Wisdom on Wednesdays—The breakdown of civilization

Lady in Garden

Lady in a Garden, pastel on paper, c. 1922, 14¼ x 11¼ in.
A portrait of Schmitt’s wife Gertrude done outside his studio in Silvermine.

“Can our national virtues of Comfort, Wealth, and Success be reconciled with the Cardinal Virtues of Chastity, Poverty, and Humility?  I am afraid that the answer must be honestly faced.  And the answer is, No.  The breakdown of civilization has probably been caused by the attempt to reconcile the two sets of ultimately contradictory, exclusive values.”  (1943)

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Wisdom on Wednesdays—“the only man who stands alone”

Gertrude with Violin, c. 1946, oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in.

“One thing common to the millions of conformist individualists is that they are suffering under the delusion that they are alone and fighting a back-to-the-wall losing battle against authority.  Actually, the only man who stands alone today is the person (not individual) who makes decisions which are basically moral, and who takes full responsibility.”  (1961)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The mark of God’s love

CSF21100

Gertrude, pastel on paper, c. 1918, 20 x 15 in.

“Man is only happy in cooperating with his individual destiny.  All men are destined to perfect virtue.
Some men are destined to achieve virtue before death.
Some are destined to achieve it after death.
It is a special mark of providence to have the opportunity of complete humility before death.  The longer before death it is—the greater the mark of God’s love.”

(October 19, 1929)