Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/240

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


fantastic game only, not having come in sight of humane and liberal interests. The barbarian’s intensity is without seriousness and his passion without joy. His philosophy, which means to glorify all experience and to digest all vice, is in truth an expression of pathetic innocence. It betrays a rudimentary impulse to follow every beckoning hand, to assume that no adventure and no bewitchment can be anything but glorious. Such an attitude is intelligible in one who has never seen anything worth seeing nor loved anything worth loving. Immaturity could go no farther than to acknowledge no limits defining will and happiness. When such limits, however, are gradually discovered and an authoritative ideal is born of the marriage of human nature with experience, happiness becomes at once definite and attainable; for adjustment is possible to a world that has a fruitful and intelligible structure.

Such incoherences, which might well arise in ages without traditions, may be preserved and fostered by superstition. Perpetual servile employments and subjection to an irrational society may render people incapable even of conceiving a liberal life. They may come to think their happiness no longer separable from their misery and to fear the large emptiness, as they deem it, of a happy world. Like the prisoner of Chillon, after so long a captivity, they would regain their freedom with a sigh. The wholesome influences of