There are many men who lack a certain sense of awe and grandeur at the inscrutable workings of Nature. They are apt to favor crank theories instead of considered judgments; and they recline in negativity and pessimism when the time comes for them to perform in the face of adversity. They lack faith in the ability of the human soul to accomplish truly great things, because they themselves have no awareness of the capacities of that divine soul.Continue reading
There is an allegorical short story written by H.G. Wells entitled The Apple. Several men in a “third-class carriage on a Sussex railway,” each absorbed in his own thoughts, begin to talk among themselves. One announces that he is in possession of what he calls an “apple from the Tree of Knowledge,” and that he “must get rid of it.”
One of the fables of Aesop concerns Hercules and Athena. One day, Hercules was proceeding along a pathway in the mountains when he spotted an apple lying on the ground. Irritated at its presence, he decided to smash it with his club; and when he tried to do so, the apple doubled in size. Shocked, he swung his club at it again, this time determined to crush it completely.
As I have gotten older I find that reading plays brings more enjoyment than it did in earlier years. Tragedies especially: the unformed mind has not yet been sufficiently battered by the winds and waves of fortune against the rocks, and is equipped with a merciful immunity to the pathos of existence. And yet, as the years roll on, beards and barnacles begin to replace the smooth, supple surfaces of youth; scars and aches accumulate; and the omnipresence of tragedy dawns on the maturing mind with a startling rapidity. The mind then calls for a tonic: it requires the writer to make sense of all this chaos, all this pain, and all this suffering. The struggle must be dignified with a sense of universal justice, and an ethic of enduring goodness. So the tragedian steps forward, and with his stylus attempts to perform this task.