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cities, states, empires, sink into ruin. The evil contained in an organism is a virus which preys upon it, and if it is not eliminated ends by destroying it. And as nothing is perfect, nothing can escape death.
19th May 1880. — Inadaptablility, due either to mysticism or stiffness, delicacy or disdain, is the misfortune or at all events the characteristic of my life. I have not been able to fit myself to anything, to content myself with anything. I have never had the quantum of illusion necessary for risking the irreparable. I have made use of the ideal itself to keep me from any kind of bondage. It was thus with marriage: only perfection would have satisfied me; and, on the other hand, I was not worthy of perfection. ... So that, finding no satisfaction in things, I tried to extirpate desire, by which things enslave us. Independence has been my refuge; detachment my stronghold. I have lived the impersonal life, — in the world, yet not in it, thinking much, desiring nothing. It is a state of mind which corresponds with what in women is called a broken heart; and it is in fact like it, since the characteristic common to both is despair. When one knows
that one will never possess what one could have loved, and that one can be content with nothing less, one has, so to speak, left the world, one has cut the golden hair, parted with all that makes human life that is to say, illusion — the incessant effort towards an apparently attainable end.
31st May 1880. — Let us not be overingenious. There is no help to be got out of subtleties. Besides, one must live. It is best and simplest not to quarrel with any illusion, and to accept the inevitable goodtemperedly. Plunged as we are in human existence, we must take it as it comes, not too bitterly, nor too tragically, without horror and without sarcasm, without misplaced petulance or a too exacting expectation; cheerfulness, serenity, and patience, these are best, – let us aim at these. Our business is to treat life as the grandfather treats his granddaughter, or the grandmother her grandson; to enter into the pretences of childhood and the fictions of youth, even when we ourselves have long passed beyond them. It is probable that God Himself looks kindly upon the illusions of the human race, so long as they are innocent. There is nothing evil but sin— that is, egotism and revolt. And as for error, man changes his errors frequently, but error of some sort is always with him. Travel as one may, one is always somewhere, and one's mind rests on some point of truth, as one's feet rest upon some point of the globe.
Society alone represents a more or less complete unity. The individual must content himself with being a stone in the building, a wheel in the immense machine, a word in the poem. He is a part of the family, of the State, of humanity, of all the special fragments formed by human interests, beliefs, aspirations, and labours. The loftiest souls are those who are conscious of the universal symphony, and who give their full and willing collaboration to this vast and complicated concert which we call civilisation.
In principle the mind is capable of suppressing all the limits which it discovers in itself, limits of language, nationality, religion, race, or epoch. But it must be admitted that the more the mind spiritualises and generalises itself, the less hold it has on other minds, which no longer understand it or know what to do with it. Influence belongs to men of action, and for purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
The forms of dreamland are gigantic, those of action are small and dwarfed. To the minds imprisoned in things, belong succesz, fame, profit; a great deal no doubt; but they know nothing of the pleasures of liberty or the joy of penetrating the infinite. However, I do not mean to put one class before another; for every man is happy according to his nature. History is made by combatants and specialists; only it is perhaps not a bad thing that in the midst of the devouring activities of the western world, there should be a few Brahmanising souls.
. . This soliloquy means what? That reverie turns upon itself as dreams do; that impressions added together do not always produce a fair judgment; that a private journal is like a good king, and permits repetitions, outpourings, complaint.
These unseen effusions are the conversation of thought with itself, the arpeggios, involuntary but not unconscious, of that Æolian harp we bear within us. Its vibrations compose no piece, exhaust no theme, achieve no melody, carry out no
programme, but they express the innermost life of man.
1st June 1880.-Stendhal's La Chartreuse de Parme. A remarkable book. It is even typical, the first of a class. Stendhal opens the series of naturalist novels, which suppress the intervention of the moral sense, and scoff at the claim of free-will. Individuals are irresponsible ; they are governed by their passions, and the play of human passions is the observer's joy, the artist's material. Stendhal is a novelist after Taine's heart, a faithful painter who is neither touched nor angry, and whom everything
- the knave and the adventuress as well as honest men and women, but who has neither faith, nor preference, nor ideal. In him literature is subordinated to natural history, to science. It no longer forms part of the humanities, it no longer gives man the honour of a separate rank. It classes him with the ant, the beaver, and the monkey. And this moral indifference to morality leads direct to immorality.
The vice of the whole school is cynicism, contempt for man, whom they degrade to the level of the brute; it is the worship of strength, disregard of the soul, a want