Last night I purchased a book on Audible called ‘Fallen Leaves‘ by Will Durant.
I first heard about Will Durant from Jim Rohn in an audio called The Art Of Exceptional Living way back when I joined my very first network marketing company.
He had the book ‘Lessons of History‘ by Will and Ariel Durant on a recommended reading list.
I went on to learn that Will and Ariel Durant were 2 of the most brilliant and well-researched historians of the 20th century.
Funny enough, here I am over 10 years later, listening to another book by Jim Rohn called ‘12 Pillars‘ and there it is, another list. 😉
Guess who’s on this list?
You guessed it, Will Durant and another of his books called ‘The Story of Philosophy‘.
I guess Will Durant was on the brain, you could say, when I logged into my Audible account last night before bedtime.
I was excited to see that a lost manuscript of Will Durant’s had been found and published.
A book called ‘Fallen Leaves‘ was mentioned several times in a few obscure places while Mr. Durant was alive but after he died no one every seemed to hear anything more about it.
It was a memoir of sorts, a collection of his thoughts after a full life of study & authorship, fame and fortune.
Somehow the manuscript was found and published and included for FREE in my Audible membership.
Of course, I downloaded it and queued it up for my listening pleasure.
His last book, written in his 90’s – about to enter the door of the great unknown…
What would he say?
What could I learn from his most profound and final insights and wisdom?
For me the most shocking, and perhaps profound, confession came at the end of chapter 7.
A chapter that is exactly 11 minutes and 11 seconds in my audible player.
The name of the chapter is ‘Our Gods‘ and in it, he opens up about being a theological skeptic and continues to list out the pros and cons, the ins and outs of faith, religion and disbelief in this or that dogma or creed.
Most of this is to be expected from an intellectual giant such as Will Durant.
What was not expected was how he closed the chapter.
He dropped a bomb about what he would do if he had his life to live all over again.
Would he be the prolific researcher, writer and world renowned author he had been over the 20th century?
The shocking answer to that question, no!
If not that, then what?
What could we learn from this towering brain who seemed to have lived a super successful life – teaching and inspiring people the world over, including the likes of Mr. Jim Rohn?
Are you ready?
Here’s what he said, he’d do instead.
“If I could live another life endowed with my present mind and mood, I would not write history or philosophy but would devote myself to establishing an association of men and women, free to have any tolerant theology or no theology at all,
…but pledged to follow as far as possible the ethics of Christ. Including chastity before marriage, fidelity within it, extensive charity and peaceful opposition to any but the most clearly defensive war.
He went on to say ‘I can imagine what fun the wits of the world could have with this paragraph. And I know how unpopular and precarious my proposed fellowship of semi-saints would be.
But I would rather contribute a microscopic mite to improving the conduct of men and statesman than write the 100 best books.’
Does that drop your jaw like it did mine?
Here’s what my small ‘wit in the world‘ has to say about it.
It’s so profound to me to hear from a man who had money, fame & respect say, he’d trade it all in if he could instead contribute a teeny, tiny bit to inspiring people to live a bit better.
For me – it’s a great reminder that there’s much more to life than money.
It’s like Jesus said in the New Testament – ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his soul?’
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being successful in business so we can provide for ourselves in the ways that we want, and be charitable to others.
But it sounds to me like it’s even better, if we can do all that – AND (at the same time) strive to live in virtuous ways while inspiring others to do the same.
To me, that has the feel of wisdom.
Philosophy isn’t something you can prove with a lab test like science, but it is something that whispers to your soul a bit.
Thanks Mr. Durant for this last philosophical lesson you left us, after studying and writing about the world’s most famous philosophers and hero’s of history.
May we all realize it’s possible to the hero’s of our own history, and maybe in ways we hadn’t originally thought of.
Thanks for stopping by and whatever you do, always go for your dreams,
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