Friday, April 5, 2013

The After-Life of Forethought

Not in the strife of action, is the leader made, nor in the face of crisis, but when all is over, when the mind is swift with keen regret, in the long after-thought. The after-thought of one action is the forethought of the next.

It is when alone, in converse with their own thoughts so much that they live their conventionalities, forgetful of the world's, that men form those habits called the heroism of genius, and lead the progress of the race. This, the supreme rise of the individual- not a conflict of the consciousness, an effort to oppose, but bland forgetfulness, a life from self for the world- is the aim of existence.

All this is doubly so of the theoretical. In it the after-thought of long nights beneath the universe, of soul stirrings, of the act of thought itself, is more clearly a part of the next action- its expression. Events influence the first class, the limits of language alone the second.

The poet's insight is in his after-thought. It is of varied heart-beats and converse with nature. ANd the grandest of his ideas come when the last line is written.

Life is an after-thought: how wonderful the world? that is the after-thought of life.
-Robert Frost, "The Robert Frost Reader, Poetry and Prose"

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