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Oh, dearest, if that had happened, the light would have gone out
Before parting with the Poetics we must add that it contains one excellent piece of advice to dramatists, which is, to imagine themselves present at the scenes which they are supposing to happen, and also at the representation of their own play. This, however, is an exception which proves the rule, for Aristotles exclusively theoretic standpoint here, as will sometimes happen, coincides with the truly practical standpoint.I went up to them and explained that there was no need at all to be afraid of me. They were able to give me news of the inhabitants of Villa Rustica. The owner had died a few days since, from a paralytic stroke, brought on by the emotions caused by the German horrors, whereas madame, who had heroically intervened on behalf of some victims, was probably at St. Hadelin College.
From the time of Socrates on, the majority of Greeks, had they been asked what was the ultimate object of endeavour, or what made life worth living, would have answered, pleasure. But among professional philosophers such a definition of the60 supreme good met with little favour. Seeing very clearly that the standard of conduct must be social, and convinced that it must at the same time include the highest good of the individual, they found it impossible to believe that the two could be reconciled by encouraging each citizen in the unrestricted pursuit of his own private gratifications. Nor had such an idea as the greatest happiness of the greatest number ever risen above their horizon; although, from the necessities of life itself, they unconsciously assumed it in all their political discussions. The desire for pleasure was, however, too powerful a motive to be safely disregarded. Accordingly we find Socrates frequently appealing to it when no other argument was likely to be equally efficacious, Plato striving to make the private satisfaction of his citizens coincide with the demands of public duty, and Aristotle maintaining that this coincidence must spontaneously result from the consolidation of moral habits; the true test of a virtuous disposition being, in his opinion, the pleasure which accompanies its exercise. One of the companions of Socrates, Aristippus the Cyrenaean, a man who had cut himself loose from every political and domestic obligation, and who was remarkable for the versatility with which he adapted himself to the most varying circumstances, went still further. He boldly declared that pleasure was the sole end worth seeking, and on the strength of this doctrine came forward as the founder of a new philosophical school. According to his system, the summum bonum was not the total amount of enjoyment secured in a lifetime, but the greatest single enjoyment that could be secured at any moment; and this principle was associated with an idealistic theory of perception, apparently suggested by Protagoras, but carrying his views much further. Our knowledge, said Aristippus, is strictly limited to phenomena; we are conscious of nothing beyond our own feelings; and we have no right to assume the existence of any objects by which they are caused. The study of natural61 science is therefore waste of time; our whole energies should be devoted to the interests of practical life.123 Thus Greek humanism seemed to have found its appropriate sequel in hedonism, which, as an ethical theory, might quote in its favour both the dictates of immediate feeling and the sanction of public opinion.A distant noise of tom-tomsbig drums thumping out minims in the bass, small ones rattling out semiquavers in very short, sharp notes; and to this accompaniment came the sharp trill of a metal flute. The music came nearer at a brisk pace, heralded by two tall baggage camels, a rare sight in Benares, where the streets are so narrow and straight, and only foot passengers are to be seen. Then followed saddle-horses, led by hand, and a large number of men on foot, and after an interval there appeared a band, atrociously out of tune, immediately in front of a palankin hung with a shawl embroidered all over in palms of different shades of gold and beads. In this sat a little bridegroom of eight, dressed in pale yellow satin, a wreath of marigolds round his neck, and above his turban a cap made of jasmine, the ends hanging all round his heada little bridegroom, eight years old, very solemn, sitting cross-legged with a huge bouquet in his hand, and facing him his two little brothers in white silk and necklaces of jasmine.
The streets were hung with gaudy flags and[Pg 135] coloured paper. Altars had been erected, four poles supporting an awning with flounces of bright-coloured silk, and under them a quantity of idols, of vases filled with amaryllis and roses, and even dainty little Dresden figuresexquisite curtseying Marquises, quite out of their element among writhing Vishnus and Kalis.
Dear Daddy,A marble balustrade, of flowing design and astounding delicacy, exquisitely harmonious and artistic, encloses the white sarcophagus, which is inlaid with mindi and basilic flowers in costly agate, linked by inscriptions looking like lacings of narrow black braid. This balustrade alone, in the Taj, under the marble pile which forms the tomb of the empress, and on which 20,000 craftsmen laboured for twenty years, would, in its indescribable beauty of workmanship, have amply fulfilled Shah Jehan's vow.
It was by that somewhat slow and circuitous process, the negation of a negation, that spiritualism was finally established. The shadows of doubt gathered still more thickly around futurity before another attempt could be made to remove them. For the scepticism of the Humanists and the ethical dialectic of Socrates, if they tended to weaken the dogmatic materialism of physical philosophy, were at first238 not more favourable to the new faith which that philosophy had suddenly eclipsed. For the one rejected every kind of supernaturalism; and the other did not attempt to go behind what had been directly revealed by the gods, or was discoverable from an examination of their handiwork. Nevertheless, the new enquiries, with their exclusively subjective direction, paved the way for a return to the religious development previously in progress. By leading men to think of mind as, above all, a principle of knowledge and deliberate action, they altogether freed it from those material associations which brought it under the laws of external Nature, where every finite existence was destined, sooner or later, to be reabsorbed and to disappear. The position was completely reversed when Nature was, as it were, brought up before the bar of Mind to have her constitution determined or her very existence denied by that supreme tribunal. If the subjective idealism of Protagoras and Gorgias made for spiritualism, so also did the teleological religion of Socrates. It was impossible to assert the priority and superiority of mind to matter more strongly than by teaching that a designing intelligence had created the whole visible universe for the exclusive enjoyment of man. The infinite without was in its turn absorbed by the infinite within. Finally, the logical method of Socrates contained in itself the germs of a still subtler spiritualism which Plato now proceeded to work out.However, the King soon began to yield.