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The Committed Agnostic’s creed: Desiderata (first recorded around 1692)

For those committed agnostics out there ... the 'Desiderata' first recorded around 1692 is a fantastic and positive affirmation to help you through the political and religious crap we are all occasionally forced to endure...

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Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself... Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him/her/they/it to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


JMarley 4 May 11
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6 comments

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1

JMarley, why did you say 1692 (instead of 1927)? Was that a typo or was there an earlier edition from which the 1927 version was taken?

I understand there was a suggestion that it was from 1692 but the vocabulary is not consistent with that vernacular of C17th England

Yes....a little research indicates that this is a common myth... quite a few sources say that it was written around 1920 (some say as early as 1906), and copyrighted in 1927, by lawyer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) based in Terre Haute, Indiana.

It was never popular during the author's life. A church copied it without attribution, the stationary had the date of the founding of the church, and that date became associated with the piece. [snopes.com]

@GeorgeRocheleau I read the snopes account and this is very interesting! Thanks for the explanation.

2

Written by Max Ehrmann Published in 1927

Yes so true - my hard copy of the Desiderata which I bought to hang on my wall states that it was found in Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore, AD 1692. A little research indicates that this is a common myth... quite a few sources say that it was written around 1920 (some say as early as 1906), and copyrighted in 1927, by lawyer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) based in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Desiderata myth may have begun after Reverend Frederick Kates reproduced the Desiderata poem in a collection of inspirational works for his congregation in 1959 on church notepaper, headed: 'The Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore, AD 1692' (the year the church was founded). Copies of the Desiderata page were circulated among friends, and the myth grew, accelerated particularly when a copy of the erroneously attributed Desiderata was found at the bedside of deceased Democratic politician Aidlai Stevenson in 1965.

Desiderata is still very inspirational however...

1

This was popular as a spoken word recording on the radio (I think it was) the year I graduated high school. Didn't really listen to all the words at the time, but happy to hear them now 45 years later as they make more sense in my maturity. Good advice.

2

Very nice positive affirmation for the most part. But I must emphatically say that am in peace with myself because god does not exist.

0
I used to have that on an album, need to look that up!
BillF Level 7 May 11, 2019

I think someone called Les Crane (or was that the keyboard player in Atomic Rooster?) did it in the 70’s with the refrain “You are a child of the universe’

@Geoffrey51 Thanks, that's the one I had. Seems anymore I need a jump start on my memory banks!

2

Good poem. It’s been a while since I read it

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