Quotation by Malcolm Muggeridge

It is only possible to succeed at second-rate pursuits—like becoming a millionaire or a prime minister, winning a war, seducing beautiful women, flying thought the stratosphere or landing on the moon. First-rate pursuits—involving, as they must, trying to understand what life is about and trying to convey that understanding—inevitably result in a sense of failure. A Napoleon, a Churchill, a Roosevelt can feel themselves to be successful, but never a Socrates, a Pascal, a Blake. Understanding is for ever unattainable. Therein lies the inevitablility of failure in embarking upon its quest, which is none the less the only one worthy of serious attention.
Malcolm Muggeridge (1903–1990), British broadcaster. "Woman's Hour," radio broadcast, Aug. 5, 1965, quoted in "Failure," Muggeridge through the Microphone (1967).
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