“It was one of those great spring days—a Sunday. You knew summer would be coming soon.”
The essential discovery of maturity has little if anything to do with information about the names, the locations, and the sequences of facts; it is the acquiring of a different sense of life, a different kind of intuition about the nature of things.
A boy can take you into the open at night and show you the stars; he might tell you no end of things about them, conceivably all that an astronomer could teach. But until and unless he feels the vast indifference of the universe to his own fate, and has placed himself in the perspective of cold and illimitable space, he has not looked maturely at the heavens.
Until he has felt this, and unless he can endure this, he remains a child, and in his childishness he will resent the heavens when they are not accommodating. He will demand sunshine when he wishes to play, and rain when the ground is dry, and he will look upon storms as anger directed at him, and the thunder as a personal threat.
Lippmann, Walter. A Preface to Morals. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1929. 186-87. Print.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Lewis, C.S. The Four Loves. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960.
Fritz Reiner, while a major influence, did not create as much of an emotional impact on Lenny—not as compared with the effect of [Dimitri] Mitropoulos and [Serge] Koussevitzky on him.
Still, Bernstein learned a tremendous amount from Reiner, who was tough and demanding. No standard was too high.
He early imprinted on Lenny’s mind the axiom that unless one really knew every last note of a score, one had no business standing on the podium in front of an orchestra. Lenny told me that Reiner was ruthless in his quizzing, that nothing was good enough, that no one was ever good enough.
Bernstein nevertheless managed to become the Liebling [German, “darling”] of his class, much to the consternation of other Curtis [Institute, Philadelphia] students.
It was at Curtis that Bernstein first conducted an orchestra. While Fritz Reiner regularly directed the Institute’s student orchestra, he occasionally allowed his students to have a try at it.
Lenny describes his first conducting experience as unforgettable. “It was Brahm’s Third, first movement,” he told me.
“I went mad! I was engulfed in a sea of sound! I was not prepared for this. It came at me with such rushes, and I was conducting like a mad, mad… like a dying swimmer in the ocean. Engulfed in a hurricane of sound! It’s incredible the first time. No one can know what it’s like to stand in an orchestra. I’m sure I was just horrible. But that was the first time for me.”
Gruen, John (Author) and Ken Heyman (Photographer). The Private World of Leonard Bernstein. New York: The Viking Press, 1968. 53. Print.
I’m not pointing the finger at anyone who has cosmetic surgery, but I did hear one reason why maybe it’s not such a great idea. It came from George Orwell, who once remarked, “After the age of forty, a man is responsible for his face.”
In other words, if you’re young, whether you’re good-looking or not is just the luck of the draw.
But as you get older, your face begins to show the world what sort of person you are because whatever your habitual expressions are—kind, cheerful, mournful, embittered—they start etching themselves on to your face. So then, your face starts telling people what sort of a human you are.
Allowing this to happen may be what people mean by the phrase “growing old gracefully.”
So if you’re beautiful as you get older, it’s not a free gift. It’s because your face shows qualities that are timeless and that we all admire: strength, kindness, dedication, wisdom, enthusiasm and humor, intelligence, compassion. Now those faces are achievements.
“Part Three: Beauty.” Hosted by John Cleese. The Human Face. BBC. 21 Mar. 2001.