For God's sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself! As for the others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the farce be over.
The reward of the adventure of life is freedom. The irony of the adventure is that we were free before we set out, but we needed to learn that freedom was not to be found where we fantasized it to be. We needed to learn, like our old friend Dorothy from Kansas, that there’s no place like home, because there is no place but Home. When we learn that God is everywhere, that Love fills all space, and that Truth is the very Ground of our Being, we may surely release the little to embrace the All.
Redemption, eternal life, divinity, humanity, propitiation, incarnation, judgment, Satan, heaven and hell—all these beliefs have been so materialized and coarsened, that with a strange irony they present to us the spectacle of things having a profound meaning and yet carnally interpreted. Christian boldness and Christian liberty must be reconquered; it is the church which is heretical, the church whose sight is troubled and her heart timid. Whether we will or no, there is an esoteric doctrine, there is a relative revelation; each man enters into God so much as God enters into him, or as Angelus, I think, said, "the eye by which I see God is the same eye by which He sees me."
Or, to go a step further, let us glance at what science has done to establish rational foundations for physical and moral health. Science tells us how we ought to live in order to preserve the health of our own bodies, how to maintain in good conditions of existence the crowded masses of our population. But does not all the vast amount of work done in these two directions remain a dead letter in our books? We know it does. And why? Because science today exists only for a handful of privileged persons, because social inequality which divides society into two classes — the wage-slaves and the grabbers of capital-renders all its teachings as to the conditions of a rational existence only the bitterest irony to nine-tenths of mankind.
It is no small irony that in the age of ‘technological man’ people actually play a greater role in ecosystems than ever. For example, H. sapiens has long been the most successful terrestrial carnivore ever to have walked the earth and, during the 20th Century, humans became the most voracious predator in the world’s oceans. Remarkably, considering our unchallenged status as top carnivore, we are also the dominant herbivore in grasslands and forests all over the planet, particularly if we consider the demands of ‘industrial metabolism’ (Rees 2003a, Fowler and Hobbs 2003). And human impacts transcend biology, earth scientists assert that economic activity has become the most significant geological force altering the face of the planet and climatologists agree that we are now actually beginning to affect global climate.
The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity. The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner. But they do have friendliness. Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.