- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 307MB
The other eleven miles of the road to Thourout were quite deserted, and only in one place did I see a man working in the field. We only saw now and again a small escort which overtook us. From afar a trooper approached us; after having heard who we were, he told us that he had been on the way already three days and three nights from the trench lines, and how fierce the fighting was there. The German losses had been immense; he pointed to the unoccupied horse by his side, and said: "My chum, whose horse this was, fell also." He took a couple of strong pulls at his pipe, and, spurring his mount, rode off with a: "Keep well.""Oh yes, it has been destroyed already a couple of times, but we shall teach them a lesson! Why did not the Belgians allow us to pass through their country? What can their little army do against us? As soon as a sufficient number have crossed we shall go for these forts, then on to Brussels, and within a fortnight we shall be in Paris. Lige we have taken already."
So far we have followed the evolution of Platos philosophy as it may have been effected under the impulse of purely theoretical motives. We have now to consider what form was imposed on it by the more imperious exigencies of practical experience. Here, again, we find Plato taking up and continuing the work of Socrates, but on a vastly greater scale. There was, indeed, a kind of pre-established harmony between the expression of thought on the one hand and the increasing need for its application to life on the other. For the spread of public corruption had gone on pari passu with the development of philosophy. The teaching of Socrates was addressed to individuals, and dealt chiefly with private morality. On other points he was content to accept the law of the land and the established political constitution as sufficiently safe guides. He was not accustomed to see them defied or perverted into instruments of selfish aggrandisement; nor, apparently, had the possibility of such a contingency occurred to him. Still less did he imagine that all social institutions then existing were radically wrong. Hence the personal virtues held a more important place in his system than the social virtues. His attacks were directed230 against slothfulness and self-indulgence, against the ignorant temerity which hurried some young men into politics before their education was finished, and the timidity or fastidiousness which prevented others from discharging the highest duties of citizenship. Nor, in accepting the popular religion of his time, had he any suspicion that its sanctions might be invoked on behalf of successful violence and fraud. We have already shown how differently Plato felt towards his age, and how much deeper as well as more shameless was the demoralisation with which he set himself to contend. It must also be remembered how judicial proceedings had come to overshadow every other public interest; and how the highest culture of the time had, at least in his eyes, become identified with the systematic perversion of truth and right. These considerations will explain why Greek philosophy, while moving on a higher plane, passed through the same orbit which had been previously described by Greek poetry. Precisely as the lessons of moderation in Homer had been followed by the lessons of justice in Aeschylus, precisely as the religion which was a selfish traffic between gods and men, and had little to tell of a life beyond the grave, was replaced by the nobler faith in a divine guardianship of morality and a retributive judgment after deathso also did the Socratic ethics and the Socratic theology lead to a system which made justice the essence of morality and religion its everlasting consecration.The moon at night shed an intense light, warm and golden. There was scarcely any shadow, and in the quivering atmosphere the flowers poured out their perfume on the cooler air. Frogs croaked a basso continuo to cries of night birds, and a sort of roar, very loud but very distant, almost drowned the concert in the fort close by.
We must, however, observe that, underlying all these poetical imaginations, there is a deeper and wider law of human nature to which they unconsciously bear witnessthe intimate connexion of religious mysticism with the passion of love. By this we do not mean the constant interference of the one with the other, whether for the purpose of stimulation, as with the naturalistic religions, or for the purpose of restraint, as with the ethical religions; but we mean that they seem to divide between them a common fund of nervous energy, so that sometimes their manifestations are inextricably confounded, as in certain debased forms of modern Christianity; sometimes they utterly exclude one another; and sometimes, which is the most frequent case of any, the one is transformed into the other, their substantial identity and continuity being indicated very frankly by their use of the same language, the same ritual, and the same aesthetic decoration. And this will show how the decay of religious belief may be accompanied by an outbreak of moral licence, without our being obliged to draw the inference that passion can only be held in check by irrational beliefs, or by organisations whose supremacy is fatal to industrial, political, and intellectual progress. For, if our view of the case be correct, the passion was not really restrained, but only turned in a different direction, and frequently nourished into hysterical excess; so that, with the inevitable decay of theology, it returns to its old haunts, bringing with it seven devils worse than the first. After the220 Crusades came the Courts of Love; after the Dominican and Franciscan movements, the Renaissance; after Puritanism, the Restoration; after Jesuitism, the Regency. Nor is this all. The passion of which we are speaking, when abnormally developed and unbalanced by severe intellectual exercise, is habitually accompanied by delirious jealousy, by cruelty, and by deceit. On taking the form of religion, the influence of its evil associates immediately becomes manifest in the suppression of alien creeds, in the tortures inflicted on their adherents, and in the maxim that no faith need be kept with a heretic. Persecution has been excused on the ground that any means were justifiable for the purpose of saving souls from eternal torment. But how came it to be believed that such a consequence was involved in a mere error of judgment? The faith did not create the intolerance, but the intolerance created the faith, and so gave an idealised expression to the jealous fury accompanying a passion which no spiritual alchemy can purify from its original affinities. It is not by turning this most terrible instinct towards a supernatural object that we should combat it, but by developing the active and masculine in preference to the emotional and feminine side of our nervous organisation.136
A man by the roadside was mixing mud with[Pg 265] chopped straw; then when his mortar was of the right consistency he began to build the walls of his house between the four corner posts, with no tools but his hands. A woman and child helped him, patting the concrete with their hands until it began to look almost smooth.
"Let me look at you," she said, tenderly. "Let me get water and some towels."