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which are evident, and beauty which is incontestable. Charm, perhaps, is a better name for the esoteric and paradoxical beauty, which escapes the vulgar, and appeals to our dreamy meditative side. Classical beauty belongs, so to speak, to all
eyes ; it has ceased to belong to itself. Esoteric beauty is shy and retiring. It only unveils itself to unsealed eyes, and bestows its favours only upon love.
This is why my friend —, who places herself immediately in relation with the souls of those she meets, does not see the ugliness of people when once she is interested in them. She likes and dislikes, and those she likes are beautiful, those she dislikes are ugly. There is nothing more complicated in it than that. For her, æsthetic considerations are lost in moral sympathy; she looks with her heart only ; she passes by the chapter of the beautiful, and goes on to the chapter of charm. I can do the same; only it is by reflection and on second thoughts; my friend does it involuntarily and at once; she has not the artistic fibre. The craving for a perfect correspondence between the inside and the outside of things — between matter and form - is not in her nature. She does not suffer from ugliness, she scarcely perceives it. As for me, I can only forget what shocks me, I cannot help being shocked. All corporal defects irritate me, and the want of beauty in women, being something which ought not to exist, shocks me like tear, a solecism, a dissonance, a spot of ink, — in a word, like something out of order. On the other hand, beauty restores and fortifies me like some miraculous food, like Olympian ambrosia.
Que le bon soit toujours camarade du beau
Dès demain je chercherai femme. Mais comme le divorce entre eux n'est pas
nouveau, Et que peu de beaux corps, hôtes d'une belle
âme, Assemblent l'un et l'autre point —'
I will not finish, for after all one must resign oneself. A beautiful soul in a healthy body is already a rare and blessed thing; and if one finds heart, common sense,
intellect, and courage into the bargain, one may well do without that ravishing dainty which we call beauty, and almost without that delicious seasoning which we call grace. We do without with a sigh, as one does without a luxury. Happy we, to possess what is necessary.
29th December 1871. I have been reading Bahnsen (Critique de l'évolutionisme de Hegel- Hartmann, au nom des principes de Schopenhauer). What a writer! Like a cuttle-fish in water, every movement produces a cloud of ink which shrouds his thought in darkness. And what a doctrine ! A thoroughgoing pessimism, which regards the world as absurd, absolutely idiotic,' and reproaches Hartmann for having allowed the evolution of the universe some little remains of logic, while, on the contrary, this evolution is eminently contradictory, and there is no reason anywhere except in the poor brain of the reasoner. Of all possible worlds that which exists is the worst. Its only excuse is that it tends of itself to destruction. The hope of the philosopher is that reasonable beings will shorten their agony and hasten the return of everything to nothing. It is the philosophy of a desperate Satanism, which has not even the resigned perspectives of Buddhism to offer to the disappointed and disillusioned soul. The individual can but protest and curse. This frantic Sivaism is developed from the conception which makes the world the product of blind will, the principle of everything.
The acrid blasphemy of the doctrine naturally leads the writer to indulgence in epithets of bad taste which prevent our regarding his work as the mere challenge of a paradoxical theorist. We have really to do with a theophobist, whom faith in goodness rouses to a fury of contempt. In order to hasten the deliverance of the world, he kills all consolation, all hope, and all illusion in the germ, and substitutes for the love of humanity which inspired Çakyamouni, that Mephistophelian gall which defiles, withers, and corrodes everything it touches.
Evolutionism, fatalism, pessimism, nihilism — how strange it is to see this desolate and terrible doctrine growing and expanding at the very moment when the German nation is celebrating its greatness and its triumphs ! The contrast is so startling that it sets one thinking.
This orgie of philosophic thought, identifying error with existence itself, and developing the axiom of Proudhon, · Evil is God,' will bring back the mass of mankind to the Christian theodicy, which is neither optimist nor pessimist, but simply declares that the felicity which Christianity calls eternal life is accessible to man.
Self-mockery, starting from a horror of stupidity and hypocrisy, and standing in the way of all wholeness of mind and all true seriousness, - this is the goal to which intellect brings us at last, unless conscience cries out. The mind must have for ballast the clear conception of duty, if it is not to fluctuate between levity and despair.
Before giving advice we must have secured its acceptance, or rather, have made it desired.
If we begin by overrating the being we love, we shall end by treating it with wholesale injustice.
It is dangerous to abandon oneself to the luxury of grief ; it deprives one of courage, and even of the wish for recovery.
We learn to recognise a mere blunting of the conscience in that incapacity for indignation which is not to be confounded with the gentleness of charity, or the reserve of humility.
7th February 1872. Without faith a man can do nothing. But faith can stifle all science.