David Brooks on character

    "Soloveitchik said there are two sides, which he called Adam I and Adam II. Adam I wants to build, create, produce and discover things. Adam II is the internal Adam. Adam II wants to embody certain moral qualities, to have a serene inner character, not only to do good, but to be good, to live in obedience to some transcendent truth, to have an inner coherence of soul. So, Adam I wants to conquer the world, become famous and rich. Adam II wants to obey a calling and serve the world. Adam I asks how things work. Adam II asks why things exist and what, ultimately, we are here for. Adam I wants to venture forth. Adam II wants to return home to the comfort of a family meal. Adam I's motto is success. Adam II experiences life as a moral drama and his motto is charity, love and redemption. Now, Soloveitchik argued that each of us lives at the confrontation between these two Adams, these two sides of our nature. And I'd add that the confrontation is different. Some days we want to be externally successful. Some days we want to be internally good. And they're both right. You've got to have a balance. The question is whether your life is in balance between these two things."

- David Brooks