The Thought for the Day – Will Durant, Voltaire

He forged fiercely a path for his truth, until at last kings, popes, and emperors catered to him, thrones trembled before him, and half the world listened to catch his every word. – Will Durant, On Voltaire

Will Durant was an American writer and historian, known for a variety of works, including the multi-volume History of Civilization and The Story of Philosophy, a book which does a good job of putting philosophy in a context non-scholars can appreciate.

Voltaire, of course, was a French philosopher who flourished in the 18th century. He enjoyed poking fun at the Catholic Church and other established institutions and remains one of liberty’s best friends.

Voltaire wrote even when others made it difficult for him. His father wanted him to become a lawyer and kept finding him jobs that had nothing to do with writing. He wrote anyway. Voltaire’s thoughts on religious tolerance and freedom of thought, in an age where the authorities cherished neither, also kept Voltaire on his toes. He was imprisoned twice and once was obliged to flee to England. He wrote anyway.

He forged fiercely a path for his truth…

Despite the obstacles that attend every endeavor, Voltaire never stopped writing. He wrote from the depths of his heart and his mind. He wrote for himself and for others and for History, brilliantly doing what you pay us writers to do: provide insights into our human experience that are both thoughtful and entertaining.

Fiercely forging a path isn’t reserved for those you read about in books and those who happen to live down the ages. All of us should be forging – fiercely, if required – a path for our truth. It doesn’t matter what that truth is, either. All that is required is the wisdom to know ourselves and the courage to go make it happen.

Writer’s write. Parents teach, guide and fret. Athletes train and compete and carpenters build. Each are on paths which lead to their truth.

What’s your truth? If you are not sure, search inside yourself for it. When you find it, follow it. Use it. Exploit it. Enjoy it. Your truth will take you exactly where are meant to go in this life.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.


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