.
It is the striving after perfection that makes one an artist. It is the sense that one is imperfect, unfulfilled, unfinished. One attempts by a superhuman effort to fill the gap, to leap over it, to finish it in another medium. And one creates a third and separate thing: 'Adventure rarely reaches its predetermined end. Columbus never reached China. But he discovered America.
For now she need not think of anybody. She coud be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. . . and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.
As we begin the 21st century, the Hubble space telescope is providing us with information about as yet uncharted regions of the universe and the promise that we may learn something about the origin of the cosmos. This same spirit of adventure is also being directed to the most complex structure that exists in the universe - the human brain.
Admittedly, having a bit of disposable cash in the bank can give you a sense of Buddhistic calm, and despite the fallacy involved, that's probably preferable to the bonafide adventure of robbing a bank. A better alternative, however, is to learn to be at peace even when common sense (a highly overrated virtue) would lead you to believe that someone in your situation ought to feel threatened and insecure.
The trend lines in research and innovation look good for places such as India and China and less good for America as we go forward. So even if you're not enchanted by the prospect of cosmic discovery, the prospect of dying poor may be what it takes to understand the role of this adventure in the future of the natural world in which we live.