The Sower (study), by Vincent van Gogh
I know that your profession is difficult and contrary to your nature. I cannot remove your distress; I can only urge you to consider whether all occupations are not challenging and hostile in some measure to one's individuality, and saturated with the resentments of those who grimly and sullenly pursue them from duty only. The situation in which you must live now is not more burdened with conventions, prejudices and errors than any other—and even if some occupation appears to offer greater freedom, it is a rare person who is able to stay open to the great matters that shape authentic living. Only the person who accepts solitude can place himself under the deep laws of the universe. When he steps into the fresh morning or out into the event-filled evening, all that is not him falls away, as if he had died, although he stands in the teeming midst of life.
Rome, December 23, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet