The so-called inseparable cohesions of national interests vanish away as soon as you draw near to examine them. There are individual interests and a general interest, those two only. When you say "I," it means "I"; when you say "We," it means Man. So long as a single and identical Republic does not cover the world, all national liberations can only be beginnings and signals!
Socially, women are the equals of men, without restrictions. The beings who shine and who bring forth are not made solely to lend or to give the heat of their bodies. It is right that the sum total of work should be shared, reduced and harmonized by their hands. It is just that the fate of humanity should be grounded also in the strength of women.
I do not regret my youth and its beliefs. Up to now, I have wasted my time to live. Youth is the true force, but it is too rarely lucid. Sometimes it has a triumphant liking for what is now, and the pugnacious broadside of paradox may please it. But there is a degree in innovation which they who have not lived very much cannot attain. And yet who knows if the stern greatness of present events will not have educated and aged the generation which to-day forms humanity's effective frontier? Whatever our hope may be, if we did not place it in youth, where should we place it?
The eye is lost in all directions among the desolation where the multitude of men and women are hiding, as always and as everywhere. That is what is. Who will say, "That is what must be!" I have searched, I have indistinctly seen, I have doubted. Now, I hope.
I am not slighting intellect; but life is common to us along with poorer living things than ourselves. He who kills an animal, however lowly it may be, unless there is necessity, is an assassin.
Ah, there are cloudy moments when one asks himself if men do not deserve all the disasters into which they rush! No I recover myself they do not deserve them. But we, instead of saying "I wish" must say "I will." And what we will, we must will to build it, with order, with method, beginning at the beginning, when once we have been as far as that beginning. We must not only open our eyes, but our arms, our wings.
Tradition reigns, the gospel of the blind adoration of what was and what is God without a head. Man's destiny is eternally blockaded by two forms of tradition; in time, by hereditary succession; in space, by frontiers, and thus it is crushed and annihilated in detail. It is the truth. I am certain of it, for I am touching it.
We hear talk of sanctified selfishness, of the adorable expansion of one race across the others, of noble hatreds and glorious conquests, and we see these ideals trying to take shape on all hands.
There must be justice, not charity. Kindness is solitary. Compassion becomes one with him whom we pity; it allows us to fathom him, to understand him alone amongst the rest; but it blurs and befogs the laws of the whole. I must set off with a clear idea, like the beam of a lighthouse through the deformities and temptations of night.
My spirit is no longer what it was. Vaguely I seek, everywhere. I must see things with all their consequences, and right to their source. Against all the chains of facts I must have long arguments to bring; and the world's chaos requires an interpretation equally terrible.
We do not speak. We have gone down along the side of the river slowly, as if we were climbing towards the stone seat of the wall. The distances have altered. This seat, for instance, we meet it sooner than we thought we should, like some one in the dark; but it is the seat all right. The rose-tree which grew above it has withered away and become a crown of thorns.
Instinctively we both looked for the inscriptions we cut, once upon a time, on trees and on stones, in foolish delight. We sought them like scattered treasure, on the strange cheeks of the old willows, near the tendrils of the fall, on the birches that stand like candles in front of the violet thicket, and on the old fir which so often sheltered us with its dark wings. Many inscriptions have disappeared. Some are worn away because things do; some are covered by a host of other inscriptions or they are distorted and ugly. Nearly all have passed on as if they had been passers-by.
I went to sleep in Chaos, and then I awoke like the first man.
She is one with me. Love it comes back to me. Love is an unhappy man and unhappy woman. I awake uttering the feeble cry of the babe new-born.
I my heart a gaping heart, enthroned in a radiance of blood. It is mine, it is ours. The heart that wound which we have. I have compassion on myself.