John Ruskin on Contentment

There are, indeed, two forms of discontent: one laborious, the other indolent and complaining. We respect the man of laborious desire, but let us not suppose that his restlessness is peace, or his ambition meekness. It is because of the special connection of meekness with contentment that it is promised that the meek shall “inherit the earth.” Neither covetous men, nor the grave, can inherit anything; they can but consume. Only contentment can possess.


The most helpful and sacred work, therefore, which can at present be done for humanity, is to teach people (chiefly by example, as all best teaching must be done) not how “to better themselves,” but how to “satisfy themselves.”


From Selections of the Writings of John Ruskin, New York, John Wiley & Son, 1872

4 thoughts on “John Ruskin on Contentment

    1. Thank you, Paula. 🙂 I have been very discontent with all of the cold and rain we’ve been having. Then I realized that I have many books to read, and I have spent more time feeling satisfied as I’ve devoted more time to them. I found this particular passage relevant and thought others might appreciate it. I hope the weather is nicer in your part of the world! (Looks like tomorrow is the beginning of a warm and sunny streak in my area for the next ten days!)


  1. Interesting how the concerns and troubles of humanity never change although they may wear different costumes. On the weather, today is the first sunny morning I can remember for about the past week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many of my “outdated” texts are timeless and relevant. Yay for you, but it’s raining again today!


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