Posts Tagged ‘The Scottish Himalayan Expedition’

I write often about the movement of Providence. She is tied to Goethe’s dreams, but she is not Goethe. Each time I write of Providence, I can’t remember the quote that stands behind my words. They are the words of Scottish expeditionist,  W. H. Murray.


So I don’t forget:

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

    Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
    Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

– W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

The Goethe couplet Murray refers to is from a loose translation of Faust 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835. Anster translating Faust written by Goethe and quoted by Murray (reference at The Goethe Society of North America).  Like I learned from my art professors at MCAD, there are no original thoughts.

Murray was a writer of many works of fiction and non-fiction. Mountaineering in Scotland was written on toilet paper and destroyed in a WW II prisoner of war camp. He started from scratch and rewrote the whole book again. It was published in 1947.

Providence moved too.

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Read Full Post »