The truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Every contribution to human progress on record has been made by some individual who differed sharply from the general, and was thus, almost, superior to the general. Perhaps the palpably insane must be excepted here, but I can think of no others. Such exceptional individuals should be permitted, it seems to me, to enjoy every advantage that goes with their superiority... The rest are as negligible as the race of cockroaches, who have gone unchanged for a million years.
College football would be much more interesting if the faculty played instead of the students, and even more interesting if the trustees played. There would be a great increase in broken arms, legs, and necks, and simultaneously an appreciable diminution in the loss of humanity.
The seasick passenger on an ocean liner detests the good sailor who stalks past him 265 times a day grandly smoking a large, greasy cigar. In precisely the same way the democrat hates the man who is having a better time in the world. This is the origin of democracy. It is also the origin of Puritanism.
The scientific impulse seems to me to be the very opposite of the religious impulse. When a man seeks knowledge he is trying to gain means of fighting his own way in the world, but when he prays he confesses that he is unable to do so. .... The feeling of abasement, of incapacity, is inseparable from the religious impulse, but against that feeling all exact knowledge makes war. The efficient man does not cry out "Save me, O God". On the contrary, he makes diligent efforts to save himself. But suppose he fails? Doesn't he throw himself, in the end, on the mercy of the gods? Not at all. He accepts his fate with philosophy, buoyed up by the consciousness that he has done his best. Irreligion, in a word, teaches men how to die with dignity, just as it teaches them how to live with dignity.
Monogamy, in brief, kills passion -- and passion is the most dangerous of all the surviving enemies to what we call civilization, which is based upon order, decorum, restraint, formality, industry, regimentation. The civilized man -- the ideal civilized man -- is simply one who never sacrifices the common security to his private passions. He reaches perfection when he even ceases to love passionately -- when he reduces the most profound of all his instinctive experiences from the level of an ecstasy to the level of a mere device for replenishing the armies and workshops of the world, keeping clothes in repair, reducing the infant death-rate, providing enough tenants for every landlord, and making it possible for the Polizei to know where every citizen is at any hour of the day or night. Monogamy accomplishes this, not by producing satiety, but by destroying appetite. It makes passion formal and uninspiring, and so gradually kills it.
The believing mind reaches its perihelion in the so-called liberals. They believe in each and every quack who sets up his booth on the fair-grounds, including the Communists. The Communists have some talents too, but they always fall short of believing in the liberals.
Action and speech go on between men, as they are directed toward them, and they retain their agent-revealing capacity even if their content is exclusively ?objective,? concerned with the matters of the world of things in which men move, which physically lies between them and out of which arise their specific, objective worldly interests.