“It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.”
What are the “little things” Johnson is thinking of here?
The major events of Johnson’s lifetime were the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the idea of the human right to democratic government (the American and French revolutions came after his death).
These were really big movements, made up of small discoveries.
On the other hand, microscopes were undergoing innovations at the time. Maybe Johnson was thinking of the microcosm. Maybe he was considering how to make a really good cup of tea.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Eleonora Duse, Italian actress (1858-1924)
What are your simple things, and little things, that make you rejoice?