Page:Path of Vision; pocket essays of East and West.djvu/43

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THE HIGHEST IDEAL

often attained. But no defeat is richer in new possibilities than this of the spirit fighting for the spiritual ideal. And although no complete victory is often attained, socially conceived, materially considered, there is no such thing in it as complete failure. By a happy dispensation, every one is an object of comfort or of envy to his fellow men. No one is ever low enough, however baldly material he might be, or high enough, however spiritual he might become, to be alone. The ideal itself saves us from this dreary distinction. For we all find some one below us or above us—in most cases below and above us—to afford us a satisfaction and an incentive—to make the arduous ascent a pleasant jaunt. If the working man and the labor leader, the capitalist and the politician all recognized this truth and espoused the ideal it connotes, the social and industrial problems of the times would not seem so hopelessly insoluble, without general strikes and revolutions. For legislation alone is, after all, only a form of

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