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Lay Morals
Robert Louis Stevenson

Page 1 of 424


LAY MORALS 

CHAPTER I 

The problem of education is twofold: first to know, and then to
utter.  Every one who lives any semblance of an inner life thinks
more nobly and profoundly than he speaks; and the best of teachers
can impart only broken images of the truth which they perceive.
Speech which goes from one to another between two natures, and,
what is worse, between two experiences, is doubly relative.  The
speaker buries his meaning; it is for the hearer to dig it up
again; and all speech, written or spoken, is in a dead language
until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.  Such, moreover, is
the complexity of life, that when we condescend upon details in our
advice, we may be sure we condescend on error; and the best of
education is to throw out some magnanimous hints.  No man was ever
so poor that he could express all he has in him by words, looks, or
actions; his true knowledge is eternally incommunicable, for it is
a knowledge of himself; and his best wisdom comes to him by no

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