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SERENDIPITY

Dr. Cannon, a professor of physiology at Harvard University, recently gave a lecture in Peking about the meaning of success in scientific discoveries. After citing many examples of diversified scientific practice the professor came to the conclusion that "success follows only those who accept it."

An excellent formula, completely correct and applicable in all walks of life. Truly, in addition to conscientious, far-sighted work it is necessary to show the ability to perceive the symptoms of the germ of success. Many a time the occasion arose to write that success must be caught, realizing that it is an "easily frightened bird." Many a time ancient proverbs have been quoted. "Risk not, gain not." Different peoples, each in their own language, interpret them in their own way, yet in the same direction. An endless number of fairy tales and legends tell about unlucky simpletons who, because of their dullness, lost the Firebird.

Precisely, lost the Firebird out of their own hands. It had already been found. Wise warnings cautioned, "Take the Firehird, but do not take the golden cage." However, the stupid one stretched out his hand for the golden cage and thus let escape the precious gift contained in the Firebird. The fool was warned, "When you pluck the Fireblossom, do not look back." But just at that moment something seemed to appear to him, the gaper naturally turned around, and all that had been found by him was lost. Verily, success must be seized  taken firmly, without retreat and in full striving. In this complete striving is expressed that faith which already borders upon great true knowledge.

In all these stories, which were warnings, there are always brought out many circumstances that aided the discovery of luck. Beginning with grey wolves or unknown benevolent beggars and passers-by many circumstances become helpers in success.

One should also pay great attention to this inspired assistance. Not only should one discover such prepared assistants, but in the social structure it is also necessary to create conditions that act quickly. Precisely, such conditions should be created.

The inception of success is not only a personal affair, it is a success of the state. Each private beneficent success is also the success of the government, which means the government itself must be consciously solicitous that such successes be attained. The attainment of all the best proceeds through all the highest. It means that the state, as such, should give to its citizens all of the best, all of the true culture.

As usual, we do not speak about quantity, but about quality. What of it if the newspapers come out containing many scores of pages, which because of their quality could be shortened successfully into half the amount! What of it, if all sorts of questionable restaurants and cabarets grow like mushrooms and choke up people's thinking? Not without cause did some Easterner confuse the difference between a cafe chantant and a shaitan.

Yesterday, in the middle of the desert, we listened to a radio. Listened for over two hours. We changed all possible radio waves, and visited the most diversified countries. And what did we hear? True, somewhere, it seems in America, a fragment from "Lohengrin" flashed out, but the rest was so much restaurant and fox trot music that once again we were horrified by what was filling space. After all, all of these sounds, manifested and not manifested, influence human consciousness.

It is sufficiently known that space is filled, but apparently it is not yet sufficiently assimilated that the filling of space is the greatest responsibility of humanity. The essence of quality is that very diversified building material, out of which is built the success of civilization and with it eventually that of culture. A man civilized by a fox trot will be lost on the paths leading to culture. For him these blessed pathways will already appear unattainable.

"This is not for us." "Aspirations are destined for us, but not their attainment." This is the kind of pessimism into which not even a bad consciousness can fall, but the one weighed down by the baseness of daily life can. He who utters these negative, pessimistic words will thus renounce constructiveness. No matter how many times one may show to such a man the means of salutary successes, he will shrug them off as something unattainable, and will go to drown his sorrow in the nearest bar.

In this "drowning" of sorrow is evidenced a very cowardly pessimism. You see, the two-legged one has an urgent need to forcibly "drown" something. He thinks that he is drowning his sorrow, whereas he drowns his achievement or lets it go up in smoke. If at present space itself thunders with the horror of vulgarity, is it not the duty of every government to replace vulgarity with actions of high quality?

Many a time we had occasion to say that the people are being slandered unjustly, in insisting that they demand vulgarity and meanness. Both of these are thrust upon them from an early age. But give beautiful harmony, beautiful singing, beautiful words, and the people will be drawn open-heartedly to them.

Dark forces are everywhere. Everywhere they conduct their destructive work, and they dream of depriving the nations of those achievements which are already destined. Of course, that which is destined can be considerably delayed, but nevertheless it will reveal itself. Each such delay is an abominable crime against mankind. Each one who wishes to drive someone into the darkness and deprive him of light is but a co-worker of darkness. But nations, as such, are by no means co-workers of darkness. No matter by what means the servants of darkness induce them to commit abominations and vulgarity, sooner or later they sober up. Whole masses arise and rebel against all kinds of "drownings, fumes, and poisonings." Blessings to that government, which understands that one cannot keep the people on a low level, giving them products of low quality. Then space itself will not roar and howl, but will merge into the Beautiful.

Whether successes be in scientific discoveries, whether they be in ennobling creativeness, finally, whether they be in simple daily life, which also is in need of good fortune, is immaterial  success must be perceived everywhere and accepted.

Sufficient is told in fairy tales about gapers and simpletons who let their luck slip. The age of building a new culture should be the age of successful people, who, each one in his way, will find his treasure-trove, his destined success.

"Success follows those who accept it."

Tzagan Kure

May 30, 1935

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