Sunday, December 6, 2009

Written in 1851

"Dilettantes, dilettantes!--is what those who pursue a science or art for love and the delight they take in it, per il loro diletto, are disdainfully called by those who pursue it only for gain, because they delight only in the money that is to be made by it. Their disdain is based upon their vile conviction that no one will devote himself seriously to anything if he is not driven to it by necessity, hunger, or greed. The general public has the same outlook and the same opinion: hence its wholehearted respect for the 'professionals' and its distrust of dilettantes. But the truth is that to the dilettante the subject is an end in itself, while to the professional it is only the means to an end. But only the man who cares about something in itself, who loves it and does it con amore, will do it in all seriousness. The highest achievement has always been that of such men, and not of the hacks that serve for pay." -- the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in his Essays and Aphorisms, as cited by C. W. Ceram in his wonderfully absorbing history of archeology, Gods, Graves & Scholars, translated from the German by E. B. Garside and Sophie Wilkins (originally written in 1949, revised in 1967, still in print)

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