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Ethic Discredited for Faith's Sake.—No power can sustain itself when it is represented by mere humbugs: the Catholic Church may possess ever so many "worldly" sources of strength, but its true might is comprised in those still numberless priestly natures who make their lives stern and strenuous and whose looks and emaciated bodies are eloquent of night vigils, fasts, ardent prayer, perhaps even of whip lashes: these things make men tremble and cause them anxiety: what, if it be really imperative to live thus? This is the dreadful question which their aspect occasions. As they spread this doubt, they lay anew the prop of their power: even the free thinkers dare not oppose such disinterestedness with severe truth and cry: "Thou deceived one,[92] deceive not!"—Only the difference of standpoint separates them from him: no difference in goodness or badness. But things we cannot accomplish ourselves, we are apt to criticise unfairly. Thus we are told of the cunning and perverted acts of the Jesuits, but we overlook the self mastery that each Jesuit imposes upon himself and also the fact that the easy life which the Jesuit manuals advocate is for the benefit, not of the Jesuits but the laity. Indeed, it may be questioned whether we enlightened ones would become equally competent workers as the result of similar tactics and organization, and equally worthy of admiration as the result of self mastery, indefatigable industry and devotion
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Victory of Knowledge over Radical Evil.—It proves a material gain to him who would attain knowledge to have had during a considerable period the idea that mankind is a radically bad and perverted thing: it is a false idea, as is its opposite, but it long held sway and its roots have reached down even to ourselves and our present world. In order to understand ourselves we must understand it; but in order to attain a loftier height we must step above it. We then perceive that there is no such thing as sin in the[93] metaphysical sense: but also, in the same sense, no such thing as virtue; that this whole domain of ethical notions is one of constant variation; that there are higher and deeper conceptions of good and evil, moral and immoral. Whoever desires no more of things than knowledge of them attains speedily to peace of mind and will at most err through lack of knowledge, but scarcely through eagerness for knowledge (or through sin, as the world calls it). He will not ask that eagerness for knowledge be interdicted and rooted out; but his single, all powerful ambition to know as thoroughly and as fully as possible, will soothe him and moderate all that is strenuous in his circumstances. Moreover, he is now rid of a number of disturbing notions; he is no longer beguiled by such words as hell-pain, sinfulness, unworthiness: he sees in them merely the flitting shadow pictures of false views of life and of the world
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Ethic as Man's Self-Analysis.—A good author, whose heart is really in his work, wishes that someone would arise and wholly refute him if only thereby his subject be wholly clarified and made plain. The maid in love wishes that she could attest the fidelity of her own passion[94] through the faithlessness of her beloved. The soldier wishes to sacrifice his life on the field of his fatherland's victory: for in the victory of his fatherland his highest end is attained. The mother gives her child what she deprives herself of—sleep, the best nourishment and, in certain circumstances, her health, her self.—But are all these acts unegoistic? Are these moral deeds miracles because they are, in Schopenhauer's phrase "impossible and yet accomplished"? Is it not evident that in all four cases man loves one part of himself, (a thought, a longing, an experience) more than he loves another part of himself? that he thus analyses his being and sacrifices one part of it to another part? Is this essentially different from the behavior of the obstinate man who says "I would rather be shot than go a step out of my way for this fellow"?—Preference for something (wish, impulse, longing) is present in all four instances: to yield to it, with all its consequences, is not "unegoistic."—In the domain of the ethical man conducts himself not as individuum but as dividuum
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What Can be Promised.—Actions can be promised, but not feelings, for these are involuntary. Whoever promises somebody to love[95] him always, or to hate him always, or to be ever true to him, promises something that it is out of his power to bestow. But he really can promise such courses of conduct as are the ordinary accompaniments of love, of hate, of fidelity, but which may also have their source in motives quite different: for various ways and motives lead to the same conduct. The promise to love someone always, means, consequently: as long as I love you, I will manifest the deportment of love; but if I cease to love you my deportment, although from some other motive, will be just the same, so that to the people about us it will seem as if my love remained unchanged.—Hence it is the continuance of the deportment of love that is promised in every instance in which eternal love (provided no element of self deception be involved) is sworn
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Intellect and Ethic.—One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes. One must have a strong imagination in order to feel sympathy. So closely is ethics connected with intellectual capacity
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Desire for Vengeance and Vengeance Itself.—To meditate revenge and attain it is tantamount[96] to an attack of fever, that passes away: but to meditate revenge without possessing the strength or courage to attain it is tantamount to suffering from a chronic malady, or poisoning of body and soul. Ethics, which takes only the motive into account, rates both cases alike: people generally estimate the first case as the worst (because of the consequences which the deed of vengeance may entail). Both views are short sighted
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Ability to Wait.—Ability to wait is so hard to acquire that great poets have not disdained to make inability to wait the central motive of their poems. So Shakespeare in Othello, Sophocles in Ajax, whose suicide would not have seemed to him so imperative had he only been able to cool his ardor for a day, as the oracle foreboded: apparently he would then have repulsed somewhat the fearful whispers of distracted thought and have said to himself: Who has not already, in my situation, mistaken a sheep for a hero? is it so extraordinary a thing? On the contrary it is something universally human: Ajax should thus have soothed himself. Passion will not wait: the tragic element in the lives of great men does not generally consist in their[97] conflict with time and the inferiority of their fellowmen but in their inability to put off their work a year or two: they cannot wait.—In all duels, the friends who advise have but to ascertain if the principals can wait: if this be not possible, a duel is rational inasmuch as each of the combatants may say: "either I continue to live and the other dies instantly, or vice versa." To wait in such circumstances would be equivalent to the frightful martyrdom of enduring dishonor in the presence of him responsible for the dishonor: and this can easily cost more anguish than life is worth
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Glutting Revenge.—Coarse men, who feel a sense of injury, are in the habit of rating the extent of their injury as high as possible and of stating the occasion of it in greatly exaggerated language, in order to be able to feast themselves on the sentiments of hatred and revenge thus aroused
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Value of Disparagement.—Not a few, perhaps the majority of men, find it necessary, in order to retain their self esteem and a certain[98] uprightness in conduct, to mentally disparage and belittle all the people they know. But as the inferior natures are in the majority and as a great deal depends upon whether they retain or lose this uprightness, so—
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The Man in a Rage.—We should be on our guard against the man who is enraged against us, as against one who has attempted our life, for the fact that we still live consists solely in the inability to kill: were looks sufficient, it would have been all up with us long since. To reduce anyone to silence by physical manifestations of savagery or by a terrorizing process is a relic of under civilization. So, too, that cold look which great personages cast upon their servitors is a remnant of the caste distinction between man and man; a specimen of rude antiquity: women, the conservers of the old, have maintained this survival, too, more perfectly than men
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Whither Honesty May Lead.—Someone once had the bad habit of expressing himself[99] upon occasion, and with perfect honesty, on the subject of the motives of his conduct, which were as good or as bad as the motives of all men. He aroused first disfavor, then suspicion, became gradually of ill repute and was pronounced a person of whom society should beware, until at last the law took note of such a perverted being for reasons which usually have no weight with it or to which it closes its eyes. Lack of taciturnity concerning what is universally held secret, and an irresponsible predisposition to see what no one wants to see—oneself—brought him to prison and to early death
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Punishable, not Punished.—Our crime against criminals consists in the fact that we treat them as rascals

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