Page:Path of Vision; pocket essays of East and West.djvu/13

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WEAK and oppressed nations are fundamentally spiritual; strong nations are, as a rule, chiefly materialistic. The one, cherishing religious ideals, soars to certain spiritual heights and now and then produces a seer to justify its languor and indolence; the other, seeking material things, bores into the earth for its treasures and keeps going down, down till its dynamic forces reach an impenetrable sterility and explode in a sudden, terrible reaction. The life of such a nation is symptomatic of a diseased state of the soul. The life of the other undermines, to say the least, its physical strength. The dwarfing tendency is equally potent in both. But a nation without a soul is more grotesque, more hideous than a nation of ascetics.

It is not my purpose to startle and provoke the reader with sweeping generalities, or to bamboozle him with dogmas old in garments new. The foregoing paragraph imposes, therefore, the necessity of a little