Page:Georges Sorel, Reflections On Violence (1915).djvu/18

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4
REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE

for practical life. A student has more confidence in the formulas which he is taught, and consequently retains them more easily, when he believes that they are accepted by the great majority; in this way all metaphysical preoccupations are removed from his mind and he is to feel no need for a personal conception of things; he often comes to look on the absence of any inventive spirit as a superiority.

My own method of work is entirely opposed to this; for I put before my readers the working of a mental effort which is continually endeavouring to break through the bonds of what has been previously constructed for common use, in order to discover that which is truly personal and individual. The only things I find it worth while entering in my notebooks are those which I have not met elsewhere; I readily skip the transitions between these things, because they nearly always come under the heading of commonplaces.

The communication of thought is always very difficult for any one who has strong metaphysical preoccupations; he thinks that speech will spoil the most fundamental parts of his thought, those which are very near to the motive power of the mind, those which appear so natural to him that he never seeks to express them. A reader has great difficulty in grasping the thought of an inventor, because he can only attain it by finding again the path traversed by the latter. Verbal communication is much easier than written communication, because words act on the feelings in a mysterious way and easily establish a current of sympathy between people; it is for this reason that an orator is able to produce conviction by arguments which do not seem very comprehensible to any one reading the speech later. You know how useful it is to have heard Bergson if one wants to recognise clearly the tendencies of his doctrine and to understand his books rightly. When one has followed his courses