Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/261

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Thus it appears that the great figures of art or religion, together with all historic and imaginative ideals, advance insensibly on the values they represent. The image has more lustre than the original, and is often the more important and influential fact. Things are esteemed as they weigh in representation. A memorable thing, people say in their eulogies, little thinking to touch the ground of their praise. For things are called great because they are memorable, they are not remembered because they were great. The deepest pangs, the highest joys, the widest influences are lost to apperception in its haste, and if in some rational moment reconstructed and acknowledged, are soon forgotten again and cut off from living consideration. But the emptiest experience, even the most pernicious tendency, if embodied in a picturesque image, if reverberating in the mind with a pleasant echo, is idolised and enshrined. Fortunate indeed was Achilles that Homer sang of him, and fortunate the poets that make a public titillation out of their sorrows and ignorance. This imputed and posthumous fortune is the only happiness they have. The favours of memory are extended to those feeble realities and denied to the massive substance of daily experience. When life dies, when what was present becomes a memory, its ghost flits still among the living, feared or worshipped not for the experience it once possessed but for the aspect it now wears. Yet this injustice in representation, speculatively