Hyman G. Rickover (January 27, 1900 – July 8, 1986), the "Father of the Nuclear Navy," is the author of today's Notable and Quotable section in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: "Man's Purpose."
Notable & Quotable: Man’s Purpose
‘Having a vocation is something of a miracle, like falling in love.’
Sept. 15, 2015 6:39 p.m. ETFrom Hyman G. Rickover’s “Thoughts on Man’s Purpose in Life,” the Council on Religion & International Affairs’ annual Morgenthau Memorial Lecture in 1982, after his retirement as a U.S. Navy admiral:Man’s work begins with his job; his profession. Having a vocation is something of a miracle, like falling in love. I can understand why Luther said that a man is justified by his vocation, for it is proof of God’s favor. But having a vocation means more than punching a time clock. It means guarding against banality, ineptitude, incompetence, and mediocrity. A man should strive to become a locus of excellence. . . .Man has a large capacity for effort. In fact it is so much greater than we think it is that few ever reach this capacity.We should value the faculty of knowing what we ought to do and having the will to do it. Knowing is easy; it is the doing that is difficult. The critical issue is not what we know, but what we do with what we know. The great end of life is not knowledge, but action. . . .To seek and accept responsibility, to persevere, to be committed to excellence, to be creative and courageous, to be unrelenting in the pursuit of intellectual development, to maintain high standards of ethics and morality, and to bring these basic principles of existence to bear through active participation in life—these are some of my ideas on the goals that must be met to achieve meaning and purpose in life.