Page:Tyranny of Shams (1916).djvu/32
THE TYRANNY OF SHAMS
classical answers, commends itself. We want more — we want as much as possible — culture, character, happiness, pleasure, and efficiency. We want a quicker and fuller development of man’s highest and richest resources. But, if you look closely into it, there is one ultimate and commanding element in this broad ideal. It is happiness. Culture is a necessity of the race and luxury of the few. Character is supremely important, but you have now to prove to men that it is important. We do not bow any longer to arbitrary commands and categorical imperatives and Stoic laws. We have to be convinced that the cultivation of a high type of character will lessen suffering and brighten the earth. Pleasure, again, is, as Epicurus insisted, only a part of a large ideal of happiness. There is, in fact, no ground on which you can appeal to the mass of men to-day in favour of cultivation or idealism except this ground that it makes for greater happiness: and on that ground you may safely appeal to the whole race.
Sometimes, when you ascend the slopes of a range of hills, — the idea occurred to me during a walk from Chamonix to Montanvert, — the mists close round you, and the guiding peaks and contours are lost. Then, perhaps, some point breaks through the clouds, and you stride on confidently. This must apply to the most sceptical or nebulous mind of our generation. The old dream of a cooperative effort to improve life, to bring happiness to as many minds of mortals as we can reach,