At the behest of the criterion of authenticity, much that was once thought to make up the very fabric of culture has come to seem of little account, mere fantasy or ritual, or downright falsification. Conversely, much that culture traditionally condemned and sought to exclude is accorded a considerable moral authority by reason of the authenticity claimed for it, for example, disorder, violence, unreason.
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Orwell clung with a kind of wry, grim pride to the old ways of the last class that had ruled the old order. He must sometimes have wondered how it came about that he should be praising sportsmanship and gentlemanliness and dutifulness and physical courage. He seems to have thought, and very likely he was right, that they might come in handy as revolutionary virtues.
Nowadays our sense of history is being destroyed by the nature of our history - our memory is short and it grows shorter under the rapidity of the assault of events. What once occupied all our minds and filled the musty meeting halls with the awareness of heroism and destiny has now become chiefly a matter for the historical scholar.
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consistent affection for his characters is what sets Tolstoy apart. Flaubert is equally 'objective, ' he says, but 'Flaubert's objectivity is charged with irritability and Tolstoy's with affection. For Flaubert everyone and everything is somehow at fault. For Tolstoy everyone and everything has a saving grace.' 'By loving people without cause, he discovered indubitable causes for loving them.' It would be hard to find a more succinct description of the chief work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart.
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A theory of the middle class: that it is not to be determined by its financial situation but rather by its relation to government. That is, one could shade down from an actual ruling or governing class to a class hopelessly out of relation to government, thinking of government as beyond its control, of itself as wholly controlled by government. Somewhere in between and In gradations is the group that has the sense that gov't exists for it, and shapes its consciousness accordingly.
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Any historian of the literature of the modern age will take virtually for granted the adversary intention, the actually subversive intention, that characterizes modern writing - he will perceive its clear purpose of detaching the reader from the habits of thought and feeling that the larger culture imposes, of giving him a ground and a vantage point from which to judge and condemn, and perhaps revise, the culture that produces him.
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It is told of Faraday that he refused to be called a physicist; he very much disliked the new name as being too special and particular and insisted on the old one, philosopher, in all its spacious generality: we may suppose that this was his way of saying that he had not over-ridden the limiting conditions of class only to submit to the limitation of a profession.
Economic man and the Calvinist Christian sing to each other like voices in a fugue. The Calvinist stands alone before an almost merciless God ; no human agency can help him; his church is a means to political and social organization rather than a bridge to deity , for no priest can have greater knowledge of the divine way than he himself; no friend can console him in fact , he should distrust all men; in the same fashion, Economic Man faces a merciless world alone and unaided, his hand against every other's.
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The definitions of humanism are many, but let us here take it to be the attitude of those men who think it an advantage to live in society, and, at that, in a complex and highly developed society, and who believe that man fulfills his nature and reaches his proper stature in this circumstance. The personal virtues which humanism cherishes are intelligence, amenity, and tolerance; the particular courage it asks for is that which is exercised in the support of these virtues. The qualities of intelligence which it chiefly prizes are modulation and flexibility.
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Disgust is expressed by violence, and it is to be noted of our intellectual temper that violence is a quality which is felt to have a peculiarly intellectual sanction. Our preference, even as articulated by those who are most mild in their persons, is increasingly for the absolute and extreme, of which we feel violence to be the true sign. The gentlest of us will know that the tigers of wrath are to be preferred to the horses of instruction and will consider it intellectual cowardice to take into account what happens to those who ride tigers.
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