DIALOGUES IN LIMBO

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LITTLE ESSAYS DRAWN FROM THE WRITINGS OF GEORGE SANTAYANA
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INTERPRETATIONS OF POETRY AND
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THE

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REASON Five Volumes THE SENSE OF BEAUTY.
POEMS-

DIALOGUES IN LIMBO
by

GEORGE SANTAYANA

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LOVERS OF ILLUSION . . IV. SELF-GOVERNMENT. FIRST DIALOGUE . AuTOLcTbos V.. WORLD .GE I. THE SECRET OF ARISTOTLE .. 70 89 VII.107 124 163 173 IX. . . SELF-GOVERNMENT.. .. HOMESICKNESS FOR THE X.21 36 VI.. SECOND DIALOGUE VIII.. .. . THE SCENT OF PHILOSOPHIES VIVISECTION OF A i II. .... . . .58 .. .. . THE PHILANTHROPIST . MIND III.. NORMAL MADNESS .... .CONTENTS PA..

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And the Spirit of A STRANGER still living on Earth . DIONYSIUS the Younger. Syracuse. AVICENNA. ALCIBIADES.OF The Shades of DIALOGUES DEMOCRITUS.. ARISTIPPUS the Cyrenaic. once Tyrant of SOCKATES.

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Your barbarians. You are in your laughing mood.THE SCENT OF Bring the Stranger bring the Let us see how he is put together. ? is new-fangled. The few bathe too often. 1 Stranger. out of luxury or fussiness. smell one goodish ingredient. this distance. B . Akibiades. but of their rotten minds. and I out of running water should not be prevented from discerning the who cannot odour of his thoughts. have no proper regimen. Did you never hear ? that a philosophy can be smelt AMnades. perhaps in steam never bathe at all perceptible not of their and most unpleasant. For a Christian he rather well washed. and the many Thus those who wash among them are quite washed out. but the compound Democritus. Demcvtus. is Not even a dog could. You can't possibly scent him at . yes (sniffing) and ill mixed. you should endeavour to underThe Stranger might be as clean as a live . Before you contradict an old man. river-god . and yet the sodden smell of them is or in hot water . But it was soft bodies that I was speaking. stand him. my fair friend. 1 know.

She continually rushes forth from her hearth. feminine as well as a masculine faculty for the . a Philosophies diffuse odours. and capable of retaining or renewing -the most intricate and mighty motions. ? What has argument to do with is True knowledge nothing but keen sensation and faithful remembrance. The soul is a fluid. as from a furnace. penetrating to that fine texture of nature which your fluent talker cannot stop to see. . them in the end in all their guard -room prejudices and ignorance that I ? Know am a scientific observer. and harand she also escapes. vivifying all its parts. and . Alcibiades. finer and warmer than air. Parcels of the soul issue thereby entire. through the veins and ventricles of the body. or monizing motions exudes her waste products. ready to renew abroad her complete life and economy. a Democntus. through the eye in glances.2 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO ! I a jester 01. It will take long argument to prove truth it. yet somewhat viscous. in seed through the organs of generation. Impudence like your pop-eyed Socrates ? Do I study sophist. healing wounds. one who sheds the seed and one who receives and fosters their so in sensation and knowledge there is a it. through the mouth and nostrils in breath. to tickle the fancy of young fops with midnight Am in order to confirm drinking-bouts and myths and mock scepticism. And just as the parents of the new-born soul are two. Democritus. like colonists from mother-town.

and sometimes a spurious changeling. Almost always. sometimes bringing forth a genuine action or thought. or only Everything natural Is held streams of magnetic atoms. . so that a sensitive and directed upon them Thus. is When the inner heat of the is body Is excessive but rapid and disordered motion) (which heat actions and thoughts are bred too hastily. marriage with things external. In the one case the reaction will be firm and fit. man. . and a kindred influence Light and aether which fill the are a great medium of propagation for heavens. These are Its soul beasts similar to . without . It this soul Impresses on the Impresses also on the surrounding air. or fancy-child. the soul issues charged with a new motion.SCENT OF 3 thing perceived is the father of perception and the Now you are soul perceiving is its fertile mother. which the eye and ear and nostrils and sensitive skin (being feminine organs) receive and transform according to their kind. after her . observer. can discern whether the soul has been healthfully fertilized by her experience. in the other loose. or only dissolved and corrupted. radiating images of itself in all directions. appropriate to those external things. and the form which body. and wasted. together with an element of madness. the legitimate heir and Image of Its father. these seeds and effluvia of things. in the sensitive life of animals there an element of true art and knowledge. by the quality of that response. not* to suppose that man alone is animate. together by circling stronger th5n hoops of steel. tremulous.

just as a hound by the mere scent can tell a fox from a boar. any sharp odour. then in the shaking hand and and words inapt and windy the physician rolling eye So easily recognizes the symptoms of delirium. and that of sorrow musty and dank the scent of every state of the soul. are far from odourless. in harmony with the things that nourish and solicit her has an aura which. of a man crowding of the rays that flow from him in moving or looking or speaking. And when is philosophy is keen. possible for a practised nose to distinguish the precise quality of a philosopher by his peculiar odour. himself amorous is irresistible . so compacted and directed . it is errors her. Now these rays. When. though it be a delicate matter upon and not accomplished without training. on the contrary. though nameSo a soul vibrating less. refreshes every creature that inhales it. the soul issues from the eyes or lips turbid and expand clotted $ by virtue of the distorted imprints which she bears of all surrounding things. even in health the look and (as we say aptly) the attention to things * will reveal his ruling passions every secret impulse causing some deviatiofi or special air . and to one and the scent of anger is acrid. as if drinking in the sea-breeze or the breath of morning. being perfectly distinct. causing the nostrils and the breast to joyfully. without spreading sweet scent of love is The exciting . this a surer the hound of method of dis- .4 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO . which her rotten constitution has imposed Hence. she also stinks and she stinks diversely according to the various .

and describe my philosophy. a delusion. Smell me. It shopful o^ scents . vain Sage. timidly conformable to fashion or policy . will qualify further than a herd of elephants. and his intellect need not be greater than yours merely because it carries further. Akibiades (letting his curly head almost touch the is that great white beard of Democritus). without intention. Akibiades. but stronger intellect no intellect. ? while mine at three inches I im- perceptible discard it your philosophy.THE SCENT OF 5 cernlng the genuine opinions and true temper of philosophers than are their own words . . Their conceit is offended. Akibiades. Dentocritus. Since you despise argument. In your case 1 can perceive nothing at this distance. and they refuse to be cured of madness by acknowledging themselves mad. that you smell is furlong off. A by emitting a little fluid. for these may be or made uttered by rote without self-knowledge. There ! near enough ? Democntus. and pronounce Democrittts. this sorry a a than mine. odoriferous virtue is not proportional to the mass of the radiating substance. pray prove your doctrine by experiment. Now Has I inhale a whole perfumer's Stranger. As for the Stranger. then. and one space single skunk. The for my discoveries million have already rejected the same excellent reason. trail whereas the which. a mind index leaves in passing through the air is a perfect to its constitution.

measures than a fool may find Tis fortunate that in granting us the gods have granted it also to all the immortality ornaments of our life. escence of some wandering spirit. forbidden me to wear a phantom crown. What of that ? Had you distilled all the pale laurel and asphodel that bloom in this wilderness sunned only by the mild phosphor. and still to I wrap me in this semblance of the silks of Tartary.6 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO he-goat browsing amid the crags of the acropolis will neutralise from certain quarters the whole agora less full Alcibiades. should have frankly declined to be immortal. spirits even in this twilight Had fate. and that the fragrance of Dionysius. do you think that such a weak disinfectant could have washed out the traces of those rough young years when you wallowed so recklessly in the mire ? Indeed. my hair. but trusted to sheer time to erase every vestige of the truth. whether on skin or hair. in making me a phantom. What is time ? That which to your sleepy sense seems a long lapse and empty is brief and full in the economy a of nature . False impostor. who has other by counting his To fingers. I have not put on anything for two thousand years. Vain excuses. you have not even taken that precaution. good eye you would appear still and spotted with every vile pigment and dyed nasty oil with which you have ever beautified yourself. of voting democrats. . You are none the caught and convicted in pretending that you smell ointments in Democritus. ? youth envelops our world.

the mind as is not more stable than life its and our pleasures fade. had Empedocles ever defiled ourselves with such decoctions. though it be felt by a ghost. reacts with perfect propriety on everything and Democrittis. Aristippus* As for me ? I arn not aware of having subtler influence is sufficient to stimufaded.SCENT OF ? 7 and would have sunk by preference into the common dust like a man of no eminence. I will evert in Alcibiades. A late a subtler wind as There can be nothing more positive than a pleasure. intellect is all of that have none. Happily. shall see. intellect. rail and to denounce which were more refined by your smiling that you are insidiously laying the flattery on me thicker than any unguent. since but rather that I am notori- my mighty purest sort which. And so you can actually smell the old stuff ? : organ. as you have explained. in the vain hope of converting me to your extravagant opinions. For if you could not smell my intellect what would follow ? Surely not that ously I than yours but 1 see intelligent. is We deliciously inodorous. itself possessions fades with . Science has means . and a very musty comDemocntus* Perfectly bination of stale perfumes it is 5 and so powerful that it would entirely overwhelm and smother the sweet emanations of but we not say in you. Alcibiades. my former . and I live as merrily here on I did in Sicily on cakes and onions. You pretend to habits. or me or Leucippus. them into nothingness.

. at all. the divine Plato. in so far as they think are dreamers and idealists. royal authority. Then you shall know may destiny . enemy to idealists.that Plato ever was your dear friend. or that the doctrine of ideas which he purloined from Socrates idealists. though more than a pretty Not that I am an they be all s enemies to nature breeds. . when there is a high wind the coarsely streaming it will drive . yourself far more surely through my olfactory sense than you ever could by ignorant reasoning and quibbling. to me on another day. or fable or play upon words. By my I . venerable forbid you to abuse Socrates whom Democritus. which I will avoid . after the manner of Socrates. my dear friend and "chief of Dionysius. Thus the scent of your intellect will reach me to the and windward of you separate and unalloyed make it sweet. Democritus. chief of dissemblers. I deny that you have any authority. and neither nature nor I have any quarrel with vegetables What can be sweeter than the souls of flowers. is at all precious to you. too. or . without being deflected. acknowledges for his master. even as the light.8 DIALOGUES IN Come of penetrating to the most hidden things. By your royal leave. but continue to radiate in all directions. me . for I am sworn a friend of nature and to is not an enemy anything that she Vegetables. cuts through any wind. but the effluvia of mind (if blowing any) are far more be swept aside by subtle than the air ^jid cannot its currents . essences of your apothecary all in one direction.

and it dull sense indeed that did not perceive But blooming is not knowing. and with every puff of his humours his dream of a world is trans- formed in his mind's eye. because like als<3 flowers they diffuse their odours idly. but his honestly dreaming liver that uttered it for him. it. would be a roses sects. but freely disseminating their harmless fancies like smoke curling in wreaths. products of his own substance pro- jected outwards by illusion . inspiration a healthful and necessary : lubricant of the inner life.THE SCENT OF 9 which neither defend their own being nor assert There are human souls that of anything else ? of this innocent sort. 1 rejoice in that agreement. Yet observe this circumstance fit : the proper secretion of the liver is bile. and therefore distorting nothing.. Dionysius. was inspired. not pretending todescribe anything truly. Such are the minds of poets and of our voltiptuous . are far from offensive. Democritus. and cabbages should not be founders of Your true idealist is rightly convinced that he beholds nothing but specious and vanishing objects. as usual. though highly scented. it was not the politic Plato who uttered it in his waking mind. which. Without intending you confirm is the doctrine of the divine Plato 3 that the liver the seat of inspiration. and their aroma. friends here. all the more that if that saying. only for internal consumption and bitter if exuded . and so it is also with that other product of the liver. Aristippus and Dionysius . in fancy and poetry and .

An oracle admonished Socrates to know himself and not to dabble in natural philosophy and in so far as he obeyed that admonition I honour him. By this presumption he turned his inspiration into sophistry. proper to the little body. and what should have been self-knowledge became madness and grotesque errors about the world and he showed how unventilated an organ incidentally his liver was. in an unguarded moment. and when uncorked out of season how ill-smelling so that when such a prophet . wisely abstain ffom such an abuse of your flowering genius you detest action and laugh at science and cultivate : . as if health of his the blood and gall within him. . forgetting the oracle . But when. pleasant dreams but poisonous if exuded in the guise of action or pretended knowledge. he blasphemed against those gods. opens his mouth I must hold my nose. You. For this reason I find much pleasure in your merry company. Dionysius and Aristippus. Would that your masters. without cruelly investigating any opinion which. Socrates and had been as wise in this as their disciples Plato. only exquisite sensation and free discourse.io DIALOGUES IN LIMBO . he averred that the sun and moon are products of reason. For by self-knowledge he understood knowing his own mind or thoroughly discerning what he meant and what he loved whereby he framed ! . you may seem to adopt. maxims excellent for the legislator. . and are intended for human advantage. ancf fixed the grammar or logic of words. . had burst their bounds and filled the whole heaven.

There are evident symptoms in . yourself. and if true would be Dionysius. and I think the act of spreading such needless alarms should be punishable in our commonwealth. comes to us in the spirit only his flesh and bones will not intrude here. that even purified as you and I were by death and the funeral pyre we were admitted with difficulty. and professes body still toddling on to have earth. He is a disciple of Socrates. being shaken up in that arfd no wonder. At least he himself says so. some sort of an old Afistippus* Why then notice him at all ? Those who are now alive have lost the art of living. Nor does alliance with such gross matter render his spirit more . You remember. For that reason. Aldbiades. no guards to such intrusions ? If such a thing is prevent allowed^ what becomes of our seclusion and of our safety ? 1 appeal to Minos and Rhadamanthus. Very true. probably "yoti can smell the Stranger so far off. and here ? Democntus. for he is still alive. ? scandalous . Compose I This though . to disturb the equilibrium of Democritus* visitor. our forms by their rude mass. still Not altogether. Oil and water are him of that fever which is called life. Democritus (sniffing as before). can clearly perceive that his substance is still earthly and mutable. Are there no barriers.THE SCENT OF . The thing is incredible. Still alive. cruet Dionysius. Alcibiades. n Aldbiades. uneasy tyrant.

And who knows If by some enchantment or by lying promises he might not entice some one of us to relinquish his fair place In eternity. His flickering mind. . huge effigies Egyptian monarchs are mirrored brokenly In the flowing Nile. We he is are like books long written and sealed still in the agonies of composition. as the immovable of Dionysius. Is still receiving constantly fresh effluvia from his earthly body. and does not know what he will become. You forget that Heracles stole back Alcestls from the Shades. We are images of bodies long since dispersed existent. and so long as we endure at all we must retain our perfection. ! . and that Orpheus and Odysseus and Theseus and other Intruders have spread on earth false reports about our condition much to our dishonour.12 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO : formidable far otherwise. Even if the impertinent wight cannot Injure our persons here. as If a man by magic should be turned again Into a crying and kicking child . being non- cannot send forth different and contrary : images to confuse or obliterate those early ones like a deed which are our present substance done we are safe. rather will our stable forms Impress some trembling reflection of themselves upon his lapsing thoughts . he may tarnish our reputations there. which. on the contrary. and escape once more into the living world ? Consider the disgrace of that. His passage near us In these inter-mundane spaces will not affect us : . and lives In a state of perpetual indecision and change.

But not being as the Stranger is doing to-day ? shrank from eternity. and that time may reverse and repeat itself. and slips in thus among us whenever he is able. and you dread that life may call you back. He is civil enough to say so . whereas it is neither sadder nor merrier than material existence but only safer being but the truth of As that exigence.THE Democntus. OF How many absurdities 13 can pre- judice pack into a few poets as if their fictions words ? You quote the were science you assume that the opinions of mortals can honour or dishonour us. Why may not Homer and the other poets actually have visited these regions in spirit. of the poets and I must not grudge you the . and philosophers they depicted our state as shadowy and sad. and following illustrious my example. in order to assimi. . . whatever it may have been. . the Stranger exiles himself from earth. late his form of being as much as possible to ours. for this Stranger. happy here ? Alcibiades. for the pilgrims Is he journey's end may prove disappointing. But indeed you are a pupil as if it stammered. . thrills of your fantastic tragedy. better company. in foreign republics. in order to escape the plagues of citizenship . in the hope of finding elsewhere more peace and But good company requires a and the only maxim for sound wit to enjoy it is to make merry on the way. but . Alcibiades. 1 always dwelt Afistippus. far from disparaging our condition. In that he is wise. he professes to envy it.

Democritus (laughing).i 4 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO is I suspect that In his heart he a sort of poet or The truth. leaves him weary and cold he asks of the world be it here or in the realm of . If that . You hardly believe what right. cure . be the quality the Stranger's thoughts let him approach no nearer. See how when caught napping ! you betray the hollowness of your pretences can smell his philosophy only when I report You it to you in audible words. though he may frigidly idealist. and the in . In saying this which I declare to be a brief but unanswerable exposure of your I have proved not only that I fallacies possess retrace. but the madman in his way knows it far . mythoand your fabled scent for You are a rank only a figure of speech. an vaster than the Stranger's without saying). to his mind. mortals. Alcibiades. one way he the causes. is that it should suffer a picture of what. quite right. wave him away. and yet you are The physician knows madness collects the symptoms of it. legist. been. but also though (which goes intellect much before uttering this truth I will retreat to a safe distance that my scent for philosophies is more sagacious than yours. . Alcibiades. Wave him away. Democritus is . him it to compose ougRt to have of Democritus. and all assent to it. you are saying. expressing metaphorically those immaterial motions of the thinking mind which only a thinking mind can philosophies and which many words are needed to convey.

is by the or a multiple currents in the aether transmitted to another. guessing is probably quicker than mine. cleverly taking the may xnad words out of his mouth and telling him what terror The are the he might be fool enough to think before he has been fool enough to think it. are open which. . since Alcibiades. are nothing else and . plausibly represents such aping and your nimble wit. and in the sphere of illusion it . Such is the art of an art sophists and demagogues and diviners which perhaps Socrates has taught you. a divination of waking dreams the player's art. may be first it said to under- stand but neither the soul begetting that fancy nor the soul repeating knows anything of .. like ledge of illusion. forms and movement at and in human illusions appearance and to consider only the causes of appearance. Now in the sphere of causes illusions and dreams are nothing but streams of atoms words. taken shape in one soul. after all. science has accustomed me to look away from . or to some sympathetic to madness as he. because though he inveighs against it in others he is eminent in it himself. Theirs is a sort of know.SCENT OF better. which without penetrating to its the causes of appearance. madness itself. 15 and glory of the illusion. too. Any madcap spirit as prone mimic a clown's antics. only to the madman. when a word having first dream or a system of philosophy. this second soul repeats and mimics the dream or word or philosophy native to the first. in the realm of substance. and systems of philosophy.

. mortals only in the that nothing (not as fancy are). perhaps. Perception and and painted thoughts are all illusions passion and all human philosophy. or see it as a painted In their ignorance of nature they must out each shallow appearance with some piece shallower presumption. ever renewed and glorious in the midst of human folly yet he must tremble at the ruin of his country and of his soul. silent augur scents the course of the atoms and madness with that of the majority To him the scornful sees the intent of the gods. the sharp nose of science can follow that Only Thus every event in nature. In crowds the poor busy lunatics run down daily to the agora to gather rumours and gossip and to fortify their : yet meanin the solitude of the temple. is thought of all. being aethereal trail. and they are still dreamimage. Thus in the sphere of nature the whole life of mind is a normal madness. . smile of Apollo in its radiance brings a joy mixed he must laugh at the triumph of nature. is but an obscure oracle to those who hear in it only a rumble of words. and lays down all its flowering illusions . except science reckoning without images. Reason dawns upon with terror . is but madness systematic.16 DIALOGUES IN which is its substance. a moving conjunction of atoms pregnant with that stream of motions destiny. when seeing atoms and the void them but as they truly may picture the mind crowns itself for the supreme last real save the sacrifice. some time. ing when they interpret their dreams. putting on a long face.

. would corrupt. should more foolish mock him . If there were no appearance there could and be no opinion and no knowledge of truth true science in discounting appearance does not dismiss appearance but sees substance through for the face of truth cannot be unveiled to it mortals by any novelty or exchange of images but altar of truth. Believe me. and turns into disillusion* Accordingly. Cajolery and eloquence and argument simply propagate prejudice. and already well aware of his entirely expects that than in their wantonness. . which sing that song. 5 if in calling me a mythologist had a playful desire to vex me. loses its magic without losing its form. whereas the truth. so long as life can disappear or that images and appearance sounding words can cease to flow as in a dream. since these have their substance and perpetual cause in the rhythmic dance and balance of the atoms. Socrates was a bad master for you virtue and abstinence he filled you by preaching with admiration for his doctrine. but you went on lisping. Alcibiades. It is not easy to vex a you clever rascal. . . some deep and contrite moment of only understanding the mask of ancient illusion be- when in comes transparent altogether. make him silent. to which alone they appeal. I was indeed a mythologist c in . lover of nature. . if a man saw it. and were every day softer and more young monkeys. He is own inevitable frailty. naturally himself. you missed your mark. like a chorus in 'a comedy.THE SCENT OF upon the lasts 5 17 Not that. I would rather have you rail than lisp.

I am sure. There is one phrase in particular which he let fall which I wish he might develop at Plato has on leisure. Alcibiades. . nor can any appearance be a part of the substance which produces it. I am content. I mean normal madness. What madness is is this. that when a before me. : only an appearance to me a philosophy is only an appearand neither can one ance to the philosopher . like the great mythologist that he professes to he was nobly carried away by his own afflatus . said (which all and without pretending to understand what he is probably not intelligible) we were charmed. be. Democritus was not replying to you. Dionysius. I call and feel pure motions. and myths are the joy of children. in myself. with the fragrance of his words. Let us not quarrel with fate . There is a motion of atoms in the yet these sophist and a motion of atoms in me dreamer that I am. to be a foul odour in him and a rising displeasure . appearance be a quality of another.1 8 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO Scent is saying that philosophies smell. so may the dreams of ooe philosopher be sweeter and saner than those of another : and with this wisdom and frank in my folly. I behold not that reality plain reality but an appearance wholly unlike it ? Yet the night was appointed for dreams. but as the myths of Greek poets are truer to nature and sweeter to a healthy mind than the myths of the barbarians. to be sober my but You have magnanimously rewarded with a profound answer which they did gibes not deserve.

ing the absurdities of others and by exhibiting your own. both by describ. but 1 am far from indifferent to your discourses . it comes to dissipate that madness and to heal it . So pungent and novel a confession should not be missed. I think truly) that the best 5 . Democritus. which are always agreeable . even if and inevitable. for I believe Alcibiades. It will be a novel discourse. has expressed Let Democritus comthe same truths in action. wfeich in itself is neither pleasant not unpleasant.THE SCENT OF that 19 some wonderful and comforting thoughts showing us the divine wisdom of being and Euripides in his Bacchae. I join in urging you will show that you to consent* for Socrates says (and. who does not find enough pleasure in knowledge to deem it a good. and especially Aristippus. plete the picture and prove to us on medical grounds the necessity of a divine madness in all men. madness. sometimes mad a rapturous and mystical tragedy. is not divine. whether in prophecy or love. . in which comedy and tragedy will be combined with science. weary you all. Madness is a large subject it would require a formal disquisition which would subject 5 . common and that if a divine inspiration sometimes descends on us in madness. Aristippus. and especially in himself. and I should have a particular pleasure in hearing you speak about madness you would not fail to illustrate the subject amusingly. I am indeed indifferent to knowledge. but bestial.

A truce to Homer and to Socrates . not standing and we will defer it. human passions and you please to another occasion. obedience to But the underof this matter requires a fresh mind. .20 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO . . itself is a form of madness ." ! Democfitus. I have already observed that in the sphere of nature where there is no better or worse reason .. . since In it comes to establish that vain distinction interests. If cloyed with disputation . and Inspiration that can visit the soul Is reason he quotes Homer in support of his opinion where Hector cries : " The best of omens is our country's good.

and neither ashamed it* to be what I am nor averse from knowing Nevertheless. Demoffitus. because he had overheard you expressing the intention . I am your convinced disciple. The Stranger. since the scorn or are but unsubstantial opinions. nor can he be ashamed of being what he the praises of is. entirely and necessary. venerable Sage. He deserves to suffer. foolish and only important to themselves and . of separating him into his and although the vivisection is to be of the spirit only. In this as in much else. A philosopher cannot wish to wear a mask in his own eyes or in those of the world. Sage of have led back the Stranger into your presence. . to if he is not willing discover how he is composed. not because they wish to deceive themselves or others concerning their bodily 21 form or infirmities. With some Abdera. there are garments which those who are not young or beautiful do well to wear. men he knows that he too explicable is a part of nature. I difficulty. and will not kill him he fears elements 5 it may hurt his feelings.11 VIVISECTION OF A MIND AldUades.

they shall be To the severely rebuked and restrained by me. why should you fear it ? Let me observe at once. smiling at those inevitable follies.22 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO it not seemly to display without and I not pleasing to the eye necessity things fear that my thoughts. Be reassured. Democritus. who are frivolous wits. I know that Alcibi- already your friend . requires courage to stand alone. but I might be commonThe Stranger. the diseases which the vulgar call loathphysician some. that in one respect ordinary person. in this exalted society. and the animals which they call reptiles and and worms. in order to encourage you. They are . brain your time as it was in The vapours of vanity exuding from the is as rife in if blown away here must gather there into some new phantom for fools to worship and it . since you are you are no disciple. and if Dionysius or Aristippus. are all worthy of attentive study even if you seemed a monster to human convention. but because is . and if you love the light. No and unimportant. should mock ades is you in an unmannerly fashion. my Superstition mine. You would not have found your way into this placid heaven if you did not love the light . and her reptilian indifference to her creatures. Democritus. and therefore better left place : in the shade. and recognizing the immense disproportion between nature and man. ridiculous nor unexpected. to the eye of science you would be neither . may not seem worthy of exposure.

it serves only to prolong his agony. and laughs nothing . and in you we . becomthat have tasted something of and not only have become in purest joy measure excellent and unassailable. that by accident should be objects of Indifference cold observation to you. . you will never again have . who and wraiths of the thinnest atoms. as not portions of your free mind and if by my help you can disown and extirpate them. . for nature Is towards every amiable pleasure but the sum of her creatures. but before the gods and the decrees of fate. Much less are but shades We shall they will which the gods love to inhale need you tremble before us here. . and rejoices In them mightily when they strong. but paternal and indulgent . Indeed. by which ing sjhe understands herself. be grateful to you even for your vices have the savour of the living world. and enable him to trample more cruelly and obstinately on all the rest. You. which : own undiminished them without remorse to her . I will not say before men. unless it be the substance. but morbid or rotten parts that may remain In my disciple.VIVISECTION OF A MIND of her 23 must return and meantime she spawns at their hard and ephemeral Even her favours are ironical and if fortunes. she lend anybody strength. are beautiful and Of these Is triumphs in of nature in us true philosophy the greatest. The severity of reason in disabusing us of these vain passions nor is it a shows true kindness to the soul morose severity. any you and cause to blush or to tremble. strength erf reason.

I am afraid that capacity I am not worth dissecting. the giant of the ages. must supply them all with sap. else in one season they would shrivel and drop to pieces.24 shall see a DIALOGUES IN LIMBO specimen of the fauna curious . that flourishes to-day. nor would the least plan or the least into the aether it all is. seem to you great . like ! streaming grasses. . you you should turn for comfort to our pallid sun is no wonder all your souls are in the dark you have bred a monstrous parasite that envelops you. hardly have strayed into this sanctuary if I had been a ences man of Democritus. That astonishing this tree of yours looks at a distance. in are but one leaf in the tree. The Stranger. your naked human nature. Small differ- at close quarters. Meantime the proper they might fruits and seeds of your species are lost or stunted. smothered under its inventions and tools. will not dry up at the root and perish with them. How reality : . spreading far marvel But on inspection what a flimsy sterile and unhappy These are but machines they drop far-reaching organs no seeds they have no proper life and the sad stump on which they are grafted. I do not think so. The Stranger. how ! . a stranger in all my even in that I have been and I should dwelling-places . The tools them . whence be reborn. . and cuts off your own sunlight. You are mistaken. love of subsist anywhere in nature. my own time. with its crown of unheard-of tentacles. if not beautiful. and it is doubtful whether mankind. .

perhaps a secret love . I seem to see the young hunters with their dogs. in the state or each interest of the when each circle mind lives its life apart. . for which you have The wonder is that you exist at no all. which only the reins and harness Democritus* have yoked together. as . Here a vein of true knowledge . indeed. poisoning the rest of your economy. there a vestige of prudent morality . yet in things indifferent and external they pull well enough together. Human wit is seldom to be trusted in prophecy. What is your present plight ? Dispersion and impotence of soul. there not be a kind of of harmony inner in non-interference. idle political principles that alienate you from poetics . careless whether those images repeat themselves or not like rhymes. camping among the ruins. a few luxurious and vapid arts . The mind thinks in gaudy images and nature moves in dark currents of molecular change. animal that survives all revolutions . and when the conflagration is past. Democritus. and. May harmony. the taint antidote. of antique superstition.VIVISECTION OF A 25 and those pale men and nations that are the slaves of such arts tools will no doubt disappear in time have probably been invented and lost many times But there is a lusty core in the human before. unless. like the team of a four-horse chariot ? Four horses are by nature four separate bodies. for life demands some measure The Stranger. whereas in a well-ordered city or in a living mind all the parts form one system by a vital necessity .

ever she opens her divine lips and vouchsafes to address you. being compelled to this very motion life and will have arisen. of appearance different ? 5 is not substance necessarily inIs Democritus. but substance you think unimportant and unpleasant an accident which could not befall you if you had a whole soul. that mind or that You city is not a living unit at all. have been sadly bemused. but a colony. It Is by by fate. whose whole part of the truth ? selves life Is a dream. with a facile gesture you have never delved In her garden or eaten her wholesome fruits and . fiction. since the better and the worse are a part : . and the foolish heart must be set on something. The Stranger. of sensation. fancy. and in some measure Now circumstances have that of my nation. think appearance pleasant and important. you begin to mumble to yourif some old canticle till you fall asleep. by all of which your spirits. and false philosophies . Such was my good fortune. Is not the truth about error a Can the living. The Stranger. There indeed no wisdom like that of the atoms. I wish I might find appearance but as to subalways pleasant and important stance.26 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO seems to be the case with you. If not deceived. know any other part of it ? . condemned you to be all your lives students of error. which. You are content at best to salute the truth from a distance. . move But when the part of a relative wisdom to set it on jjie truth. move without caring whither.

is the truest of things. that you can tell whether the Stranger.VIVISECTION OF A MIND Democritus. I in Homer by dreams learned the truth about them merely by comparing one with another and. young man. and the causes of your dream. Democntus. Nonsense. except by awaking out not even If you spin one dream to explain another. the only veritable soothsayer. and Homer's are the best. and will perhaps dispel those vapours. of it. I was a child and learned became. his pupil and that was a benefit to me. Democritus. The Stranger has had many masters of that kind. 27 The dreamer can know no truth. That is a truth about them. so to speak. perceiving which was best. as do your talking philosophers. is how will you ever come out who of the labyrinth ? The physician. When . Is the nature of truth known to you. in preferring one dream to another^ Are you not both of discerns a truth or not ? 5 you habitually employed in jesting and scoffing and making fanciful speeches ? How many times. Beauty is a fleeting . do you not mention beauty ? Alcibiades. Beauty. for once that you mention the atoms and the void. as it seems to nie more important than their causes. There is no other truth to be learned from dreams. all within the realm of dreams. my because some dreams are better than others. will inquire concerning your diet. and the science of them Alcibiades* is also a medicine. about his dream. and he may have heart. as Socrates would prove to you if you would listen.

I The Stranger. in his composition. am nuisance to a man of sense. my and though that friend. 5 and though the Stranger (wiser. when the atoms passing In clouds before your eyes or through the ventricles of your body waft the It Is not scent of beauty upon you your fault I too must see colours In the that they do so. But when I see them I : mock them. and when faithfully I I hear them I : remember because the true alive causes of sound and must behold appearances. and the passersIn derision for standing amazed by at nothing in particular and seeing gods In the commonest creatures. flowers and must hear the sweet warbling of the fountain or the flute. I appearance admit In this respect than either you or Socrates) knows that it is an appearance. though I am sane and can know reality. : blaming you for seeing the beautiful. It Is as* if the light of my me medium on which the moving matter of things could make no other Impression than to evoke their eternal forms.28 DIALOGUES IN . No. : . he nevertheless cherishes such is the mixture of waking and dreaming of health and rottenness it more than reality . But you. sense were a divine . indeed . point at confess that sometimes the fair vision intercepts reason. It Is a disgrace to a professed philosopher and a . separate appearance from reality ? and I am far from Democritus. Can the surgeon's knife Democritus. The Stranger. are too often delirious Is a frequent accident in fever and In dreams.

s Yet when he closed his eyes on this inconstant world he was a great seer. rich in constellations . as If inspired ? Is not the Stranger a disciple of a philosopher cannot . I know. : be subject to trances with Impunity. the Aldbiades. I disregard the trick . Is this circumstance of being subject to pleasant trances the only disease that you discover In the Stranger ? Democritus.VIVISECTION OF A 29 Moonstruck In Democritus. prepares it alone remaining whose actions in any case are slow and trivial. I know. Sensation is In itself a symptom of health. was always playful inventing or repeating such myths as he thought edifying for children or for patriots. In such of things I profess allegiance to you only : matters Plato. sunshine. Not at all : out of consideration to a guest I have begun with the least obnoxious. Indeed I am. Dwelling fondly on images. the tension which suspension and in a lazy man. I honour and follow him for what then he saw. Yet when the priate action . but somehow surer and more exalted and who knows what metaphysical nonsense he will presently be talking about them. knowing his own Ignorance. such suspension makes no great difference. which was a heaven of Ideas. coming body passes from rest to some approand a trance is but the momentary of this action. he very likely "wHl say to himself that they are not only lovelier than substance. It is a bad symptom. but without conIn respect to the substance and origin tradiction. Plato as well as of me ? The Stranger.

my royal friend. I know what you are murmuring. Democritus. Democritus. answer Philosophers are as jealous as each wants a monopoly of praise. Any refined nature seems effeminate to the old savage. Yes. as a poet bubbles with the words of his mother-tongue which his present the words chosen cannot have passion evokes chosen him or created his passion. Alcibiades was the equal of . although I cannot hear you plainly.^ou may praise the meretricious . Yet the Stranger's is the worse case. You may apply all that I am about to say to your own person and regard yourself as accused and convicted. You at least were a king. Now that he has touched on effeminacy he will soon be railing at us also. and I wait for the flux of matter 5 . of a Plato as much you please but 1 warn you as a physician that these rapturous fancies are signs of a feeble health : they comport effeminacy in action. Alcibiades. Aristippus was an adventurer.3o DIALOGUES IN LIMBO of words or the superstitious impulse by which he added something which he certainly could not see namely that those ideas were substances and powers ruling the world. : to bring them to light as it will in its infinite gyrations. ? Why I are you displeased with a fair . Dionysius (aside to Aristippus). Things take what shapes they can. Such a notion is not only false to the facts but vapid in logic. So without deeming words sacred or ideas magical I am a friend of both. as women am not jealous Muse of Venus .

your masquerade became a sort of action. Is commissioned by the gods.VIVISECTION OF A MIND 31 All three of kings and the seducer of queens. are his banners and It is a failure of nerve In . If in watching such . if he does so. and less foolish to smile or to shudder at the world sweets than to count the number than to attempt to reform It. as fancifully rebuilding the the state. philosopher especially. Ferocity becomes him. his thoughts vanity. you threw your all into the fray and made a gallant pose of your treason. It does the lion and will be his companion In a life of virtue. I pronounce It worthier of a philosopher to eat of the atoms. he if is little better than a maniac universe or reforming or . in sauntering his liver Is observing Its villainies. But a private and obscure person like the Stranger has only In Ms small heart which to display his inventions. shuddering Aristippw. he at is a woman In the theatre the tragedy and eating sweets. stripping himself bare of if all human entanglements. and must be more deeply and silently consumed by their is a fighting animal. He may raise his voice if him A against folly . flaunt your effeminacy upon a public you could stage. or If not. . at least his self-assertion But If he sits In his closet. Man they are only thoughts. and through the market-place and because his nook Is safe in good order. will be an action. His mere example will be a power. In his own person he may be stern. Wise man too. he tolerates the like spectacle. no he can resolutely walk alone. whatever his birth or station.

and I thank you both for your words. although perhaps a sorrow to others more reasonable than they. they are to . Unless.32 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO an inglorious tragedy and such a dull comedy as the earth presents in Ms day. Do not think. and our . Democritus and of a Aristippus. is a Intrepid virtue. and if you bravely make the best crazy world. : Men may that will be sometimes destroy what they hate a ferocious joy to them. eternity is full of that will defend you. the Stranger can still be merry and relish his small comforts I beg . nor even a Diogenes. to be allowed to honour him for his good nature. enough to persuade me that anything was to be gained by rebelling against fortune. seem to me to have spoken justly : in your censure and encouragement alike there is good counsel. the fruits of circumstance and of custom. champions The Stranger. of the gods 3 and how often do they b^tow it ? gift You yourself were no Pythagoras. fret away their lives in impotent hatred. There is wisdom here of another stripe. Both of you. the dreamt-of object is another and a ghastly thing. disillusion was my earliest and never were chagrin and hope strong friend. singly bent on browbeating people into a meddlesome virtue which is always half criminal. the living must find something amiable in things transitory and imperfect. We are such fruits ourselves. But never can men establish what they by any possibility love once there. then. O As for me. Sage of Abdera. that among the Shades all philosophers are scolds. excellent Traveller.

who Is the wisest of us here. . I should gladly of nature. . not having myself the gift of I should not have asked him for the leadership. among them all. it were sane and beneficent but I find satisfaction also. Those who beat the drum were unhappy selves. I greatest satisfaction those which remember now with the came unasked and departed unregretted. and. and a wise Psyche does not seek to detain her lover. summoning mankind to an ordered and noble life. and. In my varied life I ran the Stranger's whole gamut of human occupations and pleasures Dionysim. if he has unravelled them.VIVISECTION OF A hearts have 33 no prerogative in the large household Each of us indeed has his animal strength. in little things. it may be but a more impetuous vortex of atoms. D . trying to deceive them- Better not be a hero than. or rang the church-bell in my time creatures. The beautiful is a wing&d essence. quiet and boyish sports are more moralizing than places I should honour heroic virtue if these moralists.. like my kingly crown. Democritus. have followed him. AldUades. absolute truth nor for an earthly paradise . I should have been content with a placid monastery dedicated to study or with a camp of comrades in the desert. up intoTferoism by shouting Experience speaks through the mouth. Had there been some wise prophet in my day. But I found no master. his and the way always lies open to constant loves adventure ^jid sometimes to art. and perhaps oftener. nevertheless demands a bold spirit . lies. work oneself Green.

34 yet there slackness. yet he cultivates the illusion that many things are beautiful he confesses that a barbarous life Is an evil to his soul. whole lion Is nobler than half a man. your bodily complexion. and pleases himself In it. its and Incapable of fighting way To victoriously to the easement of Its own lusts. I . yet lie condones the barbarism of the world. can you propose a remedy ? if Democritus. therefore conclude that his disjointed. The Stranger. DIALOGUES IN LIMBO is a hazard In I think it it more glorious than a defect of nature in a man with a clear mind not to have also an imperious will knowing his most secret and profound desires and seeing his opportunities he should : leap to the goal. I Stranger admits that nothing is beautiful In itself. And for this pitiful lameness In my soul. but is indeed a disease not to love a glory and material dominion. is no disease it be only an appearthe Stranger or in any other creature. is word employed con- it has no meaning in nature. change your a s . is a torpid organism. Disease . an eye that follows the multiform life of nature. even ance. Yes you will allow me to ancestors. then. Neither ventionally the Stranger nor a dead dog suffers any corrup- tion. My in conclusion if it is. that to love the beautiful. Democritus. The relish their fate. if his present state or immediate promise : be the standard for his perfection if happy they was speaking of a they philosopher whose perfection is set on feowledge of the truth and on friendship with nature.

a new form of health to like be inured to disease. I agree to obliterate every trace of disease or sluggishness in your constitution. I wish him a glorious I life. TJie Stranger. The operation was unnecessary. Akibiades (aside prepares to fear. that should have borne designed by Democritus. to to the Stranger. and in that sense. and has^iot been painless. The Stranger. a true wonder-worker. I salute that admirable being. You see that you had nothing The old man has cut you up without hurting you. and arises. On that condition. if ever Meantime allotted beg leave to go and finish on earth the term of my present illness. and I bid my incomparable doctor farewell.VIVISECTION OF A MIND 35 and the time and place of your your breeding. existence. as the latter depart). my he name. It is but I might have fallen into worse hands. me away . until another visit. this physician has sent cured.

inquisitive Pilgrim.Ill NORMAL MADNESS reappear In season. all the snows and wisdom of extreme old age essentially noble. their youthful and lusty aspect for when we enter these gates Minos and Rhada- . but world grew daily still purer and stronger. as you see. folly. You me. They are ready for every though luckily they lack the means . and I sit crowned with . Therefore Alcibiades and Dionysius and Aristippus walk here in the flower of their youth. and the chronicle of vanity remains full of interest for them because they 9 are confident of shining in it. manthus restore to each of us the semblance of that age at which his spirit on earth had been and least most vivid and masterful its bent by tyrant circumstance out of natural straightness. These young men are compelling my hoary philosophy to disclose the cause of all the follies that they perpetrated when alive. Yet the person whom this subject most . though grew daily more more distracted in the press of the world and mine by understanding the polluted. and to-day you must take a seat beside Democritm. because their souls. They still wear.

NORMAL
nearly touches

37

Is you, since you are still living,, and life is at once the quintessence and the sum Here our spirits can be mad only of madness. and at the second remove, as the vicariously

verses in v^hich Sophocles expresses the ravings of Ajax are themselves sanely composed, and a

calm image of horror. But your thoughts, in the confusion and welter of existence, are still rebellious to metre you cannot yet rehearse your
;

we do here, with the pause part, and pomp of a posthumous self-knowledge. My discourse on madness therefore, will not only
allotted
as
,

celebrate your actions, but may open your eyes ; and I assign to you on this occasion the place of

who

honour, as nearest of kin to the goddess Mania^ to-day presides over our games, There is little philosophy not contained in the
;

between things as they exist in nature^ and things as they appear to opinion yet both the substance and its appearance often bear the same name, to the confusion of discourse. So it is with the word madness, which sometimes designates a habit of action sometimes an illusion of the mind, and sometimes only the opprobrium which a censorious bystander may wish to cast
distinction
,

upon

either,

Moralists
Socrates

and

ignorant

philosophers

like

of

whom women

think so highly convention, and
to society they

nothing can be

and young men often do not distinguish nature from because madness is inconvenient call it contrary to nature. But to nature and that a contrary
;

38

DIALOGUES IN
wild visions or talk to the

man should shriek or see
air,
kill

or to a guardian genius at his elbow, or should his children and himself, when the thing actually occurs, is not contrary to nature, but only
to the habit of the majority. The diseases which a man are no less natural than the instincts destroy

which preserve him. Nature has no difficulty in doing what she does, however wonderful or horrible it may seem to a fancy furnished only with a few loose images and incapable of tracing the currents of substance and she has no hostility to what she leaves undone and no longing to do You will find her in a thousand ways unit. making what she makes, trying again where failure is certain, and neglecting the fine feats which she once easily accomplished, as if she had forgotten their secret. How simple it was once to be a Greek and ingenuously human yet
;

;

nature suffered that honest humanity to exist only for a few doubtful years. It peeped once
into being, like a
will

weed amid the
all

crevices of those

Aegean mountains, and
not bring
it

back.
;

the revolving aeons Nature is not love-sick ;

and if to the eye of passion of conflict, vanity, and horror, these are not horrors, vanities, or conflicts to her,
she will

move on

her works seem

full

She
that

is

no

less willing that

we

should be sane.

sweetness to a long life ; nor is an agony of sweetness forbidden by nature to those inclined to sing or to love.

we should be mad than The fly that prefers may drown in honey

Moral terms are

caresses or insults

and describe

NORMAL MADNESS
nothing
;

39

but they have a meaning to the heart,
not
forbidden.

and

are

You may,

therefore,

without scientific error, praise madness or deride

Your own disposition and habit will dictate it. weak and delicate animal these judgements. like man could have arisen only in an equable

A

climate, in

play, to his pleasure

and

which at all seasons he might hunt and run naked or gaily clad according
:

he therefore

at first regards

the

Hyperborean regions, where summer and winter are sharply contrasted, as cruel and uninhabitable yet if by accident or necessity he becomes hardened
;

to those changes, forests pestiferous

monkeys. So it mind. Every nation normal and requisite
fancy
it

he begins to think his native and fit only for snakes and is also with the climates of the
thinks
;

its own madness more passion and more
it

calls imbecility. Of course, according to nature, to possess no fancy and no passion is not to possess too little, and a

calls

folly,

less

no imbecile while to have limitless passion and fancy is not to have too much, and
stone
is
;

a drone

among bees
all
is

or a poet
raptures.

among men
way*

a fool for being
aspiration

is not In the moralist

free to look either

If

some

gymnosophist sincerely declares that to move or to breathe or to think is vanity, and that to become
insensible
illusion
if
is

and

all

the highest good, in that it abolishes other evils, to him 1 object nothing ;
his treasure, let

starkness

is

him

preserve

it*

on the other hand Orpheus or Pythagoras or Plato, having a noble contempt for the body,
If

40

DIALOGUES IN LIMBO

aspire to soar In a perpetual ecstasy, and If with their eyes fixed on heaven they welcome any

accidental

fall

from a throne or from a housetop
,

as a precious liberation of their spirits fluttering to be free, again I oppose nothing to their satisfac-

tion

:

let

bosoms,

as being the

them hug Icarian madness to their acme of bliss and glory.

What, Aristlppus and DIonysius, are you so soon asleep ? I confidently expected you at this But sleep on. If you point to applaud my oration. to an understanding of dreams. prefer dreams Perhaps you others, whose wits are awake, may ask me how, if in nature there be nothing but atoms In motion, madness conies to exist at all. I will not reply that motion and division are themselves Insanity, although wise

for

men have said so and motion are the deepest nature of things. Insanity would be rather the vain wish to impose upon them unity and rest. For by I understand assurance and peace in being sanity what one Is, and In becoming what one must become so that the void and the atoms, unruffled and ever ready, are eminently sane. Not so however, those closed systems which the atoms often form by their cyclical motion these systems are automatic and repeat themthey complete selves by an Inward virtue whenever circumstances permit yet even when circumstances do not permit, they madly endeavour to do so* This
;

if

division

;

?

:

;

;

mad may

endeavour,
restore

when

only

partially

defeated ,

variations,

and propagate and it Is then

itself

with but slight
life.

called

Of

life

. The ghostly. inevitable whenever the impulses of bodies run counter to opportunity. and to add thought. if he attempts them at the right as it is . Indeed fancy as if aware of its vanity. moment. forsooth. But life. think what is false. . neither the void nor the atoms would heed that excuse or accept it. both in its virtue and in its folly. or is inwardly disthings posed to change when. there is no occasion for changing. is also expressed in fancy creating the world of appearance. If ever appearance should like become ashamed of being so gratuitous and an old gossip should seek to excuse its garrulity by alleging its truth.NORMAL : 41 madness is an inseparable and sometimes a predominant part every living body is mad in so far inwardly disposed to permanence when about it are unstable. In the eye of nature all appearance is vain and a mere dream since it adds something to substance which substance is not and it is no less idle to think what is true than to . . insecure that they should call upon that sleepy witness to give testimony to their being ? Their being is indomitable substance and motion and action. . the circumstances being That stable. and it would soon fade and grow weary if it had to tell the truth. So much for madness in action. makes holiday as long as it can its joy is in fiction. which is virtue in season is madness out of season. impalpable and is to add madness. Are they. and Prometheus as when an old man makes love or Alexander attempting incredible feats is a miracle of sanity.

would not be deceptive. except unspoken its vast shadow lends eloquence to our sparks of thought as they die into it. since a god need not be concerned about his own existence. or that of other things. is ?? The truth. and in gladness. . for they go their rounds soberly. After all there was friends. which is indifferent. If their boasts lies. appearances. saying. I am hurling flat a spear. if they had merely described their true " actions. I am standing on two legs I am running away. they are all the more elated. and he is not tempted to assert falsely. I am lying . but they must prate and promise. love to recite their past exploits and to threaten fresh deeds of blood had they respected reality they would have been content to act. Such in the safe and liberal life of a god. stamping on the ground in unison and striking your swords ordered motion being naturally fertile together in sound. like honest atoms. moon That the enced intoxication of life is the first cause of appearance you have all when you have danced observed and experiin a chorus or per. some sense the sun and in that nonsense of Socrates about being governed by reason.42 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO heroes in the Iliad. in flashing light. ? . instead of doing a man's work in silence. formed your military exercises. which is secure. These fools might almost have perceived their own idiocy. as men do that sound and splendour and gladness are the . without talking or thinking. my not eloquent. as is probable. : are because they live by imagination. and dead on the ground.

little they fill them with and most virulent form of madness In which the dreams of the vegetative soul are turned Into animal error and animal fury.NORMAL 43 substance of those things or of himself.-for what can a simpleton know of the streams of atoms actually coursing about him ? His mind Is furnished only with feelings and Images generated within. This divine simplicity of nature Is ill understood by mortals. was not mindful of them but was singing to himself his own song. their fears their anxiously interpreting that oracle according to and necessities. and their feelings and fancies arise only when their whole soul is addressed to external things of which they are necessarily Ignorant. In him the intoxication of life In creating appearance would not create illusion. when the voice of a god traverses the true nor false . . presumption such scraps of It as they may The god. but only an innocent and divine joy. the burden of It is neither only the priest or the people. but as you see In birds and kittens and young children. but being This ? is a third . must be in a prying In all directions and fidget to move and gobbling everything within reach. touching This is their only entertainment. for they have lost all fine inner sensibility. who address everything to their mean uses and vain advantage whereby in the struggle . For animals cannot wait for the slow mlnistratrations of earth and air. however. render false or true by hear. to lengthen their days a distraction. Accordingly. air.

whereas locomotion by itself would be unconscious and fancy by itself would be innocent and free from error. and as the chief endeavour of the animal body propagate lasting illusion of the and so the chief and most is to defend mind is the illusion of its importance. and the common doom.44 distracted DIALOGUES IN LIMBO by the urgency of his lusts and fears. as it must be in the strife of animals. If they think themselves immortal gods. they ready to die. and that in forming them nature like philosophers . because a sudden surprise awaits them. seeing that they are not pure atoms or the pure void. and feast and laugh together as they revolve complacently. Had they been science the is ambush visible into wise. fancy married with locomotion. who know themselves should have consented and made mortal. yet to the sharp eye of case ? The sun and which they glide. but what is their own the planets may seem to gaping observation to lead a sane life. one collocation of atoms or one conjunction of feelings is right or is better* and another is wrong or is worse Yet this baseless opinion every ! own What madness to assert that living organism emits in its madness. . begets false opinion and wraps the naked atoms in a veil of dreams. he takes those images and feelings for pleasant Thus lures or fantastic and stalking enemies. having found paths of safety . contradict- ing the equal madness of ail its rivals. They say the stars laugh at us for this. Such is the origin of opinion itself at all costs. they are mad.

NORMAL MADNESS 45 was not In earnest but playing. medicine. when having described the disease bring hope of health and prescribe the cure. by leaping of opinion at the root . Suddenly to renounce all madness Is accordingly lusty years : to miss the truth about madness. to you. attain to any understanding In abolishing illusion he of his former distress. . Is My 1 will not physic accordingly will be more gentle prescribe instant death as the only . Its existence and virtually so that for the blatant errors of his he would have substituted one great the total Ignorance mute and perpetual error which besets the atoms regarding the patterns and the dreams which In fact they generate. together with the whole comic rout of this world. which marvellously fertile In comedy. exists. 1 will not propose Into total salvation. If they had laughed at themfor those who will not laugh with nature selves in her mockery and playfulness turn her sport first into delusion and then Into anguish. Such being the nature and causes of madness In answering this Is there no remedy for it ? I broach the second and kindlier part of question . for not ready to though you are young and Inquisitive and renounce all life and all knowledge. would have forgotten denied It . Wisdom dream Is an evanescent madness. They would have done well to laugh. continues but no longer when the still . some great and heroic sage can begin by Only disowning madness altogether and felling the tree nor would he. It A radical cure. my I discourse. .

a conventional distinction may be drawn between madness and sanity. human life. must always elude human . and in all his fevers and griefs will be mindful of the atoms his forced illusions will not deceive him altogether. love In youth. but the philosopher. when followed. Meantime. without inquiring into ultimate vanity.46 deceives. Belief In the Interests of Its the imaginary and desire for the impossible will justly be called madness . if the worst befall. In . and religion among nations. since he knows their cause. Such conventional sanity Is a normal madness like that of Images In sense. . but those habits and Ideas will be conventionally called sane which are sanctioned by tradition and which. Doubtless the number and swiftness of the atoms even in a little space. but the more foolish images of discernment be disallowed in favour of others more sense may . faithful to the true rhythms and divisions of nature. DIALOGUES IN LIMBO In all Illusions there is some truth . since being products of nature they all have some relation to nature and a prudent mind by lifting . like two sober . and It is in his power. on seeing the disc will remember the spokes. their masks may discover their true occasions. Thus to the Innocent eye the six stout spokes of a chariot-wheel revolving rapidly are merged and blurred In one whirling disc . do not lead directly to the destruction of oneself or of one's country. by a draught of atoms artfully mingled to dispel all his griefs and fevers for ever. though no less subject than other men to this illusions. Two protecting deities^ indeed.

though their thoughts be in their homely way still dull or fantastic then plod on . than no pain or fancy or dispersed haggard hope subsists in that system any longer* and the peace of indifference and justice returns to the men some and if here or in. mad man a dog in his kennel. very committed some fearful rape or murder or having Even is sentenced to death by the magistrate. may by with its occasions become a principle adjustment of health and genius. is necessarily spontaneous and blind. and dies like . of these deities The chokes starves runs into the sea. too. he is tied with a chain. and harmonizing the worst of follies. One . the note once sounded repeating itself perpetually. the parent of noble actions and beautiful works* Fancy. pure and undisturbed. if harmless. which gallop in harness. while the unhappy souls whom Punishment has overtaken rest from their troubles. flank it 47 human folly and keep is Punishment. For no sooner has the system of atoms forming in relative safety 5 an animal body in lost its equilibrium and been death. it rings without anguish.NORMAL MADNESS friends supporting a drunkard . healing Yet before dying in the arms of Punishment madness may be mitigated and tamed by Agreement. and the other Agreement. within bounds. ia creating is the good . like a young colt broken in and trained to The automatism of life. work which Punishment does daily. This . The remnant. the memory of world echo of that life reverberates. Punishment thus daily removes the maddest from the midst of mankind.

like human geographers. or the gods without if it ? understanding their nature. If omens were observed scientifically and not superstitiously interpreted. yet they have appointed dreams and may be which warn them of the season for flight. be interwoven with good habits. tales told both by Greeks and barbarians which at times are useful to the state because by an artful disposition of signs and sounds they dispose secret sensations .48 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO Images which have no originals in nature since in nature there is nothing but atoms and the void may by union with the times and order of natural events pleasant and called in become the mother of names familiar. diverse imaginations in various species of animals rendered compatible with sagacity and with a prosperous life. Thus the most . Such amity can the god Agreement establish even between aliens. Thus the most deed-dyed illusion . like language. naming and saluting them. their common madness gives to each a perfect . and they are well informed about Egypt without consulting Herodotus. but between brothers he weaves a subtler and a sweeter bond* For when kindred bodies have the same habitat and the same arts they also have the same illusions and . the inner parts of men favourably for breasting labour or war. by which those events are the language of sense. Migratory fowl do not record their voyages in books. may flourish in long amity with things. as we do the stars. augury might be a true art of subThere are many false stitution.

but for fighting side by side for the sake of the beautiful. when the same free thoughts and the same fraternal joys visit two kindred spirits. whereas friendship . The Greeks in the Intervals between their wars Instead of sinking Into luxury and y .NORMAL 49 knowledge of the other's mind. is not It moves In the realm of nature. Barbarians of course may fight faithfully In bands and may live In tribes and In cities hugging their but such wives and children to their bosom Instinctive love. Whereas the Images In the eye or the thoughts of the heart can agree but loosely and. and In order that the liberal madness of their friendship might not end unless All the glories of Greece are It ended in death. politically with material things they may agree exactly with the Images In another eye and the thoughts of another heart. which all animals manifest. E in which peace was made keen and glorious by a . Is agreement in madness. This free unanimity was called friendship by the Greeks who alone of all nations have understood the nature of friendship. . . . and friendship. sloth. the fruits of this friendship and belong to the realm of madness tempered by Agreement for out of the very fountain of madness Apollo and the Muses drew that Intoxication which they taught to flow In the paths of health and of harmony. as It were. . or Into a vain Industry. It was not for fighting loyally side by side that the Spartan phalanx or the Theban band were incomparable in the annals of war. Instituted games. concerns only action and fate. ? .

it finds its quietus in punishment and death. Alcibiades. Your discourse.50 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO . it loves itself. as in the wisdom of children. but the images which breeds survive in peace. like all things natural. and the vulgar to that of madmen and stitute philosophers. Philosophers are unjust to the madness of the vulgar. then. it lives in harmony with the rest of nature . alive play with images and interests. What could be madder than a ghost ? Yet by the harmony which each of us has long since attained with himself. be my discourse upon madness. by its innocence or by its signification. not seeing how plausible a subit is for their own. because everybody . There is sweetness and quaint reason in these frail thoughts of our after-life. by the action it comports. thinks himself sane blinding illusion. and to show it to be no anomaly. indomitable Sage ? . and often. I wherein precisely shines his have wished in a manner to remove the mystery and the odium from this universal predicament of mortals. Let such. otherwise. Actual war is a conflict beautiful image of war. and the it many rival opinions hides the deep with nature by which these opinions harmony live. we immortalize the life of friendship and share it with the gods. Madness is natural and. and by glitter of the freedom and peace which we gladly grant to one another. as we survive in these removed spaces after the So even the wisest when battle of existence. as blind as it is inevitable of matter with matter.

for like the bat and the astronomer she could see better In the dark. the whole world was a garden In which a tender fair-haired child. you. Democritus* Very likely. whose name was Autologos. She had a sharp pruning-hook on a very long pole. and left The if comes of being dead. that the living are not 3 always unwilling to confess their plight I will repeat an old story of the sort which we compose seems curiously to confirm all that the noble Democritus has taught us. indeed. and very likely he thinks that such an opinion us all with wonder.NORMAL MADNESS has filled 51 us without he had dared. a goddess in disguise but she lived In a cave and came out only at night when the child was asleep.. should have broken this silence rather than I. let him speak for If The Stranger. muttering yellow leaves In showers words to herself which were not intelligible. but words on my part are superfluous. surly she would cut off some flower or some bud as for children. for you tell us that madness comes of being alive. Once upon a time. however. . even the highest branches. with which she silently pruned every tree and shrub In the garden. cutting off the dead twigs and shaking down the aad often. an old woman who tended the garden. so the story runs. . Stranger. the wish to speak. I should not hesitate to do so had anything to object to so persuasive a discourse. I To show since I recognize the truth of every part of It. It . but himself. There was. played and babbled alone.

and genera and species is neither and so with all nor Love Beauty the other flowers. He was highly pleased with all these names. Now the child In his play gave names and the to everything that he liked or disliked . But one day. and the violet Sad. and you may go on using them if you please . and . having pricked himself with the thorns of a rose.52 weli ? DIALOGUES IN LIMBO so that when the child awoke he missed them and could not imagine what had become of them. They are flowers and plants merely.. for he had stopped playing. As he sat brooding on this question. for they are prettier than those which truly describe the flowers. . . . for being a busy man he disliked " " emotion. those aames of yours will do no harm. and the thistle Pain. and they made those flowers and plants so much more Interesting to him. . that he thought those names were their souls. and the vine Inspiration. and said "It matters little what names you give to flowers because they already have scientific names which Indicate their true the rose Is only a rose. a ness. and they have no souls/' Hearing this : ." he added. man in a black gown came into the garden who was a botanist. very much to the botanist's annoyance. and the olive Merit and the laurel Triumph. . the child began to cry. After all. rose he called Beauty and the jasmin Pleasure and the hyacinth Sweetness. he changed her name to Love and this caused him to wonder why he had given those particular names to everyand the thing rather than quite different names child began to feel older.

shall I now teach botany ? There is nobody now to care for flowers . about them. as silently as the creeping moonlight. and with a great stroke of her pruning-knife cut off his head . that this for its . and when the wind had dried his tears " If I cannot give beautiful names he answered to the plants and flowers which shall be really their souls and if 1 cannot tell myself true tales . Then. . You botanize in I will may it. When the botanist returned in the morning and found the that child gone he was much perplexed. : ." And the child went old to sleep that night quite flushed and angry.NORMAL much shorter . and she took him into her cave and buried him under the leaves which had fallen on woman came same night. the out of her cave and went directly to the place where the child was sleeping. soul does anything but what you find the flower But the child was not comactually doing. which were many. To whom/' " said he to himself." forted. more. not play in the garden any have it all to yourself and 1 but hate you. if you wish to be a man and not always a child you must understand that the soul of each flower is only a name precious to you. for I " only a professor. : . suppose because the flower has a soul. and if 1 can't teach anybody the right names for flowers. of what use are am . 53 and if the word soul Is particularly you may even say that plants and flowers have souls only. indicating how it spreads its in the morning and perhaps closes them petals You must never at night as you do your eyes. way of life.

Apollo. my name is who must have been my ancestor. I propose that we Immediately raise an altar to . You pay my speech a great tribute. we will disguise our deity under the name of Autologos. who think madness an evil. . 1 proclaim myself high priest of the new temple. he much . and we will borrowed from the Stranger's tale . but with Pan. and it seemed to make no difference In her habits that the child and the botanist were dead. and he evaporated altogether. Agreed : and since derived from that of Dionysus. Aristippus. Democritus. ? and of course he was calling Agreement the child Autologos was that Innocent Illusion which was the theme of his whole discourse. If this be the nature of madness. Only his black gown remained to delight the ragBut the goddess in guise of that old picker. and In order to avoid the protests of the vulgar. not Identify him with the Furies or Harpies. and Dionysus. and even these shreds like the ribs of a dry leaf soon crumbled. the same that the wise Democritus was calling Punishment and the botanist's name must have been Nomos 1 think we may . Orpheus. and worship him hereafter as the only beneficent god .54 flowers to DIALOGUES IN me n ? This thought oppressed the and poor man was as he was soon reduced to a few stiff tendons and bones. Dionysius. . whom that deity. that he entirely collapsed so rather wizened to begin with. woman went on pruning the garden. surmise that the true name of this goddess must have been Dike.

be but a dream within a dream and the deepest of your illusions ? My whole career seems a myth to me now in memory yet when 1 interpret it in terms of your philosophy and imagine instead nothing but clouds of atoms drifting through a black sky. into an even deeper cavern of reverie. and suppose that suddenly my dream was transformed. 5 and reining in my quivering steeds to receive the crown. Nevertheless. Being nounce between you. intense study ? too s is hypnotic and might not the lucid theory of nature which you think partly awakens you out of the dream of life. Democritus. Democritus^ are a believer in no judge in the matter I will not proit. hearing the shouting crowds blushing to be myself the victor. like the child in the at that Stranger's tale. and Olympia and the sunshine and myself and my horses and my joy and the praises of the Athenians turned to atoms fatally combined I am afraid that. Suppose 1 was dreaming of a chariot-race. Alcibiades* Aristippus and Dionysius are enemies and you. 1 seem to be descending .NORMAL MADNESS I 55 have celebrated the mad god so fitly that I have filled his votaries with a new frenzy of worship. but I can conceive that a man who has spent his whole long life distilling herbs and grinding stones into powder should believe that he knows something of their of science. . 3 substance. Do you should blame you ? ? Is error sublimity impatient of I know well the shock that comes to the of truth . 1 should burst into tears think I change of dreams.

which if It leaves a trace leaves not one of its own quality. too. being Indeed and In It its parent nature. and your strong lithe hand detaining them before the altar of Apollo while you receive the crown how should science delete these verses from the book of experience or prove that they were never sung ? But where Is their music now ? What was It when passing ? A waking dream.56 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO innocence on discovering that the beautiful Is The soul. and must bleed a misconceive little before bearing fruit. united in the divine ecstasy of the poet. has her virginity unsubstantial. As the grief of Priam in Homer and the grief of Achilles. and grief also Is a dream. . . Is witchery witchery. proves her fertility. as the atoms dance In else circles through the void (and what should the substance of the beautiful be If it has a substance at all ?) far from destroying the beautiful in the realm of appearance my discovery raises its Its for presence there to a double dignity a magic birth. whose joy It I deny nothing* Your Is. if You my philosophy deny the beautiful or would appear. Yes. springing from the dreadful madness of love and pride in their two bosoms. Has not my whole discourse been an apology for Illusion and a proof of its necessity ? you suppose that I madly forbid it to When I is discover that the substance of the beautiful a certain rhythm and harmony In motion. Olympian victory and your trembling steeds spattered with foam. . but a transmuted and serene Image of sorrow in this realm of memory and truth. so all the joys and griefs . .

NORMAL MADNESS
of illusion unite and
a sane mind.

57

become

What would you

a strange ecstasy in ask of philosophy ?

To

in the

feed you on sweets and lull you in your errors hope that death may overtake you before

you understand anything ? Ah, wisdom is sharper than death and only the brave can love her. When
in the thick of passion the veil suddenly falls, it leaves us bereft of all we thought ours, smitten and consecrated to an unearthly revelation, walk-

ing dead

seem

to

the living, not knowing what we not loving what we seem to love, know,

among

but already translated into an invisible paradise where none of these things are, but one only

companion, smiling and silent who by day and night stands beside us and shakes Ms head gently, bidding us say Nay, nay, to all our madness. Did you think, because I would not spare you, that 1
,

never

felt

the cold steel

?

Has not

my own
?

heart

been pierced ? Shed your tears, my son shed your tears. The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is
a fool.

IV

AUTOLOGOS
Aldbiades. Receive us with honour, noble

Be-

mocritus, for

we

are heralds of a god.

The

divine

Autologos, patron of madness, now has his temple in our midst, and is about to deliver oracles but
;

we
of

are in doubt whether to invoke
all

him

as the
;

madness or of sublime madness only

god and

since your

wisdom

first

disclosed to us (perhaps

against your intention) that the
is

human of deities truly beneficent, we come to inquire of you with what rites we should approach him, and what
the most

god of madness and the only one

words duly pronounced
him, and
let

render him propitious. Democritiis. If you have your god, inquire of
will

prescribe his own mummeries. of health I might give you some For the cult

him

precepts,

but
?

who

can

foretell

the

whims

of

delirium

Dionysius.

Ah, you have not divined the simple
our new
religion.

profundity

of

We
;

have

a

shrine, small, rustic,

and mysterious

it is

but a

great urn which we have erected upside down in a rocky grotto, over a huge cleft stone and
;

through

this cleft

each of us in turn will creep
58

AUTOLOGOS
and
?

59

crouching within the hollow vessel like a womb, will whisper to himself his own For the great Autologos is no mannikin oracles. of wood or stone, the object of a degraded Idolatry
child In the

;

the speaking Spirit in all of us, whenever it and the reverberating urn will give back speaks

he

Is

;

our words with an impressive echo and an Increment of meaning, which will be the divine revelation of ourselves to our own thoughts.
Democfitus. Excellent.

You come

to ask

me

what words
so that

to utter In

when

your automatic capacity, they are sublimated by the rumble

of a concave stone,

you may revere them
,

as

your
en-

own

Inspiration

!

Aristippus.

Being without prejudice

we

large our pleasures In every quarter and from any source and if your words should please us we will gladly repeat them, as we do the verses of
;

Homer, without taking the

useless

trouble

of

composing others that might not flow so harmoniously or ring so true.
Alcibiades. Yes, venerable Sage,

we beg you

to

compose the liturgy of our god Autologos* Democntus. The task is new for a philosopher.
1 have been asked to devise laws for and precepts for shipbuilding, mining, state, and weaving, and many a new Instrument have I contrived In these and in other crafts ; and 1 have mixed herbs for purging many diseases, and

In

my

time

the

established a holy regimen for the cure of rage : but now I am bidden to Institute a cult of madness

and babble some

litany

fit

for a foolish god.

So

60
:

DIALOGUES IN

there Is leisure for everything in eternity. be It But I warn you that my Invocations may be so potent that the god himself may be transformed and spirited away so that when you crawl down
;

from your mystic tripod you may find yourselves
sane,

Dionysius. Sweet madness will not from, me by any Incantation.
I will

be driven

be as pleasant as disease me. Alcibiades. We sometimes beseech a god to spare us, sometimes to descend and fill us with Ms spirit and since there seems to be a cruel and a kindly madness, your rites should ward off the one and attract the other. Democriius. Truly there is a madness that men dread and another that they love, for to dance, laugh, love and sing Is a happy madness, but to sit mumbling and whining with one's face to the wall, or to rage with a drawn sword calling oneself
Aristippus. If health allow you to heal
;

5

Medea
fate.

according to human opinion, a dreadful Since I am employed for the moment in
is,

honouring your god, I will feign to bow to this convention: as when I framed laws or administered medicine I allowed myself to serve p
heart knew well human prejudice, although that according to nature health was not better than disease, nor a city than a desert. Your first

my

invocation of Autologos must accordingly be an acceptance of his gift, which Is illusion. But if your worship Is to be pleasing to him and ulti-

mately healthful to yourselves you must not grudge

that they ! known a blessing If they had equally the children of If the dwarfs or the deafperfect than the other mutes were left to breed by themselves. his kingly .. your love to sneers. not of course In exchange these are for sanity and knowledge of the truth not gifts for Autologos to give but In exchange to for a different madness : make ready welcome the Inspiration of the god If he should suddenly turn your remorse to complacency. such an openness to folly of every kind. prepare your hearts to renounce It and to put It away. Is your sorrow to the hunter's Joy. or by some irrational love or inIn bestowing his favours veterate sorrow. The jesters and the dull-witted. the deaf-mutes and the blind have all Insulted one another. freedom you must not prescribe the particular madness which he shall Infuse Into you.AUTOLOGOS him. they would think they had a . and deity those who devoutly approach his shrine must be eager to cultivate daily In them all in turn. For lack of such initiation much anguish has been prolonged In the world without necessity. as 61 common votaries do. What were all and not one of them saner or more Autologos. the dwarfs and the giants. Is essential to the neophyte let it be the first and preliminary purification of your souls In approaching these mysteries. Such : a surrender of any pet folly. far from impertinent censors. and to be mad some new and wonderful manner. If you are oppressed like Orestes by some fancied guilt. This the Impartial patron of every error. and felt uneasy and guilty in their own hearts.

until the priests. all else they ignore. when that hinder ornament had become council and decreed. as the parents began to offer resistance. later. such as we thought we had in Athens or in Abdera . because the philosophers. and they would be as proud of their divine beauty as are chattering monkeys or blind moles or any other sort of creature capable of forming habits and expectaAll living souls welcome whatsoever they tions. who all belonged to the elder generation with ample tails. for men formerly had tails child wept bitterly and consulted the soothsayers elders conspicuous . or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong. and that the tradition . began to occur. that the just gods should condemn their innocent child to such eternal When. who gave out oracles from the hollow of ancient trees . company Yet rare. tail opinion was reversed.62 civil DIALOGUES IN quota of wit and virtue. other tailless births disgrace. however. but soon. for their long and honourable tails. in man and sages gathered in a majority vote. declared that without a tail no man was really human or could be admitted after death into the of the gods. they suffered a scapegoat to be sacrificed instead and persons without a tail were merely condemned to pass . that a by was unnatural. or deny So the mother of the first tailless to be possible. at first the legislators had the little monsters put rigorously to death . their lives in slavery. or at least without the rights of citizenship . are ready to cope with. legislators. and she asked what unwitting impiety she or her husband could have committed.

When. and the masks and straggling chorus of one are . but the mother was burned alive for having had commerce with a devil. the rush and glamour of action no longer vivifies them. by ignorant poets. always a tribe of intolerant coxcombs. Though three tragedies and one comedy be played in one day in the same theatre. therefore. to dismiss all passionate and exclusive attachment to any one form of madness you should not suffer the remnants of one dream to survive and confuse the next.AUTOLOGOS that such things 63 had existed was an Invention of and absurd. disturbing its harmony and dishonouring their own function for the elements of illusion become ghastly when . not only was the infant instantly despatched. 5 worship of Autologos. the stage is thoroughly cleared in the intervals. but allow deep sleep to intervene between. Nor will it suffice in the pure and acceptable however useless . a casual reversion. and the exceptions are reduced to lead a pitiable existence. the illusion unqualified. a child with a tail was born here and there. Thus among those who know not Autologos the greatest odium attaches to being as the vulgar are not. not allowed to disfigure the other. vision and vision.. that every draught may be pure. and the peace after it profound. . not so much by any actual defect in their constitution as by the contempt and cruelty of the majority. before each libation. and sport of nature. or to lacking some usual organ or instinct . however. Cleanse the cup perfectly .

and while by their sport they diversify It. The very plasticity of his art. even as the winds would raise no storm and never manifest their vehemence If the water of the sea which they drive violently heavenward had not Its inalienable weight and did not fall back with an equal violence. requires a substance in its Protean changes so that each part may be learned and recited faithfully. to the barbarians .. The divers inspirations of the god would not be received worthily unless the soul was stable in her docility and invincibly herself. right occasions. mad- was a disgrace and sometimes to the Bacchic which Phrygia had lent us. which makes him ready be now a man. So let your ship have an on that anchor anchor laid deep In nothingness you may ride any storm without too much In your loves be devoted.64 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO votaries of It Remember also that you are ness and not mad unwittingly. Remember* accordingly. real than the atoms. and now a prophet. and larger it does not resist them. In due order and on the to . The actor must not . The void is no less god. not agonized anxiety. It does not change. fall from the he must not linger stage or rant out of metre beyond his time or lengthen his speeches. that diseased orgies and unseemly madmen mingled there with those who were mad only devotionally and in the spirit of the festival. now a clown. perpetually returning to its ancient level. in all your slashing madness that this is madness bend to the Inspiration of the which you enact and wait for It to pass. now a woman. : : : .

Why should one nothing devour another nothing in fear and hate ? Suffer each day's sun to set in peace: slowly. and I believe we may account it veritably an ancient Dionysius. We . and more blessed thy going. has been restored by your inspiration so that we celebrate at once the antiquity of our ritual may and our originality in re-establishing it to-day. so on many- sum pass coloured wings thought flies through the silence^ but the silence endures. which after being disused for ages. Blessed be thy coining^ Autologos. a it fills religion as it fills life. dignity ? Let the liturgy of Autologos therefore be as followSj and whenever you enter your sacred chant to yourselves these words : urn ? work within me^ divine Autologos the miracle of madness^ that what exists not in nature Worf . As hide all it before the face of darkness. another will rise to lighten the morrow. great disinfectant and kindness. . after the pause of night. Our best thanks. 65 is The : consciousness of vanity . O 3 may arise in thought. and awhile with their splendour. with fortitude. excellent hieroarchaic flavour of our liturgy and its phant. nothingness draw what dream May it be a pure dream^ perfect and entire. The mystery. From the abyss of thou wilt. Alcibiades (after glancing at Aristippus). metaphysical depth are all we could desire .AUTOLOGOS or frenzied .

(He places one hand on the shoulder of Aristippus and the other on that of Dionysius. the others silent on their festive errand . each of us shatters his greatest illusion and heals his most radical madness. comes closer than work-a-day opinion to . Now without delay we will return to the fane and begin to rehearse our festival. It is rash to intrude upon the both the depth and the grace of piety of others : it elude the stranger. Not offended. are ingenious sophists and pleasant : : companions. mock mysteries. you will ask. Democritus. Stranger do not follow and have not . You. In invoking the aid of the gods and in attributing all things to their providence and power. Religion is indeed a convention which a man must be bred in to endure with any patience and yet religion. What madness. in a measured dance. like a boy admiring from afar the feats of an athlete or the gleaming armour of soldiers on the march. to-day opened your lips at Perhaps you are offended our enlightened religion. . first to the right and then to the left. for all its poetic motley. . and what illusion ? that his thoughts produce one another or This the very illusion of Autoproduce his actions These young fops. but they are utterly without religion .} Democritus. the heart of things. and the three glide away obliquely. dancing away to their logos. but helpless and envious.66 also 5 IN thank you and are charmed more than ever with the new worship we are adopting. The Stranger.

in the present utter and he prays. is the voice of sensation. . invisibly Religion in its humility restores man to his only dignity. . in the past and by . acknowledging his dependence on the unseen for the future. and thought at : ! s every moment of animate existence ! The open- mouthed rabble shouting in the agora suppose that nothing controls them but their pert feelings and and imaginations by miracle unanimous . the courage to live by grace. acknowledging his utter dependence on the unseen. and will. " and ignorance in his own soul which have put those empty catch-words into his bawling mouth. even the demagogue who is pulling the strings of their ignorance and cupidity fancies that he is freely ruling the world and forgets the cupidity .AUTOLOGOS . that he rules and creates himis persuaded And yet how irresistible What madness self. He sees that the issue of nothing is in his hands. 67 and If your heart held you back as if from sacrilege from following in their train it did not deceive he Autologos is the one perfect atheist you. the most visionary of mystics Miserable puppets ! but the lightest of them cut the knot of the heart and suddenly there is an end of eloquence and policy and mighty determination. Admonished religion he gives thanks. He knows that it suffices for the wind to change and all the fleets of thought will forget their errand and sail for another haven. : wise in comparison. ly the shafts of Apollo is He knows how let . seeing that he knows not whether at the next will still moment he be alive : nor what ambushed .

and as this bundle of atoms is called Democritus. As the sun Is called Phoebus and the sea Poseidon. Fancy can conceive only a kindred fancy. For what Is the truth of the matter ? That the atoms In their fatal courses bring all things about by necessity. and In little things as in great. such as might spring from organs similar . he may trust even himself. in their own motions as In those of heaven^ saluting and honouring the gods. but always vain and Impotent In themselves never therefore wise save In con- omens of the march of fate. and there deceptive. and thought In you was alive to be speaking also in the sun feign Autologos and In the sea. The Stranger. and is the whole . But can the atoms be called gods ? Democritus. The Stranger. and because of the may have shown him. or subtly undo the strength and the loves In his own bosom. and the heart's warmth Love. he humbly trusts the mute promises of the gods. universe the body of Autologos ? Democritus. it is yet the truth of true. But In this bundle of atoms called Democritus Autologos just now was speakand the poets ing. fessing their own weakness. and the image Imaginary. .68 IN powers will traverse his path. Does living Illusion then haunt all the atoms in their flight. But looking up at the broad heaven^ at returning day and the revolving year. The name Is a name. and that men's thoughts and efforts and tears are but signs and favour they prophetic here.

but if life Is ? lavish in illusion here why prudent blaspheme against any god.AUTOLOGOS to Its 69 3. . He Is Indeed^ else even In jest I should not have sung his praises. The Stranger. not also there A man will not ? . own . Then Autoiogos Is truly a great a boundless an Irrepressible spirit ? Democritus.

What means this rout ? ? Why this rush and clamour in eternity celebrating the rites of your that Have you been of madness. and we had decided to wait until the Stranger should reappear. we know and a witness to our former disputes but being alive. We we and roses. determined that his conversion defeat and our triumph.LOVERS OF ILLUSION Democritus. We come to refute. how your philosophy. new god you come If breathless. restrained ourselves with until to-day difficulty now being immortal^ cannot change your mind even if thrice refuted . you had turned AlciUades. We had long since taken counsel* to destroy venerable Sage. Dionysius. illusion. 70 mark your Therefore we no sooner shall spied the rash mortal than we seized him as a . dragging the Stranger as why as if he were a prisoner of these ridiculous crowns of thistle and burrs a funeral into an orgy ? unhappy war ? And . but that you. he can be compelled to recant. preference for truth We your have . for the wretch is your disciple. as we over utterly disown. and we are . but should have preferred laurel took what we found.

OF 71 hostage. young braggarts. Democntus. and we mean to hold him down until he has made amends for you both . Come on. Leave the pestered enough. If you use force. I deliver it. suffered to depart Democritus. so that my let panoplied philosophy need not fear the slightest wound. and under good auspices: for I come as priest of Autologos. and you may be able to hear to if is so. Dionysius. he I fancy . in his own world. bring against you because while united in attacking you. we Tremble. . and Aristippus will abolish the difference which you have made between them in respect to truth and will prove that at most they differ only in duration and pleasantness. discredited Sage not one refutation but three. then. and the sooner he forswears your errors the sooner he shall be . you will not seem confident of exercising persuasion. At least you are pleasant assailants^ who exhibit your wooden weapons before the fight. and will never . hear your refutation. let me at once tumult subsides your my answer* even if not And understand Alcibiades. we have by no means agreed to defend one another. it. whereas Dionysius will destroy your assertion that science is better than illusion. Nor will our three spears pierce the same point in your shield allegation . me . our new divinity. for my shaft is that reason a will transfix your form of madness . and endure your first assault. know whether you have done poor Stranger in peace .

and well that In feasts. Far above your science. and of all who in derision of cold reports. pert. You possess. Madness. inverting the cup of out In reason. poets. pour their spirits a rapturous libation to rejoin the my ancestor Dionysus. the spirit you are not versed. The value of madness Is not such as you attribute to the normal . no doubt. and I speak also in vowed perpetual worship the name of the divine Plato. superand destructive of morality and of the state. which the vulgar world imposes upon us. we have . O mad Democritus. mysteries. and the disgusting inner organs of the body knowledge of no importance to monarchs or to liberal minds but in the higher things of . who ? and highest esteem by all well-ordered nations rebellion against their dogmas in the name of any reason ficial. I prize the mystic vision of those souls who. are nevertheless held in the . and In theirs Is and priests. is well known to be Ill-bred. even in the dullest it is of us. and tragedies we should enact the various cries and obsessions of madmen as vividly as possible. In order to relax a little and mean wise and the punctilious sanity. . a saving grace. and as religiously.72 to IN whom in scorn of ancient superstition. master of mystics initiates. much curious knowledge of herbs. mad. and atoms. are notoriously Prophets. and go to deep soul of the earth. and madmen. behold the absolute truth face to face In an inward vision. A Is touch of madness. a divine I declare In my name gift. or rather the weary artificialities. or calculation. science.

5 separate yourself from the vulgar and denounce their prejudice. Your condemnation of other species of madness from offending but a part of your playful imposture. . . is But you soon to forget your own precept and talk as if to seem discover things actual and material which you say are clouds of dust whirling in the air. to be indomitably free* In one respect Democritus 1 admit that you . good or evil in the eye of nature. in spite of gods and men. : course. and pretended scorn of human illusions when was there a human illusion more admirably unsubstantial than your philosophy ? In the art with which you sustain your fancy at that pre- Of : carious height . but the ignoble and to be mad is simply. makes me your friend because illusion would lose half its charm if there is .. should not be our own masters. and quite uninspired but divine madness wafts the soul away altogether from the sad circumstances of earth and bids it opinion . for you deny that illusion is an evil in itself since nothing. . 1 recognize your scientific genius. product of other things live like a young god only among its ? . which Punishment and Agreement bring into a blind and external harmony with nature. On the contrary such madness is almost sane. were better than to dwell on things dreamt and invented an opinion that I should have expected to hear only from some man of no cultivation. own chosen Had we not licence to be mad we creations. .OF Illusions of sense or 73 . according to you. and fat me. I am not deceived by your gruff airs. .

of force and impotence in my own soul. friendship. I might have composed an epic out of my life while I was still living it. Each phase of experience has left me a theme for reflection. but in all I have loved only treachery. I should have set forth the first virgin glow and all the false after- it truly than when I was in that other un- . enjoy my life again more distractedly undergoing mannerly world. so that here. were not variety in So in you. Aristippus ? I prize the affectation of simplicity. a masquerade in rny time. and exile the image. I love. simplicity of the boor would be The genuine insufferably tedious . although I do not say that here and there his own tears or enchantments may not have pulsed in these rustic measures . Fancy is not a falsification of nature. and exquisite in its unreality. splendour. No less charming was the express rusticity of my Sicilian Theocritus the artifice of an accomplished man. among my royal and other cares. where images are all. but in you it is the pose of a subtle wit. or even possible I to note y save for the fancy which overlays it. Had I had. like Calypso and Nausicaa. . to whom the rough comedy of country manners is a remote memory or satirical jest.74 DIALOGUES IN it. and entirely For I should eclipsed Homer and his Odyssey. leisure for the poet's art. philosophy. each tiresome farce some song pleasant to remember. because nothing in nature is worth noting. have described not material monsters or obvious charmers. have known royal many . but the subtle mixture of light and shadow.

on the contrary. All philosophers. Happily mine was like a grain of incense that. since necessity and custom compelled them to profess something. In showing the falseness of your doctrine 1 have not denied its You observe that my O magnificence : makes all its murderous intent in my refutation. rose in a voluminous and sweet-smelling cloud and the god that let my spirit fall from heaven : unawares. To have a clean and enjoy in conceiving in love. now breathes it in again with voluptu- ous surprise of his . were equally welcome at my court and now that I have . so clear and trans- scentless parent a medium would hardly be a soul. Only a child I drives a sword through a painted monster* have ever loved philosophers. I should have shown that there is nothing worth having in kingship but what a penniless dreamer may it. Sage of Abdera. would be almost like not existing . overlooking and pardoning the foolish doctrines which they chose to profess. if they were eloquent and original. and 1 have no . for he perceives that it was a part own substance. and only virtue in them. of prophecy and of science. my noble Democritus. has not been malicious. that should merely report things as they are. its very falseness charm in my eyes. as he scattered the seeds of a myriad other lives. 75 fustian of patriotism. thrown by some deity into the embers of a mortal body.OF 3. having the divine gift of creation. onslaught. in intellect. and that the illusion and in enthusiasm is the true wisdom.

public assembly . Then I may lift my head. pursue their true good In gaming. He Is adjusting his mantle.76 IN become in turn a courtier of Pluto. has Dionyslus finished his bawdy speech ? Alcibiades. and should be far from hinting . Alcibiades. 1 am well aware that the truth not pleasant to everybody. and old agree in finding it irksome to see things even in husbandry and brutal war (In which facts have to be faced) they play and lie to themselves as much as and they they dare turn from their work at the first opportunity to as they are . Tell me. am sure he has finished. So it seems. kisswitnessing endless tragedies and and shotiting for revolution In the comedies. Democritus (who has drawn his cloak over his ? head). drinking. Aldbiades. Why do you cover your face ? Democritus. So were you . for fear of being blinded by their splendour my thin unpoetlcal soul could not have interposed a veil thick enough . Ing. Children are natural mythologlsts they beg to be told tales and love not only to invent but to enact falsehoods. Glorious monarch happily dethroned. singing. I Democritus. The Incense of this sacrifice It may be sweet to your god Autologos. 1 have listened to your words with averted face. . I rejoice that he has added you with your mocking wisdom^ to the famous circle of my intimates. Young to obscure them. is : . for they are 1 men of imagination. but sticks in my throat.

and dreams are . But the soul of animals must be watchful they cannot live on mere hope^ fortitude. . Dionyslus did you. natures It Is . its soul should circulate inwardly and flower as It will. for circumstances escaped you. If Instead of being The cabbage a king you had been a cabbage. dreams nut and In every berry. endowed with locomotion have discovered so much more of It than you. If you had only been born a cabbage. When a flea. It But a cabbage cannot give direction to others makes a poor king. cannot therefore matters nothing If its soul ignores the motions and positions of outer things or fails to distinguish them according to . ? ! culty In . move it . enticed from a distance by the wafted warmth and fragrance of your body. the heart of nature Is full of dreaming and I daresay there is a poet In every . jumps from a beggar's rags and lodges snugly in some fold of your royal flesh* It is a wise flea. enough that. Your philosophy would be perfect.OF that 77 you ought to have been otherwise. Is perception action being necessary. how entirely your attention might have been devoted to that more than There Is no diffiHomeric epic about yourself their .. So. if 1 did not remember that you were a monarch. fostered by ambient influences which It cannot modify. Thus a creature lies under a mighty Hence 1 and the Stranger. Ah. true Indispensable. travellers. . and endurance they must hasten to meet perils and opportunities. who have both been observant compulsion to discover the truth. fatal to them when.

like . . in it prefers the better to the worse. the Cynics of old in my palace. . to whom I never denied an alms for having perhaps abused me and he reminds me of what I always said in those . If you envy that . Dionysius* Democritus is pleased to rail. The except graceful Plato. is an exception . but also according to me. sated flea or that poetic cabbage their fate will not be denied you but I.78 IN that not only according to Socrates and Aristippus. philosophy approves and dreams he is a god in a red heaven. in that it has a keen scent and But when presently true knowledge of nature. . But is not mortal life in any case brief and perilous. then from this ecstatic flea wisdom jumps back to you for you awake at the prick of its snout from your epic slumber and begin searching for that flea with all a poor man's sagacity until you catch it. sated and swollen with your rich blood. and days. Let us illusion is perilous admit that pleasure in and brief. that therefore I follow him. AMMades. especially when Here in eternity all durations it is boldly lived ? of existence become equal. at his best. being in the alert state of . and not to have jogged on for ever in mediocrity* . torpid as it has become. this same flea begins to have poetic visions such as your . you philosophers agree in nothing in taking yourselves too seriously. a waking animal prefer knowing and jumping. and crush it between your two thumb-nails. but all its qualities remain unlike. Now we see clearly that true happiness is once to have touched perfection.

nature had caught up atoms from the slime of the earth or from the air and outside my body had composed flowers or animals that I could gaze upon and love ? Both beauties are worse than if delightful and both are transitory. Why reprobate ? A ure goods by their goodness and not by their What. I know. to ignore moral distinctions and to describe reality without fondness or displeasure but in fact you are full of scorn for the dreamer. and to have pleasure in both. Like a hero in Homer with taunts. is the part of wisdom. Alcibiades. you had it. vincible. Aldbiades. I defy I you In- am moralist support dethroned monarch and a reprobate me on either hand. would discern what lies in your fancy from if Afistippm.OF If Afistippus* Courage. while they last. even if . what enable you to lies in the outer world. Vain discernment. he is willing to admit frankly that he merely . rely critus Dionysius. lends dignity to one origin ? source of pleasure rather than to another. I pray. attacks you for that noble sally. 79 Demoon me. since the better and the worse are not concerned in it. Democntus* Wisdom. save that pleasure flows from it more pure and abundant ? If a drug can stir up my brain or my kidney. and out of particles caught up from those worthy substances can create lovely forms and curious motions which I trace in a dream why is that . I too will sustain you. Because I measAristippus. O anatomist of nature. You profess.

Alcibiades. turning as they do on fear. an elastic intellect but I prize the rough breezes of nature only because they blow health and . and to create ceive facts is imaginary beauties a disgraceful self-delusion. Aristippus. on the contrary. critus for external perception and. than I ask whether the zephyr that refreshes me blows from the east or the west. There's no fancy like a fact. Why let present pleasure be spoilt by such spectres of fancy ? Your poet is by nature a melancholy booby and a ridiculous weakling. produce a more violent pleasure than imaginary ones whereas. I admit that material objects usually I think. and I no more care whether it exists within or without my skull. On that . express if . Whichever object is the more delightful seems to me the better. keen perceptions. ground I might share the preference of Demo. as he calls it. You wouldj your moral judgements better you acknowledged them to be vapours of your private soul. and love. shame.8o dreams. whereas your jolly huntsman and wine-bibber. IN You are secretly convinced that to pera blessed privilege. all three of which are unnecessary. Aristippus. Sailors and augurs. and not implications of your alleged science* It is perfectly indifferent to me whether what gives me pleasure is a solid body or an airy illusion. and your laughing homely philosopher are brave and cheery souls. your lusty rogue. the worst plagues and torments are fantastic. are their skin is hardy and their alive only to that and they are not without joy in their eye sharp.

every a matter of opinion Is free to lead his own bride home. I . while he seems somehow to think that not to be deceived Is an absolute good. have eluded you and you In or else your contempt for the world Is mere hypocrisy and funk. It is only because left all decent realities .OF ILLUSION 81 pleasure upon me . as Democritus says man is an animal addressed to action and adventure he will never be content to cheat his instincts with Images unless he is a cripple or a coward. As for me. Not G that there anything effeminate In fine fancies . prefer illusions to realities. because he Is is afraid of the cold water. according to him. be truly pleasing while we think it may but to cling to it knowing it to be Illusion true A dream is ignominious and wellnigh Impossible. man whether illusion ever 1 was wedded to and divorce her and hereby repudiate though people may call me a traitor. as when a boy says that swimming Is unworthy of a man and fit only for the lurch fishes. Is evil Is an evil but only that illusion Is not true knowin nature and so much should be granted him on all ledge : hands. soul by playing upon some disposition of the which would have been better satisfied in action. I renounce all alliance with Arlstippus and Dionysius and Aldbiades. If you exists ? . because. Whether true knowledge Is . He does not assert that Illusion for nothing. pass over to the Illusion . camp of the valiant Democritus. Is beautiful or beautiful remains in any case and If our loves differ. Dionysius* Democritus Is too wise to take up such a position. If Illusion.

mottled fortunes. was but it passed among storms and ended ill-conducted in shipwreck yet I account it better than dreamor beating time to the syllables of some verse. to a petty legal life and trite disputations. ing I would rather be the soldier I was. . sterile flatter the poets or your own sickly you in your sloth. should it be otherwise when fancy is itself but a cryptic part of nature ? It flickers in the dark. beauties and absurdities. is pale and compared with the lightnings of fortune. I My own allow. he a coxcomb. The fruit of my experience is that I despise rhetoricians and demagogues and . like a lamp in the inmost chamber of an whereas under the sun stretch Egyptian temple all the zones and all the nations. and to relieve the tedium and stuffiness of your existence you have summoned to philosophy imagination. All these an intrepid philosopher might scour and pillage.82 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO honestly. undreamt-of variety of goods and evils. like Dlonysius in the epic which he never composed. even with my life. than Imagine myself a metaphysical hero. within the walls of his native city. But How even that of Homer. I like a when they come falls youngster who In love or It who makes verses because he can't help oncebut if he the thing has happened to me more than cultivates and fondles his emotions is on purpose. reputable sluggards have never except from the bed-chamber to the baths and You two diswillingly moved from the baths to the banquet-hall. filled with an . . as most philosophers do. if he did not shut himself up.

. He Is taller and 1 am fatter have yet to learn that on that account he is the better man. The question is only by how noble a nature the division Is made. nature. and the shrewdness of all merchants or of the masters In any craft with danger and hardship and people acquainted knowing something well. Now that by this conspicuous de: I . Aristippus. falls for every living the friendly and the creature Into two strands. I congratulate Democritus on this . who cannot accession to his strength. or any one else. like an honest blind creature. Democritus. 83 and respect rather the and passions of mariners and soldiers rough the patience of ploughmen. to have his will in the world. . or have a nobler .OF ILLUSION moralizers and comedians arts . Alcibiades divide good from evil. whether they be called moralists or not. and each striking out bravely. the beloved and the detested. though it be a small matter. as genuine as yours. There is hostile. That are constrained to Is a division which all men make. your cohort is dispersed and your attack upon me turned to derision. It remains only to discover whether you have persuaded the Stranger fection . and with how much knowledge of the world and all your effrontery will not persuade you. Aristippus. that you know the world better than Alcibiades. All nature not a young glutton or an old woman but has a moral philosophy. Is a moralist Democritus. but Aristippus. His length came to him without his doing my breadth is the fruit of wisdom.

old allegiance and Nevertheless. swimming until in space : this picture It . The Stranger. utterly remote. Doubtless they are the best symbols for it callifor what can be cleaner than the graphically clean or clearer than the clear ? and also. and spheres. After all 1 am a child of my time our very anarchy has driven us to a kind of pro. the motion. did not exist is a thing of your genius composed yesterday and Abdera gave it birth. I am not my without a certain sympathy with Dionysius and Aristippus when they extoll the pleasures of the simple mind and cling passionately to Immediate experience.84 DIALOGUES IN as and numbers are now equal in our two camps . He may speak his mind without fear of ill-usage. so your bright images of cubes. . then in time and existence from the atoms. and the void which may have formed it 3 the substance of nature from all eternity* As the words substance and atoms are audible signs by which our groping discourse names and designates that ancient reality. the Intimidation which you would have practised upon him Is also rendered abortive. as . may be but what assurance can you absolutely right have of its truth ? Your scientific imagination draws a picture of minute geometrical solids fundity. Democritus. and your dark image of an infinite void. Nothing has shaken in the least I have heard to-day much has confirmed It. Your hypothesis. by convincing us that the farther we travel from appearance the more we expose ourselves to illusion. pyramids. are graphic signs for that same reality.

have appeared In your mind's eye. Stranger. for somehow the tion to a deeper level of nature where a thing Is to be found must in the place . from the surrounding But If you meant that by a sort of revelaplaces. we thank you what you urge is particularly Intelligible to us or idols of . yet It serves to remind our headstrong system-builders of their humanity . checked only by Punishment and Agreement. Never was a theory of nature more chastened than yours or more harmonious with the practice of the but can any thought kindled In a human arts brain burn with a light so Infinitely powerful and pure as to reveal the whole universe In Its uttermost reaches and exact constitution ? not that Dionysius. If all this . tion the eternal atoms and void and motions. but and symbols. : of ultimate consequence . products of the human eye and only be admitted as obvious with your constant Intention and as corresponding and in your doctrine of atoms I accept the latter all the mathematical veils which my contembetween crude appearances poraries have spun and the notion of atoms only remove its applicaImagination. the best In calculation and still in their visionary aspect signs practice . and that there never was and never can be anything In nature save what your scientific end differ substantially imagination at this moment conceives then I should agree with Dionysius that you are making . . . exactly as they are. your Ideas and forgetting that reason* as you yourself maintain is a form of madness.OF ILLUSION experience has 85 shown .

86 IN and to show them how much wiser they would be If they remembered that they are mad. do the dog's senses. following and . even . sight. as the dog In devouring the rat might receive new and confused sensations but these our under. . being keen hounds. supply to his mind ? Yet on occasion of that scent. . what Images. was still conveyed or accompanied by words and Images. s repeats the sophistry of his wallowing In sensation and When my and busily digs up the ground to dislodge the beast from Its hiding. touch. have been warned by smell. but bits of the substance for which we and by our patient digging we have hungered the rat. for all dog smells a rat faint scent their keenness. You thank the Stranger for an ill service . and all the senses that there Is a substance at hand lying In wait for it. when he contemporaries who. understandonly. measuring and counting all the transformations and the atoms we have unearthed are of bodies not images to the eye or syllables sounding in the ear. Such is the pleasant fallacy of Idlers to whom the plough Is only the picture of a plough because they never have followed It. A ing In the dog leads him to dig and watch. Democritus. caught since we were dreaming mortals. we have traced Its motions and divided Its parts. . think that understanding Is a form of sense and science but an exchange of Images. Certainly our true knowledge. think you. because a living rat is there of which he has a great lust but no imagination. So Leucippus and 1. having little understanding.

and called art inasmuch as by science the world is refashioned. demanding that substance shall bear them aloft always prosperously by no contrivance of theirs. . No man has seen the atoms excellent reasons . No doubt the art of the Egyptians was madness to heap up and It was madness so many stones to no purpose to sweat after vain knowIn me and in Leucippus ledge yet that art of theirs was true art. most royal In their Impotence. nor do the forms which. and nature for ever will are pyramids . called science inasmuch as art refashions the mind. for art and science are a single gift.. . Dionyslus and Aristlppus are like children in arms. as their monuments attest by still standing. for believe we them to possess ever How appear in any dream to the eye or to the fancy. . are the Egyptians assured that their Pyramids ? Is It by scent or by touch. or by which can never present anything of a sight pyramid but some vague triangle or rhomboid or that assurance comes to them by square ? No and counting and measuring the stones. Its natural seat and effective motion. cutting above all and by much pacing and exploration it comes to them by building.OF ILLUSION 87 standing traversed and overlooked. and far from Imposing the likeness of any Image on substance disowned all images and saluted the substance In . . give It proof. Alciblades . while they live cooing and crooning between sleep and wake. ? As for you you banded against me are all lovers of illusion and In your hearts. and our knowledge is true knowledge.

and in marvellous conceit of his prowess. adventure and and command for the sake this folly let loose puts commanding . in order that nothing of me may remain save the atoms that compose me. which will not tolerate that reality only for illusion's sake. . the master. your own terms. but studies In nature only pageants and and perspectives and the frail enchantments which are the food of I bid you Immediately liberate him on love. own him As for . so that dwelling wholly there. substance. I therefore stand alone and am content to do so. the Stranger having a paler soul. the slave. as having recanted and disowned my philosophy. should be received only that It may minister to appearance.38 Is IN a little man on of his own in comparison. and can run about legs. and to them 1 will transfer all my treasure where my fond being. placing substance has ever been my . which he knows he honours are not obedient to magic . If he salutes the atoms from a distance it Is only in condescension to the exigences of art or calculation . . Who was ever more faithful than that silent friend ? I will dismiss and expel every remnant of Illusion even in myself. but only to chase the bubbles of perils . The universe Is my sufficient companion. my glad strength shall be the force that destroys me ? and while the atoms are I shall be. when you who are all vanity have perished and the part of me which Is vain has also dissolved.

I may. I was always an ignorant man* depending on my disciples for sure first principles and for irrefragable facts. had pre- vented truths me from when discovering all those certain 1 was of their That old blindage. Tis Probably you think you can see better in are better employed in the sunlight^ or y it.1 ON SELF-GOVERNMENT FIRST DIALOGUE Whom do 1 see approaching with downcast looks My friend the Stranger Have Socrates. although my dullness. I can hardly hope Socrates to 5 ? dwell in your distinguished company after I am dead. ? ? you come to-day to remain with us for good^ or is this but another brief excursion into the realm of sanity from which you hope to return presently ? to your crazy world ? The Stranger. at rare intervals. 89 . knowledge of which they seemed to possess by nature. Therefore I take every opportunity to visit you now while Socrates. or some divine impediment. own eyes are more like the owl's than like the eagle s and 1 can see My ? farther in this twilight than ever in the glare of the Athenian day.

and it is only the truth of them before they before arise or after me they perish that lies spread out In their transit for direct inspection.90 DIALOGUES IN is . . My information about your affairs is accordingly most incomplete. through travellers existence they are eclipsed in these heavens. it has cut off my old channels of dubious communication with material things . and I can know them only by report of such as you from the antipodes. ness of mine now redoubled in respect to the for whereas liberation from the living world body has opened to me a large prospect towards the past and the future. you will probably be able to tell me what I it means* Does right govern? ment. and ill-bred spirits now seem to reach this place. I rejoice to hear it . I have heard for instance of an obscure oracle which you may be able to interpret for me. We our It is need no god and no oracle a commonplace^ and the foundation of is all politics. pray. and perhaps in verse which has been ill translated but the monumental inscription which informant had seen seems to have read as my . mean good government And . The god must have delivered it in some barbarous tongue. and worst of all is brought to me by for only whimsical unphilosophical messengers . to tell us that. for if the maxim always on your lips. s : follows : RIGHT GOVERNMENT RESTS ON THE WILL OF THE GOVERNED The Stranger. Socrates.

but time. Socrates. viction . has taught me how little It mattered what we thought the cries meant since events In the long run will falsify any policy. as you call it. In my youth . especially this last revolution in our affairs. ever upon exact for it) words and (although you : will rebuke me I feel that there Is a current in not things that carries all our thoughts away that oracle. I am afraid 1 should not be ready with glib replies.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT 91 does the will of the governed mean their wishes for the moment. . attach to those nificance. and Science. You will not escape them. But why should I trouble you in your immortal serenity with these squabbles and delusions of living men ? It was not to talk about them that I came into your presence. were deafened by a variety of shrill cries Liberty. but also any wiser maxims that we might substitute for it. about right governonly ment. friend. and render obsolete any con. Socrates. Culture Progress. unless it were half In jest. my unless you learn to understand them. and the only significance 1 can watchwords is no definable still sig- but only a vague association of each of them with some shift In our manners or politics or industrial arts. but rather to escape from them Into your surer wisdom. You know . my ears . The Stranger. to and even If answer all these questions at once you put them to me singly. I am hardly able. without expecting that they would bear Nowadays I place less reliance than inspection. or their habitual ruling passion or their true and ultimate good ? .

. then. feel at your distress. I to hear your tragedy. while we are together.92 well that IN only In asking questions. Strange that In the light of day there should be so much blindness. for there Is evidently you may be disappointed. and an early Immunity from care. but a just estimation of all things. 1 am not surprised they were things long past . and a place for all. . . and you to ponder its moral . as If . who is It expresses Its will by law-giving than by nods and thunder- bolts. and you bring with you a heavier scent of earth and of new-shed blood. Is like less Zeus. and you seemed to an Indifference (premature on your part) to mortal things. something new on your conscience. Let us not miss the opportunity. my wisdom should approve the answers to my questions But to-day since It is you who will give them. What you come to take refuge In Is not my philosophy . Under lord over the blue sky society It . but yours which you think 1 may and help you to discover and to put Into words if this occurs It will not be wonderful that you lies . and here where Pluto In comparative darkness rules over far vaster multitudes there should be never a murmur nor a rumble. if I Inquired of you concerning the affairs of your provisional world. But now the wasp of actuality seems to have stung you. Formerly. and you may not know your own mind. and apparently you hardly changed the subject followed the events of your own day more closely than we can follow them here by report. you stinted your answers.

Socrates. We mean that people col- lectively issue the orders which they must obey ! How surprising I to understand that under self-government. government. Socrates. because a people who had learned self-government would be a race of philosophers. in effect entirely abolishes that Then your democracy. cannot shame . I rejoice that the republic . contrary to expectation should have become in my absence so similar to this happy commonwealth of immortals where no spirit . but do not It is the tragedy of selfget what they want.ON . which have an irony of their own. Socrates. to that. and inwardly safe from any real misfortune. Our tragedy Is an old one. no man governs himself in anything. which I autonomy ? . Socrates . as you practise it. The Stranger. Irony. molests any other or needs another's support. Of course by self-government. we do not mean the government of individually. but that each is governed in everything by all the others ? Am The Stranger. if our suppose intends to express the autonomy of the individual. each governing himself and himself only. the facts. if . It would be a terrible tragedy indeed such an excellent thing as self-government came But I cannot credit the report to a bad end. 93 The Stranger. of it is the which you drew the moral long ago tragedy of those who do as they wish. self. of the living. It would come system were perfect.

Yes. Thus fashion governs us with our hearty consent. Fashion without magisit is trates rules by the will of the governed to go where everybody goes. but without violence. especially those of one's age and class and finally this ruling passion leads to the ultimate good. and tell us with in . as the followers of fashion conceive it for they think the ultimate .94 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO The Stranger. on the surface is a passing caprice but this caprice is grafted upon an habitual passion. by which . made as sake. . and above all in our There is nothing that recompolitics. on a rooted instinct to lead. in its pervasive immediacy. but just for the mailing's good is life itself. : just now : for the will of the governed. to think pleasant what everybody thinks. Even our philosophers have their ear to the ground. and that it is universal nowadays the leading circles. but in our religion and science. There an unwritten and plastic law in the modern and the more world which we call fashion we conform to it the freer and the thoroughly is . that everybody is adopting it. not only in our manners and appointments. or somehow of life to lose oneself in a common enjoyment with one's fellow-men. namely. and vigorous as possible by intense continual novelty and emulation. fashion rules. not for the sake of any prize or result. In fashion I might find an answer to that nestful of questions which you were putting finer we think ourselves. to follow. and to dance as everybody dances. mends any opinion or custom to us more than to hear that it is the latest thing.

winning judgement of God. but a blind experiment. Their con- wish to would reproach them. followed Why be afraid of by some natural resurrection ? . The Stranger. and should thereby condemn of each generation In I yourselves here to an eternal bitterness. and they would hang themselves if they were not on the . Art. Why indeed. but a fatality. The event. . Government among us Is cerIn so far as tainly not an art. Yes but a natural death. revolution ? Socrates. . but the sentence which divine justice passes on each new birth Is severe It is always death. The Stranger. Socrates. they say. Is the principle of benefit and without art the freer a man is the more miserable he must become. side.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT unction science 95 how the world Is marching. which is action guided by knowledge. Its If you mean the revolu- tion of the heavens or of the seasons or the descent turn to the grave ? That which fear no longer for myself but for you Is that you should not govern yourselves well while you live. it Is not a matter of mere tradition and routine It results from contrary purposes and parties happy ? ? . always beautiful and perfect ? Have you learned how to live ? Do you know how to die ? If you neglected these questions your selfgovernment would not be an art. Are all fashions equally good ? Are all transitions equally Are youth and age In their appointed round. is always the Long ago . Heraclitus said so .

Is a nuisance. question Instead how can you or your friends ever determine what measures to approve or what magistrates to raise . and for the . I remember Socrates. the fate of all those innocents who have fallen Into hands and have had to eat their own words. at best. thinking that government. laughter. beneficent in the end nobody can because nobody have can foresee the Infinite radiations of those . or any criterion by which to measure the various goods that various people might regard as ultimate such as health. that many are Inclined to look In other directions for true guidance In their means to happiness and with aversion. Whether the effects of government are tell. such as express our Ideas or share our desires* Socrates. And your Ideas and desires are formed The Stranger. And Is that. or heaven. friendAnd so ship. allegiances. your Socrates. Nothing on what principle ? . : to office ? We support easier. effects in the future nor even in the present we any clear or authoritative notion of the uses of government. your own opinion ? The Stranger. knowledge. ultimate good. and politicians they regard politics with contempt. far is government among us from regarding any . for the sake of office or of some Immediate reform or relief.96 IN pulling against each other In a tug~of~war. I will not venture to make It mine before you have examined It. pray. Very well let me ask you this other If government Is not an art.

ON SELF-GOVERNMENT The Stranger. . of the enemy. Socrates. 97 On none> of course. while all . Perhaps your doctors promise to legislators in greater honour than our for no doctor could save us from a benefit make you immortal which I should not think Art cannot if you were never to be well. find never be able to like anything. until perhaps you sicken and are Your rulers are physicians in danger of death. be improvised under pressure. but asking yourself what death to expect. in your extremity summoned you have no : trainers in your youth. you simply obey your whim or inclination. . Certainly Socrates. or even the words of command or with which hand to steer. hands waited on think your anxiety and you suspense in such a nightmare. The Stranger. The man with a hole in his shoe is not forthwith a cobbler much less does a landsman become a pilot whenever he is seasick. and the confusion for direction I and and agony with which you would implore every H . I see : matter of taste ? but taste is some- times modified by indigestion. They come we had to we should If to us gaily like song to the lark. not knowing the draught of your vessel. or the position of the rocks or the tactics . We Greeks held our trainers and physicians : death. Imagine yourself (who I suspect are no sailor) appointed to command a trireme in a storm or in a fog or in the thick of the battle of Salamis. a reason for liking what we like. . Your politics is a . but a trainer might render us fit for an Olympian victory.

Nevertheless we exist 3 . the anguish which must assail the heart of an ignorant man voting in a moment of danger the government of his country. more fruitful than reason. our home religion. Every sturdy race stews its home-made dishes. insists on giving different and each attributes the general conorders fusion to the fact that his own voice was not and life heeded in time.93 DIALOGUES IN ? god or the most humble fellow-creature . to breed. freer. with their divine founders and law-givers. The . There is an automatism in nature. comfortable. Socrates. more entertaining than it was in your model cities. and our is traditional governis ment. feels the least compunction in such a case. No ignorant man among us. no science not too poisonous. and to govern. and Human beings. may when they think they are minds. to which its stomach is hardened and which it fondly relishes as incomparably the best. to relieve you of that task. where the leaders are often ignorant. but only irritation and ill-will towards every other land-lubber who in equal ignorance. in all their dynamic talk relations. though the fate of only one trireme was at stake would be as nothing to . although they organs are unconscious and hereditary. without understanding. Few cooks anywhere are inventive a fact which saves many like lives . among us is in many ways more safer. . are bodies. to talk. upon The Stranger. to themselves All their vital they learn to eat. and by instinct and imitation. though there in it.

. Beneath what may seem to you our blind expedients in government that we count heads as if we paid out money by weight. But the privilege of human reason exists^ is .ON sun rises 99 it. for in following Socrates. or apparently obey some balance of secret forces. within its bounds the pursuit of . We prefer not to know ciled with its humanity. The Siranger. our destiny and not to have any perfection set some half-tamed before us which we are not free to elude. sorts of curious and complicated organs which mature in their season and insist on performing Your institutions their unintended functions. In spite of and our children have red cheeks. and leave the issue fashion or in trying to fortune. seem to be organs of that sort. Society itself is an accident to the spirit. to turn perfection. even at the risk of material disaster* the . without asking whether it was gold or silver -1 think there is a profound instinct of freedom. Perhaps the that of spirit is in us 5 like not quite reconbeast. where reason us into philous to survey our destiny and sophers by teaching to institute. and if society in any of its forms is to be justified morally it must be justified at the bar of the individual conscience. In putting everything to a vote we are not so much supposing that the majority must be right as we are acknowledging. The wild beasts too thrive on that Nature has supplied them with all principle. ? private experiments you some spontaneous instinct.

that measure would accurately express their living desires. especially when passions run high and nations or if an with a great shout voted that every citizen assembly should receive a large dole from the public treasury. may be bad government ? The Stranger. I wonder. nothing is commoner. Socrates. You mean. individuals attempt the impossible. Evidently but in that case at least the illusion would be short . on on Legitimacy in a the origin of its authority its fruits. No : is a difference. to answer a simple question which I asked you at the beginning ? Does right government mean good government ? I see now that there The Stranger. Would you now sometimes clears the mind. even when they lead you so long astray.lived. Socrates. Socrates. Then it. Of course. resting* as on the will of the governed. your oracle has right government. : government depends excellence depends Socrates. if at that moment the treasury was empty. be able. The Stranger. by venting the feelings. .ioo DIALOGUES IN its indefeasible right of each soul to determine allegiances. and the free choice of every bosom yet it might bring no good. The bubbles we pursue in love or ambition often take that . are the right principles of action. and that you ought to follow them ? . longer to burst. Eloquence. And would you say that these bubbles. for instance.

I 101 If I am at a loss . If . . would still . arrives too late for Is promised. 1 condemn all life if I yes. good friend. But living impulse borne as it needs must be on Its own It cannot foresee the wings cannot distinguish . whether a benefit to them or not was certainly a great advantage to me. If the Athenians. Is hard for you to understand because you are still living. civilized state. It. to ask the Shade of Socrates alone to decide and had counted only my single vote. had wisely decided to disenfranchise themselves In a body and. The living cannot live well unless the dead govern them. each of us. at every may be satisfied s election. Life. end. Ah. so as to push on where success and halt In time where it is denied. how say to reply. Life to this extent becomes an art and wisdom a tradition. . But by a father may train his ence may be transmitted the gods too are merciful and send down son . more beautiful In her simplicity than Pericles ever made Athens. I sanction every folly. 1 say. be standing. Experience . say no. .ON SELF-GOVERNMENT The Stranger. has instituted games live in a and festivals and exercises by which youth can be moulded and turned towards such ambitions as with innocence. and the young though more or less fortunate in never born any wiser. Here my we understand bubble . Not every passion pursues a not every treasury is empty. Socrates. after dismissing me from their midst In a manner which. disposition are Instruction experi- precepts and Inspirations we and the legislator.

however frivolous or fatal those desires may be . will never be perceived. and any accident which threatens to stop them short is odious to them but that all their habits and thoughts should lapse successively and yield . oppressing a world . . they know by instinct is the nature of existence. they wish to live and not merely not to die. and worse than the laws of the Medes and Persians or an infallible pope and you would have preserved austere Athens to no purpose by your eternal your decrees. It is not right to impose old loves on a young soul or ancient justice on a new No tyranny is worse than that of a society. is a thing for which the truly living do not care. despise the wisdom of ing the dead which might insinuate something immortal into them and keep them from wholly her with his brand dying. twittersophists and comedians. although people often declaim about it. The Stranger. does not to disturb them such. only living desires to count in action. new marbles and richer in true and true philosophers than she ever was in poets But the living. indeed. . because the living would have fled from it and left it empty. on the green bough. being absolute. belated or fanatical conscience. Immortality. For this reason they allow . Your Shade in its wisdom. or to a timely silence which. annulling their wills and stopping their bawling mouths. They wish. something new. would have seemed to them the most horrible of ghostly tyrants.102 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO . Socrates. . to go on living because they are wound up to go.

and not at the people's bidding ? The Stranger. would all these acts of ours have been wrong and tyrannical because done on our own Initiative. non-existent. which (as they say) we are habitually plunged and that we commanded a useful bridge to be built. Imagine. 1 confess that practically It would make little difference who exercised the right of legislation. governed by us If consent to be us likely to govern you thought You might . as a mere hypothesis. If In any case the laws and the spirit of the government were to be the same but has taught us that the Great King and experience the assembled people would not pass the same laws or govern In the same interests. or by our fore- sight in fostering agriculture had prevented their distress. we were actually able to distribute doles to them In some year of famine. then not absolute. or that by resisting the desire of the people for largesses in their holiday moods. that the Great King or my Shade interrupted the orgies or the star-gazing In . however^ troubled me in the midst of your eloquence. or unjust tax-gatherers to be punished. Socrates.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT It 103 does not understand In the Is name of another world which Socrates. How 5 often have I heard speeches like from the clever men who filled the living Athens or since living and dying seem to be Identical the dying Athens of my day A small that ! question. Your prejudice against the Great King or against my Shade as perpetual archon Is . or temples and groves to be re- newed and beautified.

felt the moment himself falling through the void. right Then good government ? is always government The Stranger. and would build statues or altars in your honour. Is there an intrinsic dignity in the freedom of a blind man when the degrading restraint exercised by the dog or the child leading him is removed. That seems to follow from your argument. Socrates. tyrants or our government illegitimate ? The Stranger. Yes. and prefers to commit suicide. people would soon overflow with loyalty to you. No doubt in that case you would . Compulsion is degrading in itself. and he walks over a precipice ? The Stranger. if attribute to suicide would disappear. energies to royal or fantastic ends. that he knows his own mind.104 well. in fact. if he is weary of being blind and of being led. if your be accepted without credentials government was half decent. but I am not convinced. Socrates. but DIALOGUES IN LIMBO you fear that our thoughts . of course. might be too and might divert your kingly or too ghostly. the man . despising your homely needs ? The Stranger. and there is an intrinsic dignity in freedom. In such measure however. I assume. Socrates. Yes. that is what we fear. The dignity I which you suppose. Socrates. he and gave a shriek of terror and despair ? repented The Stranger. . as we would you not think us actually governed well.

that Is an important conditioti. Suppose that at the very time of his suicide. and the dangers which the soul must count upon in the exercise of her freedom. and then again into the world. to discover the opportunities. 105 Ah. first into the soul. And with this. no matter who possesses that knowledge and. Asclepius or some other healer of men was approaching with a salve which applied to the in killeyes would have restored them to sight ing himself just then would he not be a victim . How What autonomy in being driven this way and that wishes without self-knowledge ? It is knowby ledge and knowledge only that may rule by divine right. but only violence and madness. no authority in the over itself or over others. And there are other things that perhaps he would need to know. if the dignity of his freedom was to be preserved. in consequence of your patient explanations. to disentangle her true nature and discern the pursuits in which her innate powers might be liberated and developed . of tragic ignorance. gives the is Without knowledge there word of command.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT Socrates. 1 think I may venture two . How indeed ? What freedom can there be in the helpless solitude of ignorance ? The Stranger. And this knowledge necessary to virtue and to the right to will looks in directions. either it. the aids. acting contrary to his true desires ? can you expect any one to adjust his action to what lies beyond his ken ? Socrates. possessing will. a most important condition.

and you may prefer to reserve Another day we will renew the decision. has a ment .io6 DIALOGUES IN obscure. without oracular. right to rule in the state or in the private conscience. for I perceive that your mind your argument. is . agitated. .. wishing to be is he would have said that no right government except good governgood government is that which benefits that the good of the governed is the governed determined not by their topmost wishes or their ruling passions. there to Interpret that oracle which at first seemed so If the god had spoken in prose . that . but by their hidden nature and and that only knowledge their real opportunities discovering this hidden nature and these real opportunities. I will not ask you to-day whether you agree with these conclusions. and speaking in their name. .

your doctrine itself assumed a new but perspective in my memory. while yet alive to conceive all things justly. When we mortals think that live. but only to catch such is ? glimpses of them as may suffice to lend a name to her pleasures and sorrows. and help her to sketch the outlines of her destiny* That which happens to the eye in the presence of bodies. Why should nature have endowed her creatures with senses so strangely caricaturing and foreshortening the facts ? Doubtless because there not time or strength in the soul. if we do not altogether neglect them : yet this very neglect or 107 . making a painted patchwork of the world . though It is but our optical illusion. happens on earth to the understanding in the presence of alien thoughts* These we must distort. IE these uiiframed its spaces every spirit shines by own light : there an oblique external illumination casts every- thing into violent light and shadow. the blue vault under which we 1 5 The Stranger. and hiding the profound labour going on patiently beneath.VII ON SELF-GOVERNMENT SECOND DIALOGUE saw again after our last conversation.

io8 distortion DIALOGUES IN are we a speaking picture of our condition militant souls. perhaps once heard concerning the firmament of your world that it was an egg-shell within which the soul. . and each nation the best judge of its own right only . How should we do more than occasionally spy an enemy. . when 5 . fighting in the stifling is : armour of the body. by Any some chart. truest . by personal vote might be the wisest popular external authority would be sure abstract interest . in one sense. to rule in and to sail by an : obsolete precepts inspired by past experience are. stunned and bleeding by many a wound. : beneficent and that good selfbut it must rest on self-knowledge government seemed to me looking at things again in the violent light of day. nor the most merciful deity to save So on this occathe disease is rooted in nature. Socrates I have always recognized the and greatest of friends though you knew nothing of it but the best physician is not always able to cure. : would begin when that shell was shattered and she found herself in the open. already her true life quickened. You confirm a story I . case : so that the control of action impulse or after all. That warm close . or whisper to a friend ? In you. impertinent they assume that in the virgin rock of futurity there are no veins All unworked and no glint of anything more precious than gold. that in discovering his own nature and his opportunities a man was himself the best explorer. sion you had plainly shown that government was . was not yet hatched Socrates.

And this last embryonic interval of yours seems to have been particularly fruitful you come back in a flutter of rich imtaking a peep at eternity . me no . Let us then examine your and may it stand the test. account to condemn it. in order to go on growing in the dreamful safety of your nest. trate for inspection. which came to me not as my own child. offspring together You need not hesitate on my The Stranger. It would not be merciful to a monster to allow it to live. But you know the laws of my Republic in regard to every new birth. Socrates. no matter how exalted It must be submitted to the magisits parentage. Let us inspect it without prejudice. and unless found healthy and perfect it must be unflinchingly put out of the way. you will foundling leave poorer and more at ease. or merciful to the commonwealth to suffer monsters to dwell in it.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT universe. I feel no great affection or even pity for this doctrine of democracy. by putting your then out of the shell and but you do well to draw back again quickly. pulses and divinations. such as embryos should have. and blindly you are strengthening your eyes and feathers not ready yet for the air. : callow head now and . with call its 109 phosphorescence which womb of all of us let you us preserve a grateful piety towards our unconflashes of day. has been the : scious parent. You enjoy the singular privilege of partly anticipating your birth . nor even as a : left at my door* but as a sort of figment of words or obsession in a dream : and if you blow on the phantom and prove it a gas-baby.

and was It not out of sophistry that I plucked the unshakable humility of wisdom ? You say. being the Thales. that external authority is ill my fitted to discern the good which 5 Is more likely to be revealed by the voice of personal impulse. substance of all things. not to give : one of those learned a men would ever have suggested so strangely elaborate and (as they would have said) so disgusting as being suckled at the method . saying that grass Is the stay of every strong aad .no DIALOGUES IN at first a Sometimes the greatest discoveries wear Did not people disquieting or nebulous form. Bacchus. life being Infant. but If one of them was a follower of he might have urged that water. because then It is called nectar and Is the drink of the gods another might have prescribed a diet of fresh grass. In respect to Impulse you might point. never having noticed such lowly things. for Instance. . the gift of the breast . It Is best sustained If the wine is mixed with honey. to the young of man and the other mammals. . was undoubtedly in Its pure state the most Invigorating and the safest nourishment for a tender life and another might have suggested that a little wine. or of the whole people casting their votes. call me a sophist. and of Inspiration In the mind a third might have argued that. who Instinctively save their lives by taking the breast which the mother^ in a smiling torpor. then. Is happy them whereas If a conclave of astrologers. is the surest cause of warmth and movement in the system. had been summoned to devise the right food for Infants. something divine and supernatural.

when obtained. Meantime. and caterpillars. yet another a logician. Socrates. might rival member of the . pleasant and wholesome* Philosophy could do no better. to be swallowed alive. playing into the hands of nature. Now may I presume that the instincts which you regard as safe guides in government are ? all instincts of this wise kind. might have proved that only solids can enlarge solids. The Stranger. have declared it absurd to expect that life should be sustained upon dead substances and would have commanded all infants to be fed on nothing but gnats. so that for the right growth of a child's body body being a solid by all liquids were superfluous definition while a . their instinct who had ignorant ly followed would have preserved mankind from extinction and repeopled the earth. finding what they seek. had died . Is it knowledge not to know that milk is for babes ? The disconsolately until given suck instinct* It childish instinct to cry is a philosophical demands something which is probably and which. that childless. same school of thought admitting that only like can produce like. How comes it. worms. flies. and those who listened to them. after all these sages. in cow s and that contrivance of luxury or of ferocity and a sure cause of disease all other foods are the mad . the vulgar you are found to-day making merry at the expense of knowledge ? Socrates.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT blameless animal such as the horse and the . beetles. will prove obtainable. and thriving upon it ? .

It would be right for every man to try the method which seemed to him best. and the corrected course which he should . he has made a mistake. man Is dishe may say steer in future is always that which his private . No doubt when a appointed at the result of his action. right. or even to make It again. and experirequire ence had not proved the point ad nauseam. for instance. whether obtainable or not. Socrates. and may call that action wrong but it hardly follows that It was wrong to have made the experiment. Each of those astrologers in council. and they must have their way is always right ? The Stranger. So long as men are ignorant. Socrates. if the circumstances seem more favourable and In any case he remains the judge of his own error. Your example Is grotesque. so that every impulse has an initial right to be given a trial. conduct. because everybody knows what young children but if the case were novel.ii2 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO is The Stranger. and every vote a right to be counted. would have a right to make trial of his method. . their : Their becomes folly only when they discover It to folly be so and only death or disaster can rightly prevent them from continuing In the courses which up to that fatal moment have been perfectly ? . at least on his own children ? The Stranger. according to your principles. What I mean Is only that an Impulse at least points to some satisfaction. The natural sanction of instinct seldom Immediate.

a majority was obtained in despair for no matter and on that expert recipe the what compromise of the nation would be brought up. 113 his prompts him Socrates.ON instinct. and if one day Briareus should enter your assembly and raise his hundred hands at once. of government admiration at the wisdom In Hellas we made trial of of thought. I cannot Imagine how you would apply your for If. would he or if I . experience. for Instance. hope . enlightened by to choose.. to was only one child. be nursed by all those For Instance. the king's son and would you decide on which the young prince should be fed ? The Stranger. In those political which men can execute only in common course determined ? . as we fondly could devise but Ingenuity How underestimated the fertility of time. astrologers. . how Is the right If there heir. would Indicate his second choice the voting would be continued until every one being exhausted by fatigue and sleeplessness. I regret that before framing my Ideal Republic could not have seen your system at work For ! on which. after recommending his own and nostrum. there are occasions Hydra should shriek a thousand discordant opinions out of her thousand mouths. 1 am lost In many forms we 1 of your procedure. human . that all. There would be a ballot. now actions And meanwhile. how of their scientific foods Socrates. time breeds monsters too should be born among you. In which each doctor. IE my Ignorance. some monster principles.

should unjustly drive the plough through those ant-hills. who are not able to jostle their way to the . hide. The case Is less mythical than sounds. him by some Impersonal organism. according to your traditions. for on second thoughts I am confident you would not allow the small stature or the black colour of certainly ants to prejudice you against their rights as living creatures . are not separate beings. horses. and we actually have something of the but sort In our press and our political parties no practical difficulty arises. but are and to women move packed closely In unison . But what are the limits of your citizenship ? Does good husbandry. or for a hundred or a thousand ? The Stranger. dictated to to consider the interests of hills all the ants in the ant- of your far country. and each of these It composed of men together and compelled Trojan were. Its . men. lest your husbandmen. yes your citizen is your only and all his thoughts and motions are sovereign. which he Is subject he knows not why.ii4 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO or she count for one citizen according to your laws. fewer than the ants in number. which fight all our battles for counts for as many votes as It carries indius. and the accident that they are too busy at home to come and vote in the agora for I suppose ought not to count against them of children and sick people and old the Interests . because our monsters It . as viduals tucked under Socrates. trampling on the Interests and passions of the majority ? Do not reply too hastily . Ah.

that I am sure your legislators must have found a means of counting their votes. : who can have its a greater stake in a country than founders . too No . that it might last to their thought for ever or than . and from the house which they The Stranger.. are not pious. For difficulty in doing so Socrates. But there is another class. and at so great a sacrifice to themselves and their veto is interposed for your sake beforehand against any rash measure that might in . so very numerous and important. was devoted and be true the soldiers single hope to establishing it. banish their spirit built and loved. and casts a vote in their name. when I consider the principle which you say governs your politics. That seems very strange to me. whose whole soul and many wars have successively their lives to preserve it ? Surely at every given meeting of your assembly their votes are counted which they once cast so solemnly and first. Nothing of We the sort ever enters our heads. stultify their hopes. who undo their labours.ON SELF-GOVERNMENT voting-booths . 115 democracy 5 not neglected in your just but your chief magistrate or high are ? priest or some vestal virgin especially appointed doubtless rises solemnly in your assembly amid a general hush. sincerely. we think they have influence as it is without voting. the contrary. although there may be some material 1 mean the dead. the dead have no vote among much us. The Stranger. because On they have bequeathed institutions to us which .

to carry out the project. they have chosen the site. because they happen to be dead ? I. see a great injustice in that. they gather together to draw up the plans and when. and the work done and so far is still expressive of the popular taste lest the architect formerly appointed may have been too much absorbed in his official function. or that foreigners fleeing from famine or seeking by trade to enrich themselves privately although in their hearts they may be sworn enemies to the land that receives them. and may have acquired autocratic habits. which we call the dead hand. to revise the plans and make sure that the site first chosen is still convenient. or to those of a majority. may cast a vote. who knows nothing of the origin and laws of his and has never done anything in it but country. Do you mean that every young rascal. After six months or a year they do not forget to come together again. But let us return to the living. .ii6 DIALOGUES IN . and estimated the cost. who am dead myself. I suppose . may cast a vote also. they depute one of their own number. encumber our playground and are not to our and the inertia which these institutions liking oppose to our fresh desires seems to us a hateful force. selected the materials. when the inhabitants of some town or quarter . as nearly an average man as possible. designed the structure. in response to their living desires. and . wish to rebuild their temple. but that the founders and defenders of it are not suffered to make their voices heard. or to found a aew one. be born. Socrates.

ON notions of architectural art 117 not drawn from popular feeling^ they hasten to revoke his commission and to appoint a new architect. in the name of you. . but that in a model state all human undertakings would be executed as the for all. and not tempted to execute any work which the assembled people. society adding each his niche to the sculptured hive. and a common impulse joins them in labours which prove providentially to be harmonious. more in sympathy with the life of the moment. we them poor Athenians could practise the arts only through. Alas. by a divine inspiration. have not first conceived in idea. control. is a question 1 meant to ask and I expected you to reply. your friends. or ants and the bees build their cities of them are builders. and making it rich by a divine and happy unconscious co-operation. that special masters in any art were required only in ill-governed states where the people were not perfectly educated. and that each took on each of these titles when he happened to be exercising that particular art moreover. fertile in is was not more invention and resourceful in methods If the architect than the average citizen. So I seem to see the artists in your . The spirit in marshals them without words. that they were all equally skilful architects and physicians and generals. why should he be distinguished Socrates. unanimous without nearly all. The Stranger. aot being inspired. . by That that title at all ? . rare and exceptional masters.

Socrates. If. That is the method of wolves or of savage tribes. when I ought rather to be asking you to cult describe instance . routing him some enemy attacks easily at the first onset and instinctive tactics. if they are not to go like sheep to the slaughter. with artisans skilful in making and managing them and even our .n8 as DIALOGUES IN you all are to-day. common soldiers. I am astonished. having such excellent methods of government. to execute the most diffiworks spontaneously and without instruction. which is the protection of your lives ? But perhaps war is too . and trusting to the word and art of their superiors for every movement and every hope. must undergo a long discipline at home before they are ever sent into the battle. which are of enormous extent and population. and rush with one accord upon that enemy. I suppose you seize the weapons which you have at hand. for you and you find yourselves at war. the generals and other officers are designated beforehand. . your principles in practice. provided by your private love of contrivances or of the chase. you do not apply them to the principal function of your government. In our states. not seeing the enemy. But I am letting my enthusiasm run away with me. and trained by long study and exercises in time of peace and our arsenals are provided with all kinds of engines of war. by your common ardour The Stranger. in which they must endure all sorts of dangers and hardships blindly. No. How can it be that.

ON SELF-GOVERNMENT . or whatever it be that you. If for example you are not merely building a temple. or beautiful. prophets and philosophers discuss angrily what ought to be the nature of God. . or even to deny their existence. inspiration compose the fable that is to be religiously associated with his name. or immortal. shall . and by a s . for local we proceed shrines or images black with age whose origin is lost in antiquity. The Stranger. or shall inspire you settled by vote. what benefits this god shall bestow on you. I suppose : with martial ardour or with ravishing music. For deities of the earth and sea. we have scant respect but our . or shall make you rich. or the majority of you. for stories of wonders. happen most to desire. and the form the sculptor and when all this has been shall give to his image as the rites with . whom each defines and few of according to his own preferences them hesitate to demolish old temples and old notions of the gods. I mean. you vote on a still more and decide it by a majority important question. and whether he shall protect you from drought or from pestilence. 1 suspect you are laughing us . and to substitute the idea which most flatters the . at but in all seriousness that is very much how in matters of religion. as well common which on pain of disaster he be honoured. . 119 rough a business for such noble principles to work in they may apply only to higher things. but giving a name to the god that is to be worshipped there. I suppose your people gather in an assembly and elect their god.

not to those of poetry. rather than the gods themselves. or vanishes altogether. And when you I amiable god. The Stranger. turns to private doubts or fancies. Human destiny remains precisely as before. have found such an all those who were suppose calamities cease among you> ? . passion and madness no longer distract any mind there are no more floods earthquakes. and a serene happiness reigns in your hearts and in your cities. Yes. or wars. The principle would be the same but usage among us applies the word idol to the products of sculpture. . and promises us all we wish. are called idolaters. Socrates. and call this mood new idea the only even if we do not vote openly true God. destiny^ he The Stranger. pestilences. power which actually controls would be worshipping an idol ? . Those who worship the statues of the gods. are they not ? The Stranger. Socrates. And if a of man worshipped an image rather than the his some god in his own mind. save that religion has a smaller part in it. and abolished dangerous. Not at all.120 DIALOGUES IN of the age. yet by an insensible movement of public opinion we abandon the gods we dislike for others that we like better. Socrates. and we never rest until we have adopted one that lays on us no commandment not to our own mind. And for one god or another to preside over us.

People now continual are hardly aware that the object of piety and studious reverence In the most ancient religions was the power that actually and hourly rules over men. as if my am ironical. In that humbler region to which religion was addressed of old. government by the will of deputing some chosen god to legislate for Do them according to their own wishes. the still rules the world without very power This real power we make the human suffrage. the region of our daily and national fortunes ? household Do they apply it. They would be if they took ? their religion seriously. they apply the same theory. or with their .ON 5 121 In principle. but their religion has nothing to do with their business or politics. which you think Is in principle mere Idolatry. to the ? Do your little boys and girls. Then and philosophers are sheer Idolaters ? The Stranger. but 1 assure you I and . after You question were in earnest* playing In the street together. your friends apply nature or Its that their fine theory of the governed. your prophets Socrates. vote to become brothers and sisters . as you did yours in the old days . but not of what we now call religion. Socrates. object of science and of profitable art. whatever may be its contempt for human Interests. for Instance. and elect a father and mother ? smile. it practical estimation of good and evil fortune Is merely the solace of their dreamful hours. But at least In respect to that other luxurious religion of theirs. I wonder.

1 blush. After abolishing the old gods (which can be done with a breath) you will doubtless abolish the ridiculous old methods of animal generation. he would have chosen different parents and a finer home. or the excellence of the society that would arise they could be thoroughly applied. by voting yourselves a much greater intelligence than that with which chance has . and it was an act of selfish and outrageous tyranny on the part of the father and mother to beget a helpless child. and establish something more decent . at the foolishness and impiety of the views which I might almost have adopted. and bring him up by force in their own family. and decide what shall have been the history of your country. and have not become their father and mother in obedience to the children's will.122 think DIALOGUES IN LIMBO For if the father it a momentous question. when very likely. There is nothing surprising to me . and the mother do not hold their office by the consent of their children. and what shall be its if 4 future language and arts I will begin. Socrates. The Stranger. if your voice of warning had not reached me in time. Socrates. and by a majority vote you will reform the configuration and climate of the earth. and you endowed you. and no parent's command or control is legitimate . hope. whether the simplicity of your principles. then according to your principles of government all parental authority is usurped. had he been consulted. I hardly know what to admire most.

and grows narrower as the field of his competence for a man grows wider and his science clearer. was for us then. But I suspect that the fundalife mental order of human settled for you now. has withdrawn to another 1 of the think. earth are masters of magic. and are Inspired with an Infused wisdom which was always denied me. his own nature and the good on which It Is set so that the margin of free choice and initiative . return to them with my doubts fresh in mind and after listening to the weighty considerations which they will doubtless invoke In support of their opinions you will be able to form your own at leisure . that right conscience in a natural creature can be nothing but self-knowledge by which the man discovers . independently of pert opinion^ by nature and fortune and divine decrees. of understanding is exceedingly narrow. little profit to have been saved from one error guidance^ you fell under my blind into another. for it would be of If.ON SELF-GQYERNMENX In the Influence exercised over 123 who flatter It with eloquence. You will do well to . too. in mankind by those There were sophists is my as day it too. . part when Apollo heavens. sophistry itself being but headiness in Ill-bred mortals. all art being but nature enlightened and directed upon Its But doubtless your friends on natural good.

know. ? would prepare him see for understanding his future subjects. all and taming whose passions he might unfeigned and pure in the brutes. park. which nature can produce in her exuberance but they are not models for Athens or . tion was doubtless well fitted to his destiny ? and the historians do not inform us whether at the same time he learned to imitate the beasts himself. them to the young Carnbyses you know the story that son of the Great King who spent his youth observing the wild beasts kept in cages and pits in his fathers Such study the king had said to him. you come from an unhomely world but you are hardened to living without a home . or country and perhaps you relish unhomeliness. . Odysseus or given to travel There are. no end of creatures and commonwealths animal .VIII THE PHILANTHROPIST According to your reports inveterate Wanderer. I was never in my own person an emulator of . for me. Socrates. I or divine. my guardian genius never allowed 124 me to study zoology except in man* and condemned . I therefore dismiss and relinquish the study of them with respect. As for me. This prince was to rale over barbarians and his educa.

like Alcibiades. men . of shame. else 1 might have been the homage reduced. . especially among . hoped that the voice of reason might have no less magic in it than the songs of Orpheus and might render a man ashamed and unwilling to contradict himself Nor was I always disappointed and my love of man was confirmed on finding him single a tamable monster. like Diogenes (who had not the art of friendship). Yet in the home park of the human soul I found a perfect replica of that for it was full of growling and king s preserves fluttering passions which 1 endeavoured to trap in a net of words and to train to abandon their I fondly ferocity and live together in peace. to carrying a lamp for an honest man in the gutter fallen to hating all by day and looking and I might have . . for disfiguring humanity instead of loving them. That part of them I still could love . survived the well-born youths who frequented my society and even the wildest of them. What can be more virile and noble than a pack of wild instincts halting to be In my day. so enamoured man that nothing not human could hold my serious attention. as 1 did. . . paid to reason at least .THE me to 125 be a narrow philanthropist. like a patch of blue sky reflected in a well. the passions of just ? the many were bursting from their cages and returning to the jungle as they seem to be doing but a few tempered spirits among you now of mere 3 . . to my sorrow. and some pure image of honour still shone in the midst of their vices. for that vestige of humanity which was still in them. .

you are but one accuser. when a false accusa- and how shall I was brought against me defend myself now against you. or fancy. trouble my own mind. attack me boldly. can you propose except the nature of actual man ? If you are a friend of humanity should you not cultivate all mankind accept all their types share all their pleasures.126 DIALOGUES IN The Stranger. in a set speech. I know that by nature you are a true lover and that the good and the beautiful deeply engage your allegibut the blind ances wherever they are found . who say you are a philosopher and who. What other standard of human nature. therefore. and I need not address you tion . sport. bigots themselves philanand are always Invoking humanity are thropists in who my of day call men. are bringing charges which are probably true ? However. I may agree that I am . well knowing invective. be it in religion. as perhaps. utterly intolerant of natural freedom which sometimes renders glorious In spite of its the least human that life sadness. If you will and you were a crowd answer a few questions that if . They are tender only patriotism. and their philan- thropy Is sheer hatred of everything that might make men worth Socrates. and be pleased with all their oddities ? Else it might seem that what you loved was not mankind but . only your own pets or your own fancies. . Socrates. that I I You loving. am helpless against eloquence and could not defend myself before my judges In Athens* who were plain men. to the vermin In the lion's skin.

In this case certainly the flatterer would be the better critic and would describe the : deeper truth. because a philanthropist should love men as they are. Socrates. then. mechanical rogue. like a politician for his own advancement. as loves me (perhaps you yourself) I should like to have been. useless and tiresome and another friend . the true philanthropist a mankind .THE PHILANTHROPIST guilty or 127 say s you that that I you not philanthropist. Yes some such feeling was in 5 3 I am am no innocent. but is as the self-love of mankind itself a flatterer. You do my mind. not. That is a hard question. And does he love himself as he actually is or rather as he would wish to be ? The Stranger. bald. Unmistakably genuine. Is not. seeing their better . whereas I. falsely calling myself a lover of men. Now would you say that the love which a man has for himself is genuine or feigned and hypocritical ? The Stranger. pot-bellied. flatterer of - Socrates. one who knows and loves me exactly as 1 am describing me ? with gusto as an old. Socrates. calling me the daylight conscience of Athens or a discerner and who knows and companion of all that is beautiful which of these two friends do you think I should regard as truly sympathetic and as sharing with me the genuine love which I have for myself ? The Stranger. Suppose 1 have two friends. of course . love only my notion of what men should be ? The Stranger. Socrates.

at his and I age. would you wish the same thing for him in consequence of your affection ? The Stranger. Socrates. Of course. then. he must be prevented.128 side DIALOGUES IN and ? their missed possibilities them as they would wish I to and loving be rather than as . Is that certainly should like a boy the better for being sail fond of the Odyssey. Socrates. your meaning The Stranger. that day-dream is a part of the boy and if you truly love the boy. you say. And if the boy attempted to set boat. at least if they are boys. in some from desires without ? realizing it them ? Is that the position The Stranger. to be without something of the sort ? . they are The Stranger. How. suppose that our wishes and ideals are a part of our present selves. you must . I should not wish him. to prevent them by force realizing their desires . and yet he wishes them. does the argument stand ? Men. alone in a small hoping to be actually wrecked. and that a true lover of men would not love them apart from that idealism in them which keeps them alive and human. If a boy has been reading the Odyssey and wishes to be wrecked on a desert island and to become king over it. Socrates. So would seem. to cultivate those is ready. but the philanthropist loves them as they are and cases. love that day-dream in him. love themselves as they wish to be. .

1 should think him a good A friend may do an occasional service. but in a duck-pond. of course. and let us suppose that in his lucid he did not wish to be wrecked. to recover his health as soon as possible. without. are in fact little cowards^ and would be terrified at finding themselves adrift. actually assisting him ? to the best of your know- ledge and power. or would you still. servant. ? natural falling into a fever after reading it. as in the other instance. But let us coldly consider the Suppose some one is found so entirely devoted to your interests that he never exercises his own judgement but labours to carry out would you think him instantly your every wish facts. All the ridicule 1 may bring upon ridicule you upon will not hurt you. You are bringing ridicule upon me> but not conviction.. 1 will not say at sea. even when fond of the Odyssey and of gloating over imaginary adventures. K . the ideals warm Socrates. but by Socrates. ever reducing them to act ? The Stranger. Let us suppose that our young hero was rendered so exceptionally brave not simply by reading the Odyssey. would you share his wish in this instance boy intervals . : the best of friends ? The Stranger. if you bring no yourself.129 Perhaps our supposition was unbecause boys. but to Now if you were a true friend to that get well. him and wish him to remain just as he was intermittently feverish and entertaining at intervals love s proper to a fever. and becoming delirious .

Socrates. All your boon-companions adulterous lovers. they are wildly happy . Sometimes. No. exactions. and a servant a friend in his feelings . parents and children. Socrates. Each of them. may be sometimes but service is not true friendship. even to the point of violence and murder. later they pursue each other with sensitive claims. . sometimes seasoned with a little sarcasm. Presently they will fall out over the spoils or take to railing at one another for failure or treachery. but in reality each obeys a private impulse and The others are cares only for his own dream. is moved by a private mysterious passion. but his chance instruments in debauch. and jealousies. they are accomplices.130 DIALOGUES IN . that they are friends pursuing a common interest. then they begin to feel imprisoned. Socrates. bandits and partisans may imagine . too. and perhaps grow bitter and quarrelsome. There is sometimes sugary.At first they are in a flutter. or love-sick and full of dreams . as the phrase ? are in love The Stranger. . brothers and sisters ? The Stranger. is 5 But what of those who. A friend would rather communicate to me his own pleasures and insights. Partners in vice are not true friends ? The Stranger. . : . Is there not often a lifelong and tender affection between husband and wife. for a while. A good servant follows my directions a bad one studies my character in order to profit by my foibles 3 as a demagogue studies public opinion . fellowconspirators.

running and romping about with shrill cries. are picturesque. Socrates. I see that your preference. You find more peace ? s At among wrinkled white-bearded the sun or tottering on with themselves and their old saws 3 elders sitting in knotted staves. Otherwise such old men are a danger to philanthropy. like mine is decidedly for the plastic and generous temper of young men who embody human health and freedom to perfection. well pleased ? The Stranger. Socrates. They too. then . Socrates. What . having sold their souls to sardonic passion and become dangerous repulsive beasts. but background. Yes but our preference in this matter is three-quarters illusion. the love of images ? Do you now prize nothing in man save his active virtues* such as can be exercised in their fullness only in middle life ? The Stranger. no doubt. Yes for half an hour. In reality what And what can be is a youth but a tadpole ? more odious than their conceit when they have some cleverness and transgress their sphere ? Socrates. Active virtues ? Say rather active vices* Men in middle part immersed in affairs to life are for the most which they give too much importance. some and is your con elusion? That the one great obstacle to philanthropy is man ? .THE Socrates. 131 least young children^ red-cheeked and vigorous. What ? Are you entirely weaned from at their best in the 5 ? 3 . must be a perfect delight to you ? The Stranger. The Stranger.

Woman Is the eternal im- The Stranger. I begin to see your drift and the refutation which you Intend me to supply to my own opinion. You forget woman. pediment.. Nowadays the manly heart Is entirely dominated by the sentiments she . to find the beauty and fineness all the ardour and religion. that still remain in the world. can you still maintain that true philanthropy must be love of men and women as they are ? If you care for them at all. and by no means realized In their actual condition nor expressed in their loose wishes nor always furthered by their political maxims and superstitious morality. Socrates. It Is not easy to forget her. and confess at once that the philanthropist should Can I . . must It not be your constant endeavour entirely to transform them ? The Stranger. all It be so bad as that ? You are know. your spleen or your fancy Indulging^ yet after painting such a picture of mankind. and her ascendancy is a wile of nature that keeps the race jogging along In spite of all the philosophers.132 DIALOGUES IN 5 The Stranger. concentrated Socrates. Let me then expedite my fate. and In woman he seems . good of mankind. This was what I had in mind. Alas shade of Xanthippe. think this woman-worship degrading integrity Is out of date . a good predetermined for them by their nature and faculties without their knowledge. Nor does he Inspires or by those she approves. Being incomplete she wishes man to be so. strive to secure the true .

as you so generbut let them not ously help me. Their real nature what they would discover themselves to be If they possessed self-knowledge or. If this divine pattern In man became all In all. Into a slow and miserable suicide. The scars and deformities of men do not beguile him would they be deformities or scars If there were no whole and beautiful a diviner. most open is most full of dreams It pierces through the Incrustations of fortune. If they became what they are. But let us agree that the philanthropist Is nostrums. as I listen. . or does not perceive them. Socrates. The Stranger. as the Indian scripture has it. does not remove the objection which I have to meddlesome censors calling themselves philanthropists but abounding is . My doubts. return upon me. : humanity beneath which they could disfigure ? The lover's eye when. and wedded to their Let them help me. . only In their own conceit . if I followed them. or even In their prevalent habits. when I said that the true philanthropist loves men as they are for their true nature Is not adequately manifested In their condition at any moment. which would turn my whole life. seeking to palm off their prejudices upon me as moral first principles. You go faster and farther than is safe. This admission. would the creature be still any man In . to know myself browbeat me In the name of virtue.THE though : 133 I expressed myself badly. and sees only the naked image of the god beneath. or In their words and thoughts vapidly flowing. Socrates.

Would the divine spirit. according to you. as ceive it. being sublimated into the mere idea of himself in an unchanging mind ? the so-called philanthropist who loved him would not be loving a man.i 34 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO Would he not cease particular. Yes possible thoughts. or a man at all ? to exist and to live. The Stranger. Socrates. the odd or the even. since you are so familiar with these high question. according to your theory. No when there is some living : creature to whom that thought. is a thought good ? When it sets before the mind the round or the square. And But let me ask you a Socrates. there would be many other ideas as well? The Stranger. But in the divine mind. I understand you. divine mind. I respectfully leave out of my investigation and concern. entertain many thoughts ? : you con- all The Stranger. The other the good thoughts which. Socrates. the one or the many ? The Stranger. because they form no fill . Socrates. when habitually expressed in man's life. Then. mysteries. if if realized. Then consider my case. . Of course Socrates. Exactly. And when. Perhaps. or at least all good thoughts. but rather a picture and a detail in the mind of God. in your opinion. would make his happiness would also be the idea of humanity in the divine mind ? thoughts which. would the be happiness.

gods. Socrates. and know it to be good. that as usual you are subtly ironical when you for at heart say that you are a lover of man and not of God . I am content to have it so. particular idea. but because there is a living creature familiar to me to whom the realization of that idea is so that my exclusive happiness attachment to this particular divine idea marks me out as a lover of man rather than of God. Very likely all good thoughts . . in spite of your banter. The Stranger. expressing it piece-meal in their blundering careers.THE PHILANTHROPIST inform 135 If nevertheless you part of a perfect humanity* me that in loving human perfection I love a divine idea. I judgement on all questions concerning the cosmos and the gods. raised in fancy to perfection and immortality ? I think. considered as alleged facts. as an idea in God* Yet what is any idea but an eternal essence ? So that. the for what are the objects of science or of fear . are divine But I no theologian. to a moralist or a true mystic. save that which he prizes in his own nature. and gladly acknowledge that you are a pure You may well prefer to suspend philanthropist. and it is impossible for you. mankind never would there could have been no trepidahave existed . not am because you tell me that it is one of the ideas in the divine intellect. you are a mystic and a hermit whose wilderness is human society . and I prize this ideas. to love man otherwise than religiously. unless men had enacted it in time and in the world of matter. . Your demonstration is cogent. as you say.

and prescribe before we find words to tell you. The sum of it is this : that we . and you teach us dissatisfied. your sympathy there is infinite and reveals to us our anticipates our confession. " in the midst of them is sung a hymn Publish. and so to train ourselves in art and government that life in our cities may be both free You success are the prophet of success. In the religion which the Greeks adopted after your time. Publish it by all means. for man such as prompts them to assist. I should under. of sorrow. That is the mystery. because you do not our natures for us. the mystery. from forgetting man ? . are the friend of youth. Then let us pass it by. is there or has there ever shall and beautiful.136 DIALOGUES IN and no fraternal fondness of tion in love. who alone understand mysteries. you did not forbid. to 1 am far or to forgive one another." and though I am but a : lame mystic and hardly take to publish it. if initiated. that in your admonitions too. You to disentangle and understand our loves. Who of servitude ? What god shall help us where we have failed ? Socrates. tongue. The initiated. But how much ? been on earth be the prophet of old age. Socrates. kindness. but ask us. of the soul flushed with brave hopes. Socrates. embrace. The Stranger. have sworn not to reveal them. mysteries are public. But for all that 1 am somehow secret heart. Can even a god help you there ? The Stranger. The Stranger.

it must the torrent is too any case presently perish mighty for any swimmer. setting the love and the need of a special perfection in each creature's heart but the path of any in. and call me a theologian yet we must somehow speak of nature and the gods and how in . or be utterly distracted. as the silence is which follows upon speech part of its eloquence. is necessarily long and perilous. if you will. life. too. You may laugh at me. .THE must leave glory to failure for ourselves. and a part of his glory and such of us as have no glory here fall : those who may be content with our glory there* As to our life on earth. that lie finds his glory in the ruin of his creatures ? The Stranger. as ours has been since. an enemy to man. Is your God. The founder of our spiritual city saw in his Father . and few there are who ever reach the the perfections of all goal. or of any life only in its perfection. he called as you. then. Their ruin is a part of their mode of existence. whether it ever touch perfection. Yet by the way and never attain perfection are none the less present for ever to the mind of God. as yours seemed to do for a moment in Greece. once whom human life only. a great lover of called God. carnate spirit. ? shall Did ever speak of them except in parables ? not yourself repeat a tale about the birth you we . 137 God and be content with Socrates. His hand had scattered bountifully throughout the chaos of him : but not a lover of matter the seeds of all sorts of perfections. buried as it must be in matter and beset by accidents.

of which you speak so darkly ? The Stranger. absolute want are. God . is human which God finds eternally In perfection. What. but the Prophet of Nazareth.138 DIALOGUES IN Want ? of Love. and perhaps If his maxims were repeated to me by some rational person (which was never yet the case). for Instance. It Is but a part of The true his joy In the fullness of his own being . Socrates. Is called charity. . by chance. Inner yearning and matter. Now there have been prophets In India and who have and utterly even like soared altogether above this painful love and have studied to become Im- even In Greece passible blissful. directed towards the Idea of humanity. Is this charity of his. In a has never animated any other prophet so that his philanthropy bears a special name and spirit that . Anything Interest for me. or towards any other divine seat of love is when its Idea. that he was the child of Plenty and Let me then enlarge upon your apologue and say that the satisfaction the Idea of Ideas. because there is no want and no sorrow in it . who said he was the Son of God but also the son of man. Definition Is not my art yet perhaps if you will define philanthropy I may be able to add some qualification to mark the differ. they might teach me to correct or extend my own you may not be without tell me about suppositions. your Prophet will because I have already heard sundry comparisons and couplings of his name with mine. taught and practised the love of man superhumanly. and in all other good not properly called love.

such as the desire to understand everything (which you. consolation. anthropy and Is already ? ness in man Have we not defined philanthropy it not love of that beauty and goodif which realized is happiness ? In what. paint a picture of the Golden Age or of . and the relentless approach of old age and death and . You may deformity. our times. desires ? But what. it brings anthropy . on the wa^ we are lucky if we escape disease. in the face of defeat. I 139 vaguely feel to exist between philcharity. I will expects the defeat of man's natural desires and and it is more than philaccepts that defeat in that. which fate nevertheless forbids us to realize. seated in our unregenerate nature. crossed hopes..THE ence which Socrates. From. may I ask ? are natural The Stranger. or less than that ? would make his your charity more venture to improvise an answer. the beginning we are compelled to put up with our parents. or desperate poverty. whether in children or nations. pray. Socrates. have wisely renounced) or to be beautiful. which may be naturally inevitable but which a good regimen would weed out or allow to blow over. I mean profound aspirations. The spirit in most of us has but a poor prospect. although I may soon have cause to retract it. Socrates. or the first or free or immortal. I don't mean mere whims or follies. our country. Charity is less than philanthropy in that it The Stranger.

for nature.. escape those limitations. instance. Socrates. the ministrations of charity to reconcile him to being covered with feathers s ? The Stranger. But in so far as spirit is incarnate in man and ad- dressed to human happiness. and that even feasting for ever on nectar and ambrosia might be a dull business and cloying. at death. and does . 1 confess that the life of birds too seems rather pitiful. and live and die in a far exile natural good. an ideal republic or are forgotten which these evils are softened . but meantime is we must endure from our them. it is not hampered by . to which you think yourself entitled and fitted by Is a part of what troubles you. at any rate. it not live ? many another life in many another spirit to creature Let us leave the fortunes of the hidden justice which probably rules the world and whose decrees. does it not also. or is perhaps the life of the gods in Olympus. we cannot alter. the fatality of having hands instead of wings ? And might a bird.140 DIALOGUES IN in . Charity exile for another. on the same principle deeply suffer for the lack of hands and require ? . Must not any incarnate spirit renounce beforehand almost everything that a free spirit might have desired ? Socrates. I the friendship of one You must excuse my dull wits s but have not yet gathered from your eloquence whether the natural good from which you are banished is the happiness proper to man at home. If there is an immortal spirit in every creature which chafes at its limitations.

being their creator. to give voice to his own nature . and loved them only for being halt. as I seem to have heard. He was no coward^ he was no eunuch but he was not sent (as he was wont to prise . judged them. poor. enter- and science. their beauty 5 valour. . would have shared your philanthropy to the full. man content to possible for a man to be. and diseased in both mind and body. or condemn the and beauty which. I do not understand In what respect I can be compared with him. Ms proper virtue as a child as a . by them. despised in men all their proper virtue. The Stranger.THE the conditions of this 141 human life but Is supported . If he had been man only. If your Prophet. at the word of God. as a cultivator of divine grace . he was sent to speak In God's name. blind. A fail in his proper virtue would show himself a scorner of humanity and a misanthrope. say) to speak for himself. soldier. could not hate the soul which he had kindled In to teach mankind Now their dust . &nd a man filled with the divine spirit could not warmth the creation. sets before Man him Nature presupposes nature. bemoan . and that Initially his heart would have longed with an even greater Intensity than yours for all the beauty and splendour of existence. and he In all is happy If that grace descends the offices of his upon him humanity and renders him it Is as nearly perfect as ? amid the accidents of fortune. or how his charity has any touch of philanthropy In It. and to judge themselves as God God. I think that our Prophet. as a father.

before reaching either the beauty or the suffering of any creature. with a com- handed down as a heritage* The end was at hand. the love of God always dominating the love of man and being at bottom the only ground for it. Thus in love for created things. had turned that dust into flesh.i 42 DIALOGUES IN . sees in mankind nothing but a rationally or of the world . . Yet as the Father was not the creator of man alone so the Son could not confine his sympathy to the human and extended tragic it to every creature. partiality. being pleased that they should live after that human fashion ? Hence the celestial colour of charity. and a tenderin resignation. knowing that events are in other hands. sciences and not one hint of comforts or sports or ambitions manly adventure. indeed. which has passed through the presence and human will God or share its through the love of God as through an infinite fire. For why should ness swallowed up a religious mind foster the has breathed aspirations at all. when it is divinely there is perforce an element of iminspired. he was deeply disenchanted with all capable. Our Prophet did not look upon the world with the eyes of a mortal . not one thought of political institutions to be built up laboriously or defended : human life is He the glories of which ignored. it is for each of us in turn and charity. a conditioned allegiance. soul. as. but also to that economy by which the fortunes of each are determined according to the divine will. passionate indulgence. all liberal arts. except because that human will into some parcels of matter.

a great renunciation. and when robbed they might of their cloak they might offer their tunic Leaving their nets upon the shore and plough in mid-furrow. . dissolving Insight . war. moths of a combatant. Poverty or disgrace might be sweet to them in its sharpness. they might beg food and lodging from strangers and when these werS refused.THE swarm of 143 fluttering . turn the other. a new society without possessions. If smitten on one cheek the death of the body. His maxims were not those needing to be saved . abandon their wilfulness. or anxiety. round the flame each with Its separate sorrow and Its dazzled spirit. competition. even on earth. . the midst of trouble the redeemed soul might be joyful. and the hairs of a man's head the harlots and the were God's creatures lilies . the little children. their . he went about healing and forgiving. . sympathy with the soul. and even the body might often be restored publicans were also his children. all creatures. and they might thank God for their little sister. greed. also. they might sit down the wayside and praise God with starving by a loud voice. disclaim their might In A and love one another. of the field. or the founder He considered rather the of a prosperous state. the sparrows even the tares among the wheat though destined for the burning. might bring peace suddenly All men. or a ranting moralist. The saints might form. Without expecting to extirpate evil so long as this world In lasted. to all who accepted It.

i

44

DIALOGUES IN LIMBO
Were
such,

Socrates.

madmen and gymnosoProphet loved
?

phists the

men whom your

The Stranger. No, as a matter of fact, his heart went out rather to children, to frank young men, to women who themselves had loved, and to the common folk in fishing hamlets and in the streets
of cities.
Socrates,

Then his

love of
if

been strangely chilled
precepts
?

mankind might have mankind had followed his

the irony of reform. I can imagine the cold words that our saints will hear at the Last Day. And would you yourself,
is

The Stranger. Such

have loved Alcibiades if he had resembled you, or Athens if it had been like Sparta ? Socrates. Athens and Alcibiades were constant
Socrates,

me, cruelly reminding me of what they ought to have been. How should I not have loved even the worst vehicle of so great a revelation ? There would be no irony in reform, my friend, if reform were guided by knowledge of human nature, and not by a captious imagination. Man is a natural being if he is ill at ease in the world, it is only because he is ignorant of the world and of his own good and the discord between man and nature would be wholly resolved if man would practise the true arts of medicine and politics. But your Prophet seems to have
irritants to
;

;

delivered

precepts which,

if

ever his disciples
turned!"

had obeyed them, would have

them

into

sanctified idiots, contemptible in his own eyes. He set before them as models other creatures, or

THE PHILANTHROPIST
the gods, or the ways of the universe counselling them to destroy themselves
see
, ,

145

thereby
;

and I no benefit which he conferred or even wished to confer, upon mankind. The Stranger. Metamorphosis, I suppose, is
never strictly a benefit, because It changes the standard of values and alienates the heart from It Is such a metamorphosis of Its old pursuits.
the spirit that our religion proposes to us, although of course none occurs In most of us, and our

remains perfectly animal and heathen. Yet the other note has sounded, and Is sometimes heard. If you asked me for my own opinion, I should say that there is one great gift which our Prophet has bestowed on us and that is himself. After all Is not that the best gift which a lover has to bestow, and the only one which a lover would much care to receive ? That he should have walked among us that he should have spoken
society
3

,

;

those golden words, composed those parables so rich in simplicity, tenderness, and wisdom ; that he should have done those works of mercy In

which the material miracle was but the spark for the new flame of charity which It kindled;
that he should have dismissed with a divine scorn

this

and a perfect disillusion all the busy vanities of world the Pharisees with their orthodoxy, the Sadducees with their liberalism, the scribes with their scriptures that he should have renounced family and nation and party and riches and any other hope or notion of paradise than this very liberation and self-surrender of the soul
; ,

L

146
that
Is

DIALOGUES IN LIMBO
his gift to
.

mankind Alone among dreaming mortals he seemed to be awake, because he the images and knew that he was dreaming which bring illusion to others, although passions he felt them, brought no illusion to him. He
;

had enough sympathy with blind life to underit, to forgive it, to heal its wounds, to cover its shames, and even to foster it when innocent
stand
;

yet that very understanding compelled him to renounce it all in his heart, continually draining his chalice to the dregs, and foreknowing the
solitude of the cross.
entirely

Thus

the indwelling deity

his shattering transfigured humanity, and the flame of love in him, though
it

without

rose and

fell

humanly

as the

miseries or the

beauties of the world passed before his eyes, yet never had the least taint in it of impurity, moodiIt was divine love, free from ness 5 or favour.

craving or decay.
alike

The

were known to

and the blackguard him at their true worth
saint

;

in both he could see something disfigured or unattained, perhaps hidden from their own eyes,

and yet the sole reason and root of their being, something simple and worthy of love beneath all and the assurance their weakness or perversity of this divine love, so surprising and inexplicable, became to many the only warrant of their worth, and lent them, courage not wholly to despise themselves, but to seek and to cleanse the pure pearl in their dung-hill, on which fiis own eye rested, and not without reason to call him the
;

saviour of their souls.

THE
Socrates, In
all

147

your words you are implying, if I understand you, that your Prophet was a god in the form of man ? The Stranger. Yes. Socrates. That is a point of difference between him and me which may justify the difference in our maxims, A god, even if for a moment he condescends to play the mortal, holds his imit is one thing to live and mortality in reserve die in an assumed character, and another thing We to live and die in the only character one has.
;

may presume,
shape
is

born

suppose, that a god taking human freely, after having considered what
I

form he should take and chosen his parents and the places he should haunt ? He would forecast and approve all the circumstances and actions
likely to

make up

his earthly career

?

The Stranger, that is precisely what we mean by saying that he is a god become man a form of words to which unspeculative
course
;

Of

people might possibly take exception. Socrates, But a mortal is born fatally and, as

were against his will he finds himself, he knows why or how, a man or a woman, a Greek or a barbarian, whole or maimed, happy or unhappy. The Stranger. Such is the blind throw of existence. By that token the spirit knows that it was created and is not its own master. Socrates. Nevertheless, would you not admit
it
,

;

not

that during

Ms

mortal

life

a

god

in

human form

might *at times forget the choice he had freely made, and the clear purpose of it, and might share

148

DIALOGUES IN
?
?

with mortals their surprise at events or their fears
for the future

The Stranger. Yes he would then actually have become a man and not merely have appeared in the semblance of man in some walking vision, In such moments like a ghost in the sunshine of obscured deity, he might taste anguish and death, and he might need to exercise faith and courage like any mortal to whom his own true nature and that of the world are profoundly
?
.

,

unknown,
Socrates.

And

yet

would he have ceased
his

a god

?

Or would

substantial

proved and vindicated if mortal confusion he remembered the choice of such an incarnation which he had freely made in the beginning, and all his immortal reasons for

be be divinity on awaking from his
to

making it ? The Stranger. The unity of his divine person would then be evident, because spirit is not
divided

by the
:

differences in

its

their sequence

on the contrary,
it

objects, or by in noting that
its

sequence or those differences

manifests

scope

and

its

intellectual essence.

Socrates.

And

for

what reason can you conlife
it

god through which he
The Stranger.
reason.
Socrates.

ceive such a

to select the sort of mortal
shall pass, or to

remember
it ?

with pleasure after he has passed through
1

am
you

at a loss to^ suggest

any
the

Yet

have
wise

heard

that
free

Egyptians,

who were

men and

from

THE
,

149

vulgar prejudice believed that one god affected the form of a cat, and another that of a monkey
or a bull or an ibis
I
;

and on the same

principle,
call

suppose, some gods,
:

whom we

might

divine

philanthropists, may man and these are doubtless the gods whom we preferred to worship In Hellas.

have affected the form of

The Stranger. I sympathize with your taste, and with that of your gods also. Socrates. But not, I suppose, to the extent of
rashly denying the wisdom of the Egyptians or the impartiality of the divine principle animating all the gods, no matter of what living function

or form they
leaving
for
1

a

may choose to be patrons. Now, moment the Egyptians to their
:

would ask you this If some god is by temperament a philanthropist and meditates taking the human form, would you expect him to
wisdom,
assimilate himself to all sorts of

men

equally, to

become both man and woman, both white and good and wicked ? The Stranger. Evidently the same arbitrary choice, which you have just called temperament, leading him to choose a human life at all must lead him. to choose some human life In particular*
black, both

Might he then, as well as not, in show his friendship for man, be born a hunchback or an Imbecile, or would he thirst to commit all the crimes and to catch all the
Socrates.

order to

Infections of

which human nature Is capable ? The Stranger. We have already dismissed that morbid romanticism.

150

DIALOGUES IN LIMBO
Would you
fish

Socrates.

at

least expect

him

to

and dig for Iron and quarry stone ? Would he marry and build himself a house and supervise his domestic economy and the education of his children ? Would he go down daily to bargain and argue and spit and vote
plough and
In the agora
?

The Stranger. All that sort of thing is certainly very human, and seems honourable enough In a man or, at least. Inevitable but somehow It Is absurdly contrary to the nature of a god even if he was dwelling in disguise among men, and when
:

seen In that light, as occupation for a god,

It

all

becomes

pitiful

and ridiculous.
It

perhaps easier for you to imagine a god In human shape tending flocks or taming horses or dancing at a harvest feast, or wrestling with the young men In the palaestra and causing astonishment that one apparently so young and slender should throw
Socrates. Is

the strongest and most skilful of
first

them

at the

encounter

?

The Stranger. Yes, such theophanles are dear
to the poets. Socrates. And while

you refuse to admit that

god could become a general and plan a battle and perhaps lose it, would you think it credible that he should swoop down Into the fray to rescue some hero whom he especially favoured, or should
a
Invisible arrow or with a glance, or should, by a word or a touch, bring a dead man to life ?
transfix

some other hero with an

PHILANTHROPIST
The Stranger.
Socrates,

151

Oh

yes

;

such actions seem
In disguise.

more congruous with a god

And

without allowing him to become

husband and a householder, would you suffer to woo some nymph, or perhaps to appear In the midst of a wedding feast and to carry off the bride, leaving the bridegroom open-mouthed and the whole company in confusion ? The Stranger, I am afraid, if we may trust popular tales that he might do so without my
a

Mm

*

,

permission.
Socrates. Is
It

even conceivable that he might
,

secretly substitute himself for a woman's husband, or carry her away in a cloud to his own haunts

by that gentle rape she might become the mother of a young hero ? The Stranger. That, too, Is told of Zeus, and of other fabulous interlopers but what Is the
In order that
;

purpose of

all

these examples

?

To discover, if possible, what elements of human life a spirit that freely chose to be human would admit into Its experience* The poets who
Socrates.

compose fables about the gods and I suppose the same is true of those who report the apparitions of your Prophet were moralists in poetic guise they may have been rustics and their pleasures rude* but they were regaling themselves and their hearers with pictures of such lordly actions as they would have performed gladly, had their souls been freed from labour and restraint. It will be easy
;

to preserve the principle of their morality while You can conceive, for refining the illustration.

will Is be enshrined In a divine Idea but there no saying that one divine idea is better than another. the next generation. This. instance . and according to our way of speaking that Of coveted perfection will be enshrined eternally in a divine Idea. Socrates. that Apollo or one of the Muses If they loved mankind^ might whisper perfect music or perfect truth Into our ears ? The Stranger. too. Now pleasures and the poets story to be arts and and so proper to human nature as not to be unworthy of a god wearing the form of man ? You are silent.i S2 DIALOGUES IN . variable ? human nature one and In- course In any man at any moment human nature will tend to some specific attainment . comparable with those we have that seemed to your Prophet and to mentioned. the neighbouring nation. That would be true philanthropy on their pray tell me which were the arts. The next man. part. Each posture whteh Is truly apposite perfection. and human nature In actual men Is an unstable compound. But the expression of that Idea on earth will remain precarious. or that the humanity of to-day Is less or . has Its . Can you possibly be asking yourself whether such sublime spirits could who composed Ms pleasures so liberal be haters of of it? human Is nature rather than lovers The Stranger. divine inasmuch as labouring existence somewhere actually worships and pursues It. Why of life more human than that of yesterday. will tend to a different perfection.

and the pure spirit which. looks out upon the strange scene. alike ephemeral. Meantime only two principles . but was the Word of universal deity. have firmly chosen to spend your days In the citadel of are patrons** of civil justice but In us "barbarians there morality and to cultivate only those deities who aad the kindly arts . are more akin like mast whom than any passing perfection to the unknown God no man has chosen.. . spoke only for pure spirit In the throes of destiny. A mighty pother It all makes with much thunder and lightning from above which Zeus sends down In sport or In The sweetness and the terror of it are derision.THE 153 call down Imprecations on another creature for not being or not wishing to be like ourselves ? The flux of matter brings now one Idea and now and It Is matter in us. as it has looked out from many another vessel on many another scene. and not at all for human thrift or human vanity* You. and another to the surface . Socrates. Odysseus among the Sirens. or to not reason or spirit 5 defend and preserve it. both before and after. endure perpetually in the universe the flux of matter in which every life Is formed and dissolved. that struggles to bring one form into existence here and another there . Now these two principles. the creator of man as and our Prophet who was not of all other things . chained to the . Is still something un. being present everywhere and everlasting. having a civilized soul. reclaimed and akin to the elements a spirit as of . the gods of Greece. one of those pleasant philanthropists.

. or that odder one which I call myself. Socrates. s possibly with God himself. the marvel which something deeper than humanity something untamable which we share with all God s creatures and to range alone. the sea. that things pleasanter to think of exist In plenty. Your impartial smile. Nothing can reconcile me to my save the knowledge that It Is an absurd personality I call accident. confess that my own it spirit is not very romantic and yet at times Itself would gladly dehumanize and be merged In infinitely fertile matter.154 DIALOGUES IN the hunter or the hermit or the wild poet. the life of plants and animals. rather than with that odd creature which man. Is it but the special human form and pass beyond which they take on for a moment Is something to be accepted arid dismissed without any passionate attachment. and I am inclined to Identify being even now with these elements. In which I now my shall soon be lost. And if matter and spirit elsewhere ? should assume some other shape. all of the stars or of intricate friendly forests In seem to liberate In us . Neither matter nor spirit foreign to human nature . and that I may always retire from It Into pure spirit with Socrates. then. 1 . they run through . who is not happy in towns. are not In Its man but in some faculty which you think you have of escaping from humanity ? The Stranger. The fields. pleasures. the mountains. would that non- human life please you better . now in clear and unruffled mind .

Why should It please me better ? would be subject to the same contingency torment. Towards and profound compassion not counting alleged deserts but succouring distress everywhere and helping all to endure their humanity and to . Is admit that the love of an idea It not sentimental Socrates. Yet what Is he pursuing In struggles all those his save ? the I continued existence of humanity The Stranger. any adoration of mankind is mere sentimentality. And ? have 1 overcome that disinclination . killed by contact with actual men and women. when ? Inspires labour and art. Of course not. What difficulty Socrates. begets or defends himself and his country Is his children^ love of life mere sentimentality ? Socrates.THE It 155 The Stranger. ? The Stranger. renounce It. Then have you not ? solved your original difficulty The Stranger. ? . people a doting love signifies the lover and Injury to the beloved a sober until that love Is chastened Into charity actual silliness In . Your disinclination philanthropy actual is to believe that the love of an idea ? and not of ? men^nd women The Stranger. human ways please me as If I were a reformer But I can laugh and shudder with the crowd. and decay. . When a man gathers food. . Socrates. I have no particular prejudice against the nest in which I was hatched.

if we both agree that it is true. And what is that ? Socrates. something different. The Stranger. and that philanthropy. That a god cannot be a philanthropist. Therefore. The Stranger. in setting that idea more clearly before men's eyes and helping them to embody it that the love of life is itself perfectly. you now admit love of an idea. virtue. too. The Stranger. if he is inspired god can be inspired only by some small whispering daemon peculiar to himself. as usual. to a human love. Socrates. but he will ultimately invite it to dissolve and to pass into even if . you will not accuse me of having interpolated. Socrates.156 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO since Socrates. is an invention of mine ? Never mind who first said it. Apparently. a philanthropist. whom perhaps he calls Reason. I certainly agree. Will you wickedly pretend that this. In that case we may now describe both my philanthropy and your charity by saying that philanthropy is a sentiment proper to man in view of his desired perfection. he chooses to take a human form. have explained another matter which. at any rate. more is simply reinforcing their natural I think this solution. who by a is wedded at all. and charity a senti- . as it you : touches the special tenets of your religion. You are too curious but. has been found by you and not by me. His divine mind can never give an exclusive importance to perfection in one kind of animal he may amiably foster humanity on occasion.

. I ask myself whether you are a Christian because It from me to : a scotched worm when . and what is even worse. in Its natural Such animal perfection In one quarter would be bought by mutilation and suffering elsewhere In other animals hunted and devoured happiness. . Socrates. s relaxed. we ? too. or even given to gloating over it. is not scornful of Imperfection. . or all living creatures. 1 am not surprised to hear It from your lips. something In the human spirit (which Is not merely human) all would be stifled by that happiness and would hate that perfection. The only cure for suffering which true wisdom and charity can seek Is not perfect embodiment but complete emancipation. began to love dissolution. Yes. In slavery. or Indifferent. and you yearn to be dissolved into your elements* Now Far be sincere blame your preference if cut quite in two lead* its two lives more conveniently In may So in you matter and spirit but separation. in the rebellious instincts necessarily suppressed . The Stranger.THE ment proper god s 157 to a god or ? to a man Inspired by a In view of the necessary Imperfection of this god. the discord in your soul has become hopeless. on the ground that a spirit it made keeps the ball rolling. In early Hellas men were growing whole and naturally cherished wholeness but later when the bonds that bound our cities were . suffering cannot be stilled by establishing any tribe of animals. He must be This flesh who himself suffers. If man taught by a god. or any one soul.

I life It renders life vile thanked the gods when I was alive for been born a Greek and not a barbarian. by Socrates. cultivated for the sake of also. or are longing to die because are a Christian. and the school all of them traditional crutches with which. the government. why by changing ? They say that there are poisons to which an organism may accustom itself.158 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO you you are dying. The Stranger. perhaps more deadly. comes a your day. though limping. like the army. The Stranger. as I am not so much Is a Christian that . when to a fresh life despair. After all. before quite dying of awoke beginning to . yet when change live Inevitable. as in your day you praised and defined the perfect rational animal. at of courage . Christianity among us is one of these domesticated evils or tonic poisons. after . the family. Why nurse disease or deformity ? Death Is not and when vileness Is an evil. From the world do penance. with his transfigured type of perfection ? In a later age you might have cultivated sanctity. Is not even a Christian a man. having and now that I am dead I thank them that I died in time. last certain crises. and spurt manly virtue had long disIts sins. we manage to walk. Better the cup of hemlock in time. but vileness Is appeared. lest I should have become a Christian. were you not yourself constrained to turn away from this world and lay up your treasure in heaven ? . so that they may become elements should not of defence within It we against other evils.

where perfect after men actually live their kind. if you could me to some fair country. . Hellas. no and carnal. and even immortality* which Pluto has granted me here. how are remote. : 159 how should a plain man No. what was the finest of ideas Of what use to me except a principle of art ? could rule or compass be to me without a workshop. Poor craftsman that I was. Ah. You are mistaken if you think that 1 was ever comforted by dreams or satisfied with contemplating an idea. myself with that semblance. No dislike of travel will stop .THE Socrates. desire the life of a me. I happy and would instantly the placid disown Athens. and had no heart . : which men always might point and after which they might religiously fashion their earthly lives and their human republic. or the lodestar without a helm ? Images in even in stone the fancy never enamoured me or marble I held them cheap. in order to go and live among those creatures and learn their ways. little as they satisfied my heart. while living beauty remained absent from the flesh and from the soul of my countrymen. or to to cheat pretend to love. that rather than starve on it 1 was content to love. plodding god or dream of ever enjoying It ? Was I a like Heracles or a Ganymede ? To heaven I never looked for a refuge from the earth or a second I saw there an eternal pattern to native land . no matter only guide . So little did the idea unrealized appease my hunger. naughty creatures like Athens or like Alcibiades they were the best 1 could find.

If then some day the news should reach me that . prescribed garsacred festivals ments or prescribed nakedness round with the sun. and pleasures set coming apart for youth and for age. relish your regimen. With what joy should I find that little city shining upon its hill. is extinct . Itself your friendly spirit happily survives. neglecting to breed abandoning Socrates. They loved anything and everything better than a perfect humanity. Those who now dwell on and when earth are not men but anthropoids for it will soon destroy their race. I will humbly . and to train them nobly. humanity Is returning to the earth. The Stranger. The men of my time would not . and although matter for a season may lapse from that form. Nor did those of my : noble children. .i6o DIALOGUES IN LIMBO If once the good realized beckons me away. they became troops of ranging animals. time relish It. for men and for women for to such musical paces the spirit of man must move If It would be beautiful and holy. inviting and summoning that wayward substance to resume its possible beauty nor can such divine magic be resisted for ever. too. . If to be extinguished. the forgotten pattern is still inviolate in heaven. words and exercising and feasting and singing approved and words forbidden. girt with impregnable walls that hours appointed for rising never held a traitor me s . for humanity pray bring me the pleasant tidings Is immortal. and the race may seem . with a homeless and dreaming mind. They had their way their cities to ruin.

in case Theseus or the children of Heracles might be coming down again from the snows of Haemus. M . incorrigible feast my philanthropist that I am eyes at last upon the sight of A I might MAN. and I might hear the Dorian trumpet resounding through the valleys and 5 .beg Pluto who is a kindly monarch over these Shades to grant me leave for an hour to revisit the sun.

alas ? myself in on Paradise of the Prophet. my hand should be wandering over her bosom. Paradise. I should be . of utterly. The the fresh sweet sound of bubbling fountains should comfort me . understanding.IX HOMESICKNESS FOR THE WORLD Avicenna (soliloquizing). her hair should be lightly touching my cheek. I should be charmed by the sight of peacocks and the nightingales in the spreading their fans thicket of ilex should sing to me like my own . their petals like amethysts and rubies and sapphires and liquid opals. I should be soothed by the scent of great sleeping flowers. heart. I should now find : I. From the impregnable safety of my happiness I should be looking abroad through all the heavens and surveying the earth the maxims of the wise should be on my lips and in my soul the joy of . Great is Allah even could not deceive him. wide-eyed and nimble as a gazelle. should be not far from me . Some tender young maid. reclining silken cushions and sipping delicious sherbets . By every promise of faith and canon of the law. him that Walking upon th soul trusts 162 my my arm bastions of linked in that of a friend.

and perceived that believer. I should have been saved. he over- legal rights by a higher exercise of and reduced me for ever to the miserable equity condition of a pure spirit. trust was in Aristotle and In myself. because 1 had hoped to win them without blinding my fables to delude me. because In my thoughts 1 trusted. Sharpening there- name and my my fore In silence the sword of his wrath. Yes legally. Here among heathen ghosts I pine and loiter eternally^ a shadow reflecting life and no longer living. and missing all the warm and solid pleasures of Paradise. But the Omniscient having if looked Into 1 was no secret heart.FOR THE 163 repeating the words of the poets. Was I not Did 1 exactitude Itself In every religious duty ? ever allow myself the least licence on the ground that I was a philosopher unless I had a text to . should be composing for me tenderer and more beautiful verses of Ms own . intellect. justify me ? Did I blasphemously lay my assur- ance of salvation in my own merits or In the letter of the law. who made us can forgive and understand ? ever Allah could be deceived. rather than In the complacency of the Compassionate and the Merciful One. without haste or error. vainly revolving ruled my my thoughts. certainly 1 Ah. should have deceived him. and that whilst lips Invoked my his all that of the Prophet. or suffering old . and we should be marvelling and 3 sighing together at the ineffable greatness of God and the teeming splendour of the earth. and he In answer.

dashed my respect for my vital powers. us. wretchedly as they are accustomed to live. . comes into It Is a our tents through the door *guest and a Its language Is foreign to stranger to our blood. The Stranger. and we should live as small.164 DIALOGUES IN The Stranger (who has approached unobserved). though the most precious. friends the Christians. and caused me to see all things too much as God sees them. Is it not some consolation to consider that If you were not able to deceive Allah. and killed the confidence they should have It overcame the Illusions necessary to a bred creature. waiting now In their forlorn heaven for the last day. Pride of intellect Is the sour refuge of those who have nothing else to be proud of. and feel again that they are men and not angels ? Intellect. virtues .Yes. The divine part In us. when they shall return to their bodies. Allah was not able to deceive you ? Avicenna. or . frankly. I pine for the rest. Is any other maxim of Aristotle now. May Allah impute it to me for and not for blasphemy. we . A rare fault in a philosopher. Far be it from me far as we may In the eternal. when that exiguous element in especially myself is all that is left of me. but I never humility wished to resemble him. are about to say. Small consolation. being divine. and painfully as we may try to learn it. . Strong as my soul was In other and generous my blood intellect prevailed too much in me. Are not even the souls of your to deny that. . But. I know what you Avicenna.

in which In order to know the truth. few. . who would not choose to be young ? Do not the Pagans and Christians (who have never understood the great. May we not pride ourselves a little on our illusions. which Allah cannot share. on our surprises. ness of Allah) confess as relate much. so much fresher and sweeter than his solemnity ? Rather than be eternal. this vivid and terrible blindness of life. or how they how have prayed. and to grieve are forms of impotence and self-deception. dwell in a body. wanderers. and at Persians blasphemously corrupting the syllables of the Koran which they thought to recite for like me. his creatures shine. on our sports. are perfect masters of both tongues. and died ? Of course. to love. lovers of women. But it is precisely sweet cajolery. to thirst. If we knew this all. to deceived or diminished . wept. such tales are impious Allah can never be and to live in time. And do you suppose Allah does not smile at our rustic accent when we venture to think ? But there are other tricks of ours which he does not laugh at. and on our childish laughter. How often have 1 laughed Arabs pluming themselves in Persian. Allah alone sufficed .HOMESICKNESS FOR always speak at WORLD 165 It ill. he did not create us to He created us rather . supplement that by our incorrigible ignorance we might diversify existence and surround his godhead with his intelligence. fasted. because he cannot imitate them. shepherds. when in their fables the gods have become men for a they season. we could not live. even wonder-workers and beggars .

rare adventures. that loved In the eyes of the Soul and be the star of her dark voyage. he was cold. . he shone like the stars In and when he the wilderness on a frosty night himself of his coldness and shuddered bethought at his solitude. there to create a third. I might have been happy. until they could contain it no longer. the . or If I had been . Now this divine Soul of the World had in his solitude and that of the Life that flowed turn flowed into my soul more copiously than Into I that of other mortals . and too great.166 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO beings able to die and to kill. madness was not worth having. arts. Soul of the World Itself . or fancied that with my next triumph they would ceale but now I perceive them. he was solitary. fame. that pang of Itself begat the companion with which his Oneness was pregnant. able above all to love. able to look for the truth and to tell themselves lies. too sweet to be endured it should leap from them Into If this that other being. and the choicest pleasures of both body and mind but happiness I never had* So long as I still lived. if I had not been a philosopher. . too mad. sailing before the wind of my prosperity I hardly perceived the division and misery of my being. . riches. able to dream. because from him Into the bosom of that loneliness and quickened it to all forms of love. to feel the life quickened suddenly within them at the sight of some other lovely and winsome creature. In order that the Intellect might grow warm It. had health. might turn to glory. why did Allah create the world ? Ah. as well as intellect.

in the ghastly light of truth and of foreknowledge. and a sundered and of intelligence as for lack of missed the Paradise of the Prophet. lest the too clear intellect in me should look upon them and they should die* 1 scorned the modesty of the sages a second faith 1 so. which not be commanded. before death. like a woman lover* before her dying child or her estranged Master in every cunning art. As It was. who made life . and the most inordinate because I craved and struggled to know everything and this passion in me availed to mock and embitter the others. I was the all 1 enjoyed 1 did not slave of fate and of nature . I clasped my hands and wept and prayed. I was wedded to existence as to a favourite wife.FOR THE nothing 167 else. too much intellect made brackish the sweet and impetuous current of my days. my pride blasted worked themselves out Horror was never fever of far my human nature. in me without from All actions illusion . 1 missed the peace of the philosopher. whom 1 knew to be faithless. my pleasures. I renounced nothings I rejected nothing being but a man. but could not cease to love. before Allah. because 1 craved to enjoy it for ever fof constancy in mortal things > in which sighed constancy is not. Before the flight of time. I strove to will command fortune and futurity. I lived like a god. The my ambitions must needs be perpetually accelerated. I enjoy. Philosophy in me was not a harmony of my whole nature. but one of its passions. . even for lack of measure and renunciation. without only subduing them. . . and .

1 made myself . . when the fountain is It torment was my and my unhappiness has outlived Its cause. and then another. You ? If I had been condemned to . It was a and In a life like yours. But you know all this better than I and if you choose playfully to lament your eclipse on earth (while you shine feats. while yet I may. may It not consent to dismiss each in turn ? If we do not renounce the world we must expect the world to forsake us.168 I DIALOGUES IN married a wife. I became the father of children. ? more satisfaction In having lived than regret that life Is over. The union of spirit with nature Is like the sporting friendships of youth which time dissolves naturally without any quarrel. And yet. . and become eternal. cut off 1 yearn for that existence which ? could not give over gushfilling every cleft and hollow Even now. and a vain I babbler before the vulgar whom I knew I deceived. ing and spreading and of opportunity. immortally here) I suspect you do so merely to rebuke me gently for playing the truant while I am still at school. lord over found myself science and over great estates and the slave and steward of my possessions. and each was a burden more weary than the last. or turned against me in their hearts. there Is . as you did. Avicenna. and they died. Since Spirit is not attached to one form of life rather than to another. so long as the soul of nature fed the fountain of my being. The Stranger. full of great happy union. when 1 ought to be living lustily. and troubling you here pre- maturely by my illicit presence.

In the market of fortune I bought my apples without weighing them. in . are not disat every turn they come upon someappointed thing unforeseen. my eye already on the next. by rehearsing the memorials which remain of us. with Intense zeal propitious. and before so that I : am spending your life. and every as far as possible. It stops short. as well as the wisdom of the ancients. Reason is like a dog that explores the road and all the by-ways when we walk abroad . and In the world as it appears to be now. and do something bold. in the study of wisdom. as J ranged over my wide Life is not a book to read twice and preserves. ahead. It Is not the ending that matters* This story has no moral . to employ your time humanly. even In your day. and which enable you. far from chiding you for other art and virtue was open to me. ? . cannot exchange the volume fortune puts In you your little : your hand for another on a nobler theme or by a In reading It you should not look better poet. I should not lament my present condition. You do well to water flower-pot. 1 did that. our society. and my soul was mighty. The ending Is not there. because sad as It is. or you will skip too much. If one had a worm in It. men like me. at least It Is not ignoble.FOR live In WORLD 169 your skin. when there is nothing but meanness in it. but the earth was then too. but he cannot . it away laughing. The only good thing remaining In your world Is the memory of what It was in nay day. who skip nothing. I threw . It is here Brave It is the truth of that life seen as a whole.

But when as in you. and destiny has done no injustice to your true nature in relegating you to this land of unconquerable mind. so the joy of in that. if it fails fails in being anything but a vain I torment beast. instruments can enrich a tion for mind that has not eleva- commanding them. of You praise them because you made sport intellectually . Ah. because I underre. and the flux denies of nature sucks them up altogether. you lived in an age of freedom. you were full of Had we that strength. these an ideal. You were not ashamed of human nature and if life was full of dangers. . Awcenna. you would not regret being rid of them. As the it life. The Stranger. Mind in you them was always supreme. The stream becomes the picture of a stream. acquire a human splendour. which the next moment or transforms. life would yield resource. They roll on. and we must whistle to take a new turn. comes to dominate life and intellect. but no wealth of matter enough even in our day . the passion love. You prize the world because you were its master. they were my . Certainly I gloried in was a man^ and not a my stood and controlled them actions. as men are in my time. . . Had you ever been the slave of business and love and opinion. Mere life and mere love have no memory the present dazzles them with its immediate promise. privilege of matter is to beget life is to beget intellect .170 DIALOGUES IN him when we choose a direction or supply a motive for the journey.

to from the Most High. The lyre has performed Its task when it has givcif forth the harmony. might be your joy and to Barren you shall ever be of intelliand barren my intelligence must remain gence in me here. Into a jewel of a thousand rays. Is not sterility In ultimate things a sign of supremacy ? We disciples of Aristotle know that there Is something ultimate and supreme In the flux of nature. standing WORLD 171 with swords drawn before my gates. which never alas. The Stranger. In sounding and In floating Into eternal silence. my body and marrow of my bones. it has lent This Intellect an end and not a . alas. even the concomitant or truth which arrests that It embodies. because it is means. and the harmony. in order that the potency of life. and craft Dear warm plastic flesh of nothing to play with.FOR tainers. never (since Allah denies you the hope of resurrection) will you be gathered again Into a mirror without a flaw. Now. and the truth. impotcntly pining for the flesh in which it grew. ceases to radiate gathered and his glory. my servants spreading the feast before me. being divine. where are you To what cold thin dust are you scattered now ? turned ? What wind whirls you about In vain revolutions amid the sands of the desert ? Never. has no task to perform. 1 reason in me am a monarch without subhas nothing to rule. . Intellect form which form and that ought to be sterile. reflected in you. my damsels singing and dancing before my ravished eyes* jects . once so swiftly responsive to every heavenly ray.

as alone happiness can be realized . to me on account of discords unresolved they bring you nearer to You have all that we can hope for. but because its elements were too impetuous to be reduced to harmony. . that is not past. in spite for what survives of of your humorous regrets you here is the very happiness of your life. and if this happiness it is imperfect. Your frank lamentations trail the splendour of your existence they seem to me my day and to its troubles. Therefore 1 account you happy. . .172 life DIALOGUES IN and beauty to its parent world. pure music in contrast to the optimism which simpers daily in a wretched world. This because is imperfect happiness of yours telligible is all the more inits and comforting . renowned Avicenna. realized in the intellect.

renowned Avicenna. But ? how flight should envy you your adventures ? The of eagles and the swimming of porpoises I are admirable to me in the realm of truth . Or am 1 encourage me to approach ? warned that 1 should be disturbing the sweeter society of your thoughts ? Avicenna. I envy you your intelligence and moral sanity because the shy beginnings of something of the sort are innate in me also. It was a rare pleasure to listen. 1 when The Stranger. directions. 1 rejoice that there are such things in the world. Neither. and you seemed hardly to envy It* The Stranger. To-day you smile. . but 1 1 The allusion is to a conversation not reported in this volume. yet both.X THE Do you OF ARISTOTLE The Stranger. Avicenna. Doubtless a purer pleasure to listen to such exploits than to remember them. am* not tempted to experiment In those So I relish your conversation here. 1 pine for my splendid past. at those old feats of lustiness 1 was smiling and prowess which I was recounting and with rare pleasure you were last here.

Many voyages have been made . and which I too. . > . These very escapades of yours among ing. You could not relish my virtue even in idea. following his example. and to beget nothing in its turn. Therefore I tell you. Prometheus. Aphrodite. had you no spurs to brandish in your particular cock-pit. are but the Shades. as to Hestia. Undoubtedly. the most mysterious everything. eternity would have nothing to embalm. is the most fertile. Avicenna. If time bred nothing. will preserve it. Of all men I am the last to belittle the world of matter or to condemn it. never proclaimed openly ? The Stranger.i 74 I DIALOGUES IN though should have made the lamest of companions for you in the world. The life is Allah's. and all the gods of for I know that matter the generation and art oldest of beings. Live while you may. Aristotle and reflection and I am pfoud to think that this conclusion is not very remote from that which your great intellect has drawn from the same sources. Avicenna. that ? What are you saying ? Who . in search of pure understandthe last gasp of a sporting spirit. I feel towards it the most unfeigned reverence and piety. taught you The Stranger. But who can have revealed to you a secret which the Philosopher intentionally disguised. truth of your He The Stranger. and cannot be begotten but it is proper to spirit to be begotten of all other things by their harmonies. Avicenna. the most proit begets found. .

and many discoveries .OF ARISTOTLE 175 since your day. The tale Is true not. was how the doctrine of the book could true. or how one part supported or seemed to contradict another. story : . For I too had eyes In my head. be Whfit escaped me. That I indeed the distinction which to learned privately make. that having read the fourteen books of the Metaphysics no less than forty times. and what I longed to discover. a special revelation. of course. or what was writterf first and what added as a comment later. If they have any wit at all. Avicenna. 1 remember a probably there is no truth In it that you had long found the Metaphysics unintelligible until you came by chance upon a stray commentary which solved the riddle. or In fine that pedants call understanding a book . and knowing them perfectly by heart. that covered the truth. trines of Aristotle Perhaps you learned the doc- when you were too young to discount their language and freely to confront them with the facts of nature. and to discover concealed in the prudent doctrine of the Philobut it was not at first blush. and such understanding was not understanding to all me. nor without sopher . both forwards and backwards 1 failed to understand anywhere the meaning of the words. and the ruin of empires and religions has repeatedly admonished mankind . Amcenna. but 1 had the soul of a philosopher. my great intellect dis- The Stranger. to distinguish fact from is fable. the .

: * ? . more learned men I I consulted. a system of hieroglyphics with which to inscribe the prison. It Is known to me that thou art the hope of the old and the despair of the young and Pbrlng thee a book of commentaries on the Metaphysics of Aristotle. buying or exchanging some jewel. Sunk In this conviction. didst thou wish of me ? anything Whereupon he plated his hand on his breast. and replied Young master. I was walking one day In the souk of Bokhara. for not . knew only world . I earth shone clear In the sunlight before me too well the hang of this naughty and I marvelled how a philosopher whose authority was unquestionable could give an account of things which so completely inverted their true The more commentaries I read and the order. when 1 perceived a venerable and courtly man who appeared to be following me and turning " to him I said Reverend Sir. saluting the merchants. but all were absorbed in considering how words should and their philosophy was nobe put together thing but the grammar of an artificial tongue. questioning the strangers rarities newly arrived concerning the disasters and the marvels they had witnessed In all the Islands of the sea and In all the cities beyond the desert. viewing and praising the found . . they displayed before me. the less satisfaction one of them had an eye for the truth.walls of their blindness and ignorance. or any keen interest in real things. a rarity hitherto unknown and a morsel . .176 DIALOGUES IN . and raised It thence to his " forehead. and sullenly reconciled to It.

" And 1 said "I have richer tissues and more Then his face was darkened beautiful clasps. and in need charity's sake 5 Then of comfort. that no one might over" Take it then for hear. wise men without books. offer thy book to another. saying Keep thy rare book for thy comfort. Have I not read the fourteen books of the Metaphysics full forty times. It is thine for a silver penny/ : took a silver penny from my purse and gave it " him. : I am bereft and old. crimson damask it is wrapped in. with which it is clasped. 177 for a fine palate : name thy price and It is thine. or maxims of ancient sages. black script choice thoughts of the poets . forwards ? and backwards^ understanding them avail ? What can thy commentary the learned fools ! A truce to the riddles of ! Give Away with the gibberish of ancient me a book of love if thou hast one. and the silver clasp. he said sorrowfully : ." "I have gold and silver and green and torted purple in plenty. and take this for thy need. " for the ." and bending towards me. with scrolls in gold and green and " That is nothing/ I repurple and silver. and many a book in red and 5 . and do I not know them by without heart." Not for me/ I replied " pray." But he 1 : N . But the stranger was smiled a little in his beard ! " and spoke again Take it then for the callifor it is fairly penned in of the scribe graphy black and red. s or a tale of some far country.THE " 5 OF . with its black opal. : He " ."" Take it then/' he persisted. or the wild verse of a poet inspired by wine not discouraged.

^ . DIALOGUES IN " Accept it. intervals some said : their carpets felt the Swiftness of influence that had passed near them. . without raising my eyes from the page. at length to the outer world. and sitting on the doorstep of a saddler's and all day I read. And the eyes of my soul were opened. I sped accordingly the wind from one mosque to another bursting in here and vanishing there. and fetch me a lamp thrice I finished. and shop I began to read when evening came on. and the true mind of the Philosopher descended on me. that in the darkest corner of I some mosque perhaps . I the saddler and the merchants and questioned the strangers and every passer-by ? as to who that old man might be but none knew him. but ten thousand talents. I made sign to the saddler to and all night I continued. I opened the clasp. . and I understood at last all that he wrote and all that he left unwritten. might find him praying." And he left the book in my hands. Pondering then in myself how this was perhaps no commentary on the Metaphysics nor an old scribe's treasure. ." he said once more " ? for the love of Allah. but some message of love or secret gift from a princess. except Awaking . and with a quick step departed. my feet scarce touching the ground and my garments flying so that the faithful standing at behind me like . and upon " What is this that has flown by ? Was . as for the love of Allah I offer it it is not worth a penny of silver nor a shekel : of gold.178 refused. and thrice all the following day began again.

none other bestow on thee a sit in the seat of and alchemists and and all shall be silent when physicians and poets thou openest thy lips.THE It OF ARISTOTLE 179 ? a blast with the scent of lilacs It from the garden Was a ray of sunlight between two cypresses severed by the breeze ? Was It an angel gathering up our prayers and bearing them swiftly before " the Lord ? At last in the farthest and smallest mosque of the city." But he gently disengaged himself. and " I am more than rewarded. and thou shalt authority amongst his scribes . nor are the caresses of monarchs or the cozenings of princes of any worth In my eyes compared with the smile of wisdom. what a blessing have I received at thy hands . I spied my lost benefactor . and deem It a signal favour and I shall from Allah to be corrected by thee be the first to come before thee in the morning and the last to depart from thee at night because . the fotfntalns of Ararat are not sweeter to me than the purity of the truth. but what I can I will. beside the burial-ground of : the poor. said had the secrets thou hast read In this book Long : N2 . . Come he with me Emir : shall know Into the presence of the that thou art the Solomon of the age. ! All I possess Is as nothing to what I owe thee. and embracing him with a tender and a long embrace I cried " O most venerable sage and my father in God. and for the gift of knowledge all the riches of the earth would be a small return . It is too much.for it is not hidden from author of this divine commentary Is me that the but thou and the Emir shall robe of honour.

But for the journey I shall soon make. I said In my in heart i : This young man shall will understand. mitted my Diligently therefore I commentary to writing. my own hand. They were not is for this age. my heart. Inditing mind comIt it scrupulously with precious silks. gold and silver heir to all 1 possess . other recompense.i8o lain DIALOGUES IN LIMBO upon . folding in and binding it with a magic and a and the rest thou knowest. not from necessity* I have other fair books and other jewels. down with haste to be known . Thereupon a report reached me of thy free nature and thy keen mind. In order that In a formal together writing and before witnesses I may Institute thee and withhold the the precious stone Let us then hasten for I have chosen a life of wisdom. But jewelled clasp since thy understanding has been quick beyond all expectation and thy thanks generous beyond my desert. and having myself last seen and heard thee. it will be published at the silence and to my me day. the song of a as sunrise to the light of truth Is hateful to them Therefore I had resigned myself to reveller. discoveries to go suffering The truth is In no to the grave. 5 and him my survive me. and my camels' saddle-bags are heavy with gold. poverty for the love of . fitting : let me complete my gift as Is for who would bestow setting ? to the cadi. and since In thee my soul has Indeed come to a second life. far from accepting any . Opinion amongst mortals drunkard merry and loud and exceedingly foolish and the cold and ravishing in its hollow sound like .

181 all shall be thine. which so wonderfully clarified the doctrine of Aristotle ? Avicenna."" May Allah lengthen those days into " and be they many or many years/ I replied few they shall be spent in my house . who feeling within them some part of the energy of nature wish to attribute that energy to the fancies which it breeds . In heart let me be thy child/ from that hour we were as a father who has I am chosen his son. The better way is to coax and soften their imagination it by a gentle eloquence. because it does some violence to the conceit of mankind. The Stranger. And what if it is not too much to ask may have been the gloss made by this sage. the divider of loves and the extinguisher of delights. you would gain nothing in the end. You will never enlighten mankind by offending them . hyperboles of poets they may not be seriously deceived by your scientific shams. and I have always made is it a law to bow to custom in science as in manners. The very . and even if by force or by chance you caused them verbally to recognize the truth. You will not find it in my writings . . until death. for If in 5 mind And thy heir. to give To rebel against comfortable errors them too much importance. for in their heads your accurate dogmas would turn at once into new fables.THE are useless. OF and before many days 3 . and a son who has chosen his father. rendering more harmonious with those secret forces which so that as by the tropes and rale their destiny . separated us for ever.

1 82 DIALOGUES IN LIMBO currency and triteness of the He will wear away its venom. they say the efficient cause is the warmth of the brooding hen yet this heat would not have hatched a chicken from a stone so that a second . imagine that the four principles (which they call causes) are all equally forces producing change. . . illusions have no place you wish to hear the unmentionable truth . condition. the nature of an egg . which are of divers colours . The ignorant. he said. Thus if a chicken is hatched. whereby lend to four rays. Accordingly in my published treatises I made no effort to pierce the illusion which custom has wedded with the words of the Philo- sopher and in a if but here alas. things first all one hue and then another without confusing or displacing anything. its chain now its to the right and now to the left . few words I will repeat it. must be invoked as well. and co-operative sources of natural things. . My . . any one of which in turn the revolving edifice of whereas wisdom would nature may be supported rather have likened those principles to the four rays of a lamp suspended in the midst of the universe from the finger of Allah. namely. the ignorant conceive these principles were the four quadrants of a wheel on . benefactor had entitled his profound work The Wheel of Ignorance and the Lamp of Knowbecause. on the contrary. . and turning on . pushing their wheel like the blind Samson. the Philosopher having ledge distinguished four principles in the understanding as if they of nature. which they call the formal cause.

and laboriously hatch an individual chicken. do they find these three influences sufficient to produce here and now this particular chicken. must operate as well . Nor. or the end in view. as they wisely observe. and would regard the four principles as mutually supplementary. and causing the mere eggness in that egg to assume the likeness of the animals this and from which it came. Thus these learned babblers would put nature together out other three of words. presiding over the hatching. boiling would drive away all Yet. that a third influence. which they call the final cause. but are compelled to add a fourth. remark gentle heat-in-general joined with the 5 essence-of-eggness would produce only hatchingso as-such. of forces their having it. probably lame and ridiculous despite so many sponsors.THE SECRET OF ARISTOTLE 183 the essence of eggness being precisely a capacity to be hatched when warmed gently because. a particular yolk and a particular shell and a particular farmyard. on which and in which the . the material cause namely. causes may work. guiding influence is the divine idea of a perfect cock or of a perfect hen. combining to produce natural things as if perfection could be one of the sources of imperfection. or as if the form which things happen to have could be one of the causes of interpretation . and not the hatching of a chicken . as they further potentiality of hatching. finally. Far differently do these four principles clarify the world when discretion conceives them as four .

Memory only can observe change or disclose when and where and under what auspices one thing has been transformed Into another. Thus the faculty that discerns . since It Is sense that brings instant assurance of material things and of our own The faculty that actuality in the midst of them* discerns essence is which notes and existence and (in so called logic or contemplation. like the tail of a comet. the only proper cause In the world only. defines the characters found In far as may be opportune or possible) the Innumerable characters also which are not found there. and whether in nature or in the spirit's dream . and bears the name of memory. would reveal the entire efficient principle. if its y . . have nothing to do with genesis or change. existence. is able to Illuminate the receding past. since they exist together. namely. the radical instability in existence by which everything Is compelled to produce someThe other three thing else without respite. the lamp revolves sweeps space in ray which. and harmony. but distinguish various properties of accomplished being namely. The rays by which these are revealed also have separate names. as a spiral fan. In themselves things harmony are always harmonious. existence is called sense. The faculty which discerns is called pleasure or desire or (when chastened by experience and made explicit In words) moral philosophy.184 rays shed DIALOGUES IN by the . principles. One light of an observing spirit. essence. memory ray could spread to the depths of the infinite. made visible by the three other rays.

. happiness. But the matter which exists and works is matter . and beauty and in another juxtaposition. of Knowledge revolves. and the wise heart. but as a guide to unknown facts it is perplexing and I am rather . as . and pure Being could neither contain nor produce any distinctions. misery. 185 and always discordant since they are always lapsing inwardly and destroying one another but the poignant desire to be and to be happy. and that the lost in Am other three principles are merely aspects which matter presents when viewed in one light or another ? Avicenna. which burns in the heart of every living creature turns these simple co-existences and changes into the travail of creation. the red ray of sense and the white ray of contemplation and the blue ray of memory and the green ray of love (for green. glowing in silence. Allegory has its charm when we know the facts it symbolizes. and death. is consumed with wonder and joy at the greatness of Allah. Matter ? If by that word you under- stand an essence. the Prophet teaches. no less unstable. in one juxtaposition of things finding life. is the colour of the beautiful) slowly sweep the whole heaven . . the essence of materiality. much less could it be the ground of its own form or of its own it impulses or transformations : like would be everywhere the same. matter would be something incapable of existing by itself.OF ARISTOTLE . The Stranger. finding Thus as the Lamp ugliness. stand that matter alone is substantial. I to underyour beautiful imagery.

Is The . the native impulse in matter. Avicenna. and not in magic. the body of nature in all its variety and motion. object of love it Is whatever passive and perhaps imaginary love happens to choose. But why did not a different and turn this hen's egg into a duckling.186 DIALOGUES IN . formed and unequally distributed. The Stranger. This Impulse in matter now towards one form and now towards another is what common power superstition calls the attraction or of the ideal. the object of love. same egg over the fresh-laid egg. as Idolatrous people imagine. and not. I see Tis love that makes the world go round. it Is spontaneous there simply the native plasticity by which matter continually changes Its forms. but powerless over the boiled. Is principle of genesis cause. by moving . since spirit Is . or the of love. Excellent. the soul of the world. save that here and now matter was predisposed to express the first idea and not the second ? And why was either Idea powerful ideal attract this matter. You are a believer In final cause. bears by courtesy the title of the object good. believe me when I tell you that the efficient automatism. prompted by an nnner disposition in its organ. Is the only anywhere and the one true ? . except that boiling had modified the arrangement of its matter ? Therefore my benefactor boldly concluded that this habit in matter which . If the cause. It and our own this matter has bred every living thing and the soul which animates . So taken matter is alive .

that has any self-knowledge has not discovered by experience In his own bosom as well as by observation of the heavens. There Indeed you touch the and I well conceive your heart-strings of nature . and of animals and men. Wisdom is not confined to the knowledge of origins or of this living body of nature things Important only for the sake of the good or evil which they Involve.OF ARISTOTLE Who 187 towards that object. and worthier of study and the types which . are often betrayed by their understanding of conscious of origins Into a sort of Inhumanity : a man. does not such an Interpretation entirely reverse his doctrine ? Did he not blame his predecessors for having regarded living matter as the only principle of the world ? Avicenna. necessity. discourse or estimation distinguishes in things are more important than the things themselves. is A philosopher should be the ordering of his Naturalists centre only can he survey the world. that the native impulse In each of us chooses Its goal. and changes it as we change and that nothing Is pursued by us or sensible to us save what we have the organ to discern. Innate compulsion and the fatal will to love ? The Stranger. or the ? . vibrates with so much truth. those early naturalists good and evil. And most justly. enthusiasm at finding at last a philosophy that But as for Aristotle. bestows that title upon It. The forms of things are nobler than their substance. and his first and last care soul from that . were at fault In . they grow callous to Moreover.

Admirable principle of exegesis y which assigns all truth to Aristotle and absolves us from consulting Ms works but is this truth to ! Avicenna.1 88 DIALOGUES IN own science. the places where his pen has slipped ? his inconsistencies ? haggle over his Why ponder them unceasTo count To note To words and make his name a synonym for his limitations ? Even. movement^ genesis habits. seeming to make nature a product of morals. and for their . accommodated himself to the exigences of current piety and of human conceit. because they identified matter their with some single kind of matter. If it is the truth. for that very reason^ and to we need to consult else read a philosopher ? ingly. be described rightly. if with some fleck or some crack. I agree that the converse is . which is absurd and . men. could be blind to so great a truth. it must have been Do you imagine that the wisest of his doctrine. and he was the greatest of naturalists are to Doubtless in his popular works he himself. when it is obvious to me and even to you ? The Stranger. and fertility of all sorts of matter must be taken into account if nature and the soul of nature . The Stranger. But the Philosopher never blamed the naturalists for being naturalists in season. like water or air. the converse truth evidently the truth. On the contrary. living at the place and hour when human reason reached its noon. is the be found in Aristotle ? Avicenna. and made that substance the sole principle of whereas the distribution. he Is a mirror reflecting nature and truth.

or from their own throats such music as these instruments were competent to make all other sorts of harmony. That is but a sickly fancy. then^ material principle ? in asserting that matter is the one principle of existence ? Avicenna. would this music have been purer. principle. Was it a slip of the limitation to assert that the divine life pen or a has no Must we not be wrong. When the plectrum. or could it have sounded at all. 189 because without sake only do we look Into him in the dungeon in which we lie s we this mirror. the hard dull blow is sometimes heard. Hermes and Pan and Orpheus drew from reeds or conches. In this way the material as well as the pure music. The Stranger. in the hand of an imperfect player. and no lute ? the Philosopher to little purpose. musicno less melodious. if you suppose that it is by accident only that the deity is the final cause of the world. In the mind of God no such material But accident intrudes. . no You have studied player. strikes the strings of the lute. might be cut off from all sight of the heavens. can disturb and alloy the spirit. and all is pure music. Not at all. if there had been no plectrum. no strings. and that without any revolution of the spheres the divine intellect would con- than it now does. when not fully vivified and harmonized. they suffered to remain ally . utterly divorced from The divine intellect is the perfect music science. which the world makes the perfect music which template itself no less blissfully ? it hears.THE OF . in a life that is not divine.

he was a much purer naturalist than his disciples have suspected.igo DIALOGUES IN LIMBO So the soul of this engulfed in primeval silence. Yet this conI : firmation creates a difficulty for you in another quarter. nature embodies. emitted by all nature and the rolling heavens if the heavens and nature had not existed. rolling The Stranger. These sources of sound. Not if we distinguish. world draws from its vast body the harmonies it can For it was not the essence yield and no others. eternally sustained . measured by its own measure of days and years. under the form of truth. of the sounds which conches and throats and reeds might produce that created these reeds and throats and conches. and admit that such is the heart of if he was never false to it. the world had a beginning and So revelation teaches. since a Moslem must deny the eternity of the world. eternity from endless time. : inevitable note. The Philosopher would never have so much as mentioned a divine intellect the . support this nature was the organ of deity. . and it is will have an end. interpretation and deity was the spirit of nature. and its fixed constitution. his doctrine. . as we should. the sounds they naturally make were chosen out of all other sounds to be the music of that particular Arcadia even so the divine intellect is the music of this It contemplates such forms as particular world. The eternity he attributed to the world. Avicenna. but contrariwise. as the divine intellect apprehends it but. The world is eternal. having arisen spontaneously.

and something within me My . anchored in time. nor does time occupy one part of it. with the divine be they few or many intellect which beholds the truth. empty time will continue change began empty time had preceded and it is a marvel to them how one moment of that vacant infinity could have been chosen rather than another for the dawn of creation. can neither arise nor lapse. Avicenna. Eternity is not empty or tedious. that before . . leaving the rest blank. suicide. likes to this world. and themselves not after . Is eternity the tomb of time. or . though the flux they tell of is fugitive. Have you read the Philosopher and do you ask such a question ? The vulgar imagine that when change ceases. . into the eternal world . is no more.OF ARISTOTLE 191 not by a feigned conformity that I accept this own time is over I have passed dogma. or. All this is but childish fancy and the false speech of poets. the secret life. And when nature will God have ceased to be ? and will expire at last. Thf Stranger. tells me that universal 9 nature also is growing weary of its cycles The Stranger. and who went does intellect resemble those Egyptian monarchs to dwell in their sepulchres before they died ? Ah. Eternity is but the synthesis of all changes and truth. They are immutable. Sometimes embalm itself in a by a rapturous work of art. we Christians and artists have a secret hidden from the children of of a happy death. though the first and the last syllable of time are graven on them as on a monument.

Hasten. and eternity why harp on them now. before It Is too late. the transitive virtue within you. Soon enough you must join us. and that Its life you that Allah and love are an this life emanation from him. indeed. or you of us there. the revolving world. and visions. whether you will or no. for in truth it Is the speak pulse of nature that creates the spirit and chooses you may few thoughts (among many thoughts unchosen) and a few perfections (among all the perfections unsought) to which it shall aspire and the Special harmony which this vast Instrument. they in inevitable parables . for spirit Is never keener than in the unflicker- Ing intellect of God. makes as it spins is the joy and the life of God. and death. they will not listen. We have no need of you here. Tombs. . since the poets are the less brothers In the earth . be It feeble or great for itis a portion of that yearning which fills the world with thought and with deity. . who can raise the whole or a part of the flux of nature Into the vision of truth. or in that of a philosopher like you or even like me. and be not deceived by the language which philosophers must needs borrow from the poets.i 92 DIALOGUES IN . the happiest death of all. Dishonour not then. or if fathers of speech. to your thriftAvicenna. and that quitting still live more joyfully elsewhere. Love a . when you are still alive ? Leave us while yet you may. When they tell made the world. as with a hum of bees. admonish your own heart. In a silent sacrifice also is a The breathlessness of thought kind of death.

THE SECRET OF ARISTOTLE peoples 193 even these regions with us melancholy . you would never have this wraith of found among the Shades even my wisdom. phantoms and had my body not moved and worked mightily on earth. THE ENH .

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