Posted in november 2013
Elbert Hubbard (no relation to L. Ron Hubbard) was a self-taught businessman who created an art form, developed a philosophy for happiness and promoted a lifestyle that seems to be, once again, rearing it’s lovely head. His utilitarian furnishings contributed immensely to the Craftsman Era of this country’s unpretentious history. His Roycroft stamped furnishings and books are highly sought after still. His philosophy was a sobering argument against the mass production of cheap articles that filled the households of a rapidly growing, industrial society.
To make a broad point, his handmade, sturdy furnishings were the Ikea of his time. His time was directly after the Victorian era in this country. One of Elbert’s most oft quoted verses is “get your happiness out of your work, else you will not know happiness.” He was not a man who thought that men must toil so others can be rich. Rather, he believed we can all take great pride in what we singularly create or jointly develop and we must seek out employment which pleases us. This was not the “made in America” bumpersticker philosophy that became popular in the 1970’s. This was the real deal. He promoted belief in one’s self, embracing a set of values rooted in simple natural harmony and a joyful outlook based on positive observations. His was not a “live well by the sweat of your brow” philosophy. Instead, he saw life as a joyful and creative opportunity. For every problem there were ordinary men with extraordinary solutions. It is not known if he understood that he was one of them.
Forrest reminds me a great deal of what I believe Elbert must have been like.
Here are some other ruminations from Elbert:
“Never explain-Your friends will not need it and your enemies will not believe you.”
“People who can do their own thinking should not allow others to do it for them.”
“The man who craves disciples and wants followers is always more or less of a charlatan.”
“Invention in language should no more be discouraged than invention in mechanics”
“Those who are wise give their culture away and thus do they retain it.”
“The man who is anybody and who does anything is bound to be criticized, vilified and misunderstood.”
“Conduct, culture and character are graces that go through life hand in hand, never separate or alone.”
“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”