Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/830
8 io THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
It must be considered, therefore, as certain that to some minds a philosophy which sets the happiness of self and others as a worthy- end must appear unworthy. Such minds find something pig-like in the desire to see the happiness of the world increased. Yet grunting and groaning are at least as characteristic of the porcine race as any desire to increase the comfort of their fellow-creatures or even their own. Mr. Herbert Spencer's lightsome pleasure-doctrine, the essence of which is that we should strive to diminish pain and sorrow (our own included) and to increase joy and happiness, is less suggestive of porcine ways (at least to those who have noted what such ways are) than for instance the following cheerful address to Man : " Despicable biped ! what is the sum total of the worst that lies be- fore thee ? Death ? Well, Death ; and say the pangs of Tophet, too, and all that the Devil and Man may, will, or can do against thee ! Hast thou not a heart ; canst thou not suffer whatsoever it be ; and, as a Child of Freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under thy feet, while it consumes thee ? " Were this but stern resolution to endure patiently, and even cheerfully, such sorrows as befall man, it were well. Nay, it would fall in with the philosophy of happiness, which enjoins that for their own sake as for the sake of those around them men should bear as lightly as they may their burden of inevitable sorrow. But what Carlyle calls the New-birth or Ba- phometic Fire-baptism is not Patience but Indignation and Defiance. This is the veritable Pig-philosophy : the " Everlasting No " (das ewige Nein) is in truth the Everlasting Grunt of dyspeptic disgust, the constant Oh-Goroo-Goroo of a jaundiced soul.
Are the teachings of living professors of the Everlasting Groan school brighter than those of the gloomy Scotsman ? Here are some of the latest utterings of the chief among them : " Loss of life ! " exclaims Mr. Ruskin, cheerfully. " By the ship overwhelmed in the river, shattered on the sea ; by the mine's blast, the earthquake's burial you mourn for the multitude slain. You cheer the life-boat's crew ; you: hear with praise and joy the rescue of one still breathing body more at the pit's mouth ; and all the while, for one soul that is saved from the momentary passing away (according to your creed, to be with its God), the lost souls yet locked in their polluted flesh haunt, with worse than ghosts, the shadows of your churches and the corners of your streets ; and your weary children watch, with no memory of Jerusalem, and no hope of return from their captivity, the weltering to the sea of your Waters of Babylon." Oh! Goroo ! Goroo-oo !
Any philosophy which hopes for other than misery and disgust in life must indeed seem strange doctrine to teachers such as these even as the smiles of the cheerful seem unmeaning and offensive to those whose souls are overcast with gloom and discontent. Sir Walter Scott tells a story of his childhood which well illustrates the unreason-