Leibnitz's feeble grasp of reality is too obvious to need comment from me. It is evident that no realistic image of the experience of a damned soul had ever entered his mind. Nor had it occurred to him that the smaller is the number of 'samples' of the genus lost-soul whom God throws as a sop to the eternal fitness, the more unequitably grounded is the glory of the blest. What he gives us is a cold literary exercise, whose cheerful substance even hell-fire does not warm.
And do not tell me that to show the shallowness of rationalist philosophizing I have had to go back to a shallow wigpated age. The optimism of present-day rationalism sounds just as shallow to the fact-loving mind. The actual universe is a thing wide open, but rationalism makes systems, and systems must be closed. Perfection for men in practical life is something far off and still in process of achievement. This for rationalism is but the illusion of the finite and relative. The absolute ground of things is a perfection eternally complete.
I find a splendid example of revolt against the airy and shallow optimism of current religious philosophy in a publication of that valiant anarchistic writer Morison I. Swift. Mr. Swift's anarchism goes a little farther than mine does, but I confess that I sympathize a good deal, and some of you, I know, will sympathize heartily with his dissatisfaction with the idealistic optimisms now in vogue. He begins his pamphlet on 'Human Submission' with a series of city reporter's items from newspapers (suicides, deaths from starvation and the like) as specimens of our civilized régime. For instance: