I come from an alcoholic Irish background - I know where I was going! But I met my wife and started to practise Buddhism, which is a levelling experience for me, and there hasn't been a day I've missed in 40 years. I apply it to everything - to my work and relationships. I try to be a compassionate person.
Politics of all sorts, I confess, are far beyond my limited powers of comprehension. Those of this country as far as I have been able to observe, resolve themselves into two great motives. The aristocratic desire of elevation and separation, and the democratic desire of demolishing and levelling.
The laws of Pluto's kingdom know small difference between king and cobbler, manager and call-boy; and, if haply your dates of life were conterminant, you are quietly taking your passage, cheek by cheek (O ignoble levelling of Death) with the shade of some recently departed candle-snuffer.
In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion of his fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. The bold and peculiar traits of native character are refined away or softened down by the levelling influence of what is termed good-breeding, and he practises so many petty deceptions and affects so many generous sentiments for the purposes of popularity that it is difficult to distinguish his real from his artificial character.
No, I thought, growing more rebellious, life has its own laws and it is for me to defend myself against whatever comes along, without going snivelling to God about sin, my own or other people's. How would it profit a man if he got into a tight place, to call he people who put him there miserable sinners? Or himself a miserable sinner? I disliked the levelling aspect of this sinnerdom, it was like a cricket match played in a drizzle, where everybody had an excuse - and what a dull excuse! - for playing badly. Life was meant to test a man, bring out his courage, initiative, resource; and I longed, I thought, to be tested: I didn't want to fall on my knees and call myself a miserable sinner. But the idea of goodness did attract me, for I did not regard it as the opposite of sin. I saw it as something bright and positive and sustaining, like the sunshine, something to be adored, but from afar.