Another curious aspect of this degenerate culture was that, along with ‘the unconscious’, reason was deified; and this in spite of the bitter condemnation of the exercise of free intelligence. But sacred reason was nothing whatever like ordinary human reasoning. It was the occult rationality of the universe, forever inaccessible to man. Everything, it was said, had in the divine view its reason. Everything followed necessarily from the divine reason. In the human sphere free intelligence was an impious attempt to probe the divine reason. The true scope for man’s own divine spark of reason was not in the free exercise of intelligence but in the pious and unquestioning study of the metaphysical arguments of the inspired scriptures.
I know no more disagreeable trouble into which an author may plunge himself than of a quarrel with his critics, or any more useless labour than that of answering them. It is wise to presume, at any rate, that the reviewer has simply done his duty, and has spoken of the book according to the dictates of his conscience. Nothing can be gained by combating the reviewer’s opinion. If the book which he has disparaged be good, his judgment will be condemned by the praise of others; if bad, his judgment will he confirmed by others. Or if, unfortunately, the criticism of the day be in so evil a condition generally that such ultimate truth cannot be expected, the author may be sure that his efforts made on behalf of his own book will not set matters right. If injustice be done him, let him bear it. To do so is consonant with the dignity of the position which he ought to assume. To shriek, and scream, and sputter, to threaten actions, and to swear about the town that he has been belied and defamed in that he has been accused of bad grammar or a false metaphor, of a dull chapter, or even of a borrowed heroine, will leave on the minds of the public nothing but a sense of irritated impotence.
I think that I may say with truth that I rode hard to my end.
Winter came, and the Ama had to stay ashore and turn their hands to mending nets and boats and working on the smallholdings on the mountain side, and Bond came back into the house and made himself useful with carpentry and odd jobs and with learning Japanese from Kissy. The glazed look went from his eyes, but they remained remote and faraway and every night he was puzzled by dreams of a quite different world of white people and big cities and half-remembered faces. But Kissy assured him that these were just nightmares such as she had, and that they had no meaning, and gradually Bond came to accept the little stone-and-wood house and the endless horizon of sea as his finite world. Kissy was careful to keep him away from the south coast of the island, and dreaded the day when fishing would begin again at the end of May and he would see the great black wall across the straits and memory might come flooding back.
But that was just the beginning. Because the better you are at breathing, David quickly realized,the better you are at—“Running? You’re saying humans evolved to go running?”
The twofold aim of the forwards was to explore the highest capacities of the human spirit and to impart their findings to the world. They were very widely respected, but not universally. There were some intellectuals of sceptical temper and also some hard-headed men of affairs who regarded the whole enterprise of the forwards as futile. These critics pointed out that in the perfecting of society and the raising of average intelligence and the endless developing of intellectual culture the race would be able to occupy itself fully for centuries to come, and probably for ever. There was no need, they said, to peer into the black fog of mystery.
'We are young and inexperienced, aunt, I know,' I replied; 'and I dare say we say and think a good deal that is rather foolish. But we love one another truly, I am sure. If I thought Dora could ever love anybody else, or cease to love me; or that I could ever love anybody else, or cease to love her; I don't know what I should do - go out of my mind, I think!'