Jacques Maritain on an American Illusion

It is generally believed that success is a thing good in itself, and which it is, from an ethical point of view, mandatory to strive for.

In this American concept of success there is no greediness or egoism. It is, it seems to me, rather an oversimplified idea that “to succeed” is to bear fruit, and therefore to give proof of the fact that psychologically and morally you are not a failure.

This is a very old illusion, already denounced by Socrates: mistaking external success, which depends on a great many ingredients extraneous to ethical life — good connections, cleverness, good luck, ruthlessness, and so forth — for genuine “success” in the metaphysical sense, that is, for the genuinely human happy issue which is internal, and consists in having, as Socrates said, a “good and beautiful soul.”

—Jacques Maritain, Reflections on America


Leave a comment

Filed under quote

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s