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merely re-stated experiment, a copied document, results only in worthless repetition. IV Like other philosophers, Mr. Bertrand Russell has pointed out that war gives long-desired opportunities to long-suppressed instincts. Of course. But first and foremost it gives to mediocre personalities an opportunity to increase their volume and weight by uniting till all sense of mediocrity is lost. L'union fait la force: a crowd feels strong, it often is strong; and what is more to the point a crowd feels safe. It must be an entrancing experience to find oneself doing, once in a way, what all one's life one has been afraid of doing in company, and sometimes ashamed, let alone unable to do, by one's self: to kill, to lynch, nay, merely to bawl down or out-vote. The kind of persons one may call by the title of Dostoievsky's novel Humilieset Offenses, though humiliated and offended, not so much by social as by natural, inferiority, must have the time of their life, their Faust moment, when they can thus crush with comparatively little moral effort some one or some opinion they would perchance have run away from in ordinary life. By the magic of numbers, War undoubtedly makes Heroes and Religious Revivals make Saints. But what the poor world of reality really requires is heroes who can be heroic, and saints who can be saintly, on their own account, without a crowd to back them. War, like religion, affords a much-needed satisfaction of the desire to feel oneself in the right, which is one of the strongest though the least noticed of human vital instincts. To feel oneself in the right means an attitude, a particular gait and deportment, a whole way of being. It is probably as conducive to good circulation and digestion as these are obviously conducive to good opinion of ourselves. To feel oneself in the right means that one has standing room, that one stretches into the infinite instead of being squashed into a corner. Now, many individuals have no special reason for this feeling; and if they indulge in it none the less, they are apt to pay dearly for this indulgence at the hands of their neighbours' similar desire to feel in the right. And when what you feel right about is a collective opinion or an attitude shared by your neighbours against a more or less distant and partly imaginary opponent, you can expand without fear, you can stand on your rights as a man. Or more properly: you can, in a different sense of the word, trample upon the rights of some man who does not happen to form part of that crowd. Esprit de corps is the least altruistic and occasionally the least courageous of all spirits, though it enables men to do, and to do without, much whereof they would be unable if set down by their lone selves. The Drum is so justly popular an instrument not only because it helps you to march and even to attack, but also because it helps you to hold up your head, to stiffen your back and to strut. April, 1916. Before putting the Drum back on its stand, let me add that, on second thoughts, however useful an occasional bona fide hero or saint, what the poor real world really wants is not anything so exceptional or so suited to only exceptional circumstances. The world wants a social habit of certain kinds of behaviour, a habit organized by being collective and traditional, but per- fjetually questioned, checked, renovated, given a new lease of ife, by individual and reciprocal criticism. We want habits made easy and firm by automatism but at the same time accepted voluntarily and with benefit of inventory and running the gauntlet of conscious criticism. We want a fiddle made of varied, select and well-fitted bits of wood whose fibres have been tempered by age and much good playing; a fiddle which must, at whatever cost of delay and trouble, be tuned afresh each time. We have got, or ought to be getting, beyond the use of the Drum, save for the occasional making of mock thunder in the overtures to operas. April, 1916. INDIGNATION This is a majestic passion as well as one which doubtless has its use. But it is not—how express my thoughts without being cynical ?—it is not majestic all over and right through. Indignation, splendidly wrathful like young Achilles, has a vulnerable heel through which meanness can poison it. It can be petty because it is partisan. It wants to launch out, its very nature is launching out, punishing, devastating. Hence it can never afford to be fair; never listen to the other side, for that would stay its hand, hinder its full angelic swoop. And in its swoops and strides, in the vast execution which it does, it accumulates the objects of its wrath. The bigger the heap, the better; the larger the mass of conflagration, the more superb the purifying flames. Unknown to itself, Indignation requires adequate guilt, and piles it up, eking out scantiness of evil with credulity. For Indignation is not only a passion, like every passion, concentrated on itself; Indignation (let us admit and try to remember this depressing truth!)—Indignation is a passion which enjoys itself. I have dared to apply to Indignation what must seem, I am afraid, an almost profane adjective, namely pettiness. Yet no one can deny that Indignation almost invariably leaves off in the very place where charity is said to begin, at home, or with one's friends and allies. Indeed with one's own self. In the most magnificent of all records of Indignation, that of Jehovah, the cause of these cosmic fires is always indignation at his own commandments being disobeyed, his own gifts and position receiving less recognition than they deserved. The unpardonable offence is "going a-whoring" after other Gods. "I am a jealous God" he frequently insists, and acts up to the character. February, 1919. PITY It is her close kinship to Indignation which at times makes Pity dangerous. But for that flaming twin dragging her along on devastating pinions, Pity might transform into the very thing which Indignation dislikes most, namely Sympathy, itself in turn metamorphosing into Comprehension, and thence into True Justice, the Justice which, so far from being blindfold, sees, scrutinizes, and discriminates. Most often, as already hinted, Indignation drags Pity along, prevents that beneficent double transformation, and makes Pity pitiless.
"Ye are going forth, 0 Nations, to join in Death's dance even as candid highhearted Virgins who have been decoyed by fair show into the house of prostitution. . . . "—p. 45. I We know from the Parable that Virgins are not invariably wise. And it seems likely that calamities worse than missing a sight of the Bridegroom would befall rather the foolish than the wise ones. Or, when the Virgins stand for Nations, rather those entrusted to foolish guardians; since Virgins of this kind (and self-governing nations no more than those under the thumb of despots) are not allowed the degree of freedom enjoyed by the present younger generation and seemingly by those scriptural bride's-maids, but are in the position rather of the old-fashioned heroine of romance looked after by some disastrously silly parent, or even chaperoned, like Goethe's Gretchen, by a self-seeking pseudo-pious Martha helping to entangle them (for surely the Entente Cordiale authorizes reference to a French classic ?) in Liaisons Dangereuses. Nations are nowadays as Virgins were in Clarissa's day: they are not encouraged to know certain things; their innocence is ignorance; they are foolish Virgins bred up and led about by foolish though often cunning guardians; whence in the present instance the misadventure described by my Puppet Satan. If the Nations, all and sundry, were not more given to laying blame upon one another, they might say like Gretchen, "Und alles was dazu mich trieb, ach, war so gut! ach war so lieb." And doubtless, even as the voice of the Eternal answered for the poor heroine when Mephistopheles exultingly cried out: "Sie ist gerichtet," so likewise, the Eternities will say of everyone of these present Nations chorus peccatorum: "Sie ist gerettet." Absolved assuredly in the life of memory; but alas, not saved, any more than Gretchen, from the crime, the torture and the shame upon earth. What sentence, or what absolution, will be the lot of those grave and reverend seniors who allowed, or encouraged, the downfall of those poor foolish Virgins dancing in Satan's Ballet? Surely on them also, though in less pitying accents, and certainly with no future glory as compensation, will be pronounced a "not guilty." Since we must not deem it guilt on the part of those believing themselves, because others believe them, wise, if they prove as foolish as their victims. Still there is a difference. The poor virgins knew themselves to be ignorant of the world and its ways, whence indeed their trust in such untrustworthy guardians; whereas those guardians plumed themselves upon, sometimes trafficked in, the wisdom, the experience, the foresight which they lacked. That is why (as Romain Rolland has suggested) our guides and guardians, moralists, philosophers, priests, journalists, as much as persons in office, stand to cut a sorry figure before posterity, singling out, as they do, one of themselves, e.g., the deposed and defeated Kaiser, as most convenient for hanging, but with no thought for some quiet Potter's Field suicide for themselves. Heaven forbid such a thought! The pachydermatous ones go on as heretofore, splash and tumble, rearing (scripturally) their rhinoceros horn. Those thinner-skinned and clearer-sighted no longer deny that however incommensurable the enemy's guilt, yet the ways even of the Nations confided to their guidance do show seamy sides: inordinate greediness, furtive paying of blackmail, sharp practice, and rather disgusting symptoms of victory—let alone intoxication; horrible affairs, famine and anarchy in the future and already the present. Being thus distressed in their good taste and good feeling, these sensitive and sadeyed among (at least) this Nation's guardians, have made and duly published a dreadful yet not inconvenient discovery: that this war now barely over is not the war they wisely and virtuously inaugurated those four od long years ago. Its character has become debased, its motives and manners horribly transformed. Fighting (they point out) cannot fail to brutalize the best of us, particularly when the Enemy is a brute to begin with. Fighting is, after all, a form of contact, and we know you cannot touch pitch without being denied. Also the imperative need of rapid, secret action, above all of absolute unanimity, puts an end (temporarily let us hope !) to self-government and self-criticism; and those T