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In those days it was possible for a Greek to flee from an over-abundant reality as though it were but the tricky scheming off the imagination-and to flee, not like Plato into the land of eternal ideas, into the workshop off the world-creator, feasting one's eyes on the unblemished unbreakable archetypes, but into the rigor mortis off the coldest emptiest concept off all, the concept of being.
Everyone's childhood plays itself out. No wonder no one knows the other or can completely understand. By this I don't know if I'm just giving up with this conclusion or resigning myself - or maybe for the first time connecting with reality. How do we know the pain or another's earlier years, let alone all that he drags with him since along the way at best a lot of leeway is needed for the other - yet how much is unhealthy for one to bear. I think to love bravely is the best and accept - as much as one can bear.
And, moreover, when it happens that both are sincere and good, nothing will mix and amalgamate more easily than an old priest and an old soldier. In reality, they are the same kind of man. One has devoted himself to country upon earth, the other to his country in heaven; there is no other difference.
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose that you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? … Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.
'Europe' in anything other than the geographical sense is a wholly artificial construct. It makes no sense at all to lump together Beethoven and Debussy, Voltaire and Burke, Vermeer and Picasso, Notre Dame and St Paul's, boiled beef and bouillabaisse, and portray them as elements of a 'European' musical, philosophical, artistic, architectural or gastronomic reality. If Europe charms us, as it has so often charmed me, it is precisely because of its contrasts and contradictions, not its coherence and continuity.
Speak as you think, be what you are, pay your debts of all kinds. I prefer to be owned as sound and solvent, and my word as good as my bond, and to be what cannot be skipped, or dissipated, or undermined, to all the eclat in the universe. This reality is the foundation of friendship, religion, poetry, and art.
The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. … But this story has entered History and the primary world; … It has pre-eminently the "inner consistency of reality." There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation.... this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men — and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused.
Whenever a person strives, by the help of dialectic, to start in pursuit of every reality by a simple process of reason, independent of all sensuous information - never flinching, until by an act of the pure intelligence he has grasped the real nature of good - he arrives at the very end of the intellectual world.
Our conviction that the world is meaningless is due in part to the fact (discussed in a later paragraph) that the philosophy of meaningless lends itself very effectively to furthering the ends of political and erotic passion; in part to a genuine intellectual error - the error of identifying the world of science, a world from which all meaning has deliberately been excluded, with ultimate reality.