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In Quest of the Beautiful

Excerpt from In Quest of the Beautiful What is the purpose of your life? Has it a purpose? Or, again, have you created a purpose for it? Perhaps you have reached the goal of your desire, and found it as empty as all the illusions of Ecclesiastes! Or, perhaps, you have rested in your poverty, with the illusions of riches yet to come. Or, again, in a fit of despair, you have said that there is no purpose to your life. Whatever your conclusions, who am I to judge you, or anyone else? Let me stand in the shadow of Flaubert, and let him speak: "The sight of a man daring to judge his neighbour would send me into convulsions of laughter, if it did not arouse my disgust and pity." With the Confucian doctrine of "fraternal deference " we will each go our own way - or ways. Astrologers state that, when a human being is born, a chord is struck through heaven and earth. As far as I can discover, they do not explain, or define, the phenomenon attending the birth of consciousness. I do not blame them for this or any other omission. They will not want to burn me, or ostracise me, for this difference of opinion with them. They will not look on me as a lost soul if I actively oppose them. The birth of consciousness is nothing to those who are only capable of seeing with the eye instead of through it. In the middle of the journey of our life I came toMyself in a dark wood, where the straight way was lost. If I have lost the straight way at the zenith of my life, I have the memory of it. With the birth of consciousness, about the age of five, I had a glimpse of the Beautiful; and in many protean shapes I have seen it since, and, if my body has been over many crooked paths, consciousness and its proximity to the Beautiful have traced a straight road in my lonely quest. There are compensations for the responsibility of living; there are quiet consolations which are our very own property; and both may be claimed, if life is regarded as a gift held for a little space in eternity. There may he aims more noble, more lofty, and even more clearly defined than that of my quest. An individual may dedicate his life to the service of others in science, or, like the giants of history, in leading an unpopular cause, that, a hundred years later, is quietly absorbed and taken for granted by society with scarce a "thank you." About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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