It must be evident how multifarious and how mutually complicated are the considerations which the working of such an engine involve. There are frequently several distinct sets of effects going on simultaneously; all in a manner independent of each other, and yet to a greater or less degree exercising a mutual influence.
From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the low ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hinduism religion.
Look carefully through all the claims pressing upon you in your complicated life, and decide once and for all what it is that is the one really important and overmastering duty in it, and should be the one dominating aim. Then remember that if you succeed in that, the others, so multifarious, are really no more than the fringe of the garment, and that you need not spend so much anxiety over them, provided that the one most important is faithfully attended to.
Self-reflection, or - what comes to the same thing - the urge to individuation, gathers together what is scattered and multifarious and exalts it to the original of the One, the Primordial Man. In this way our existence as separate beings, our former ego nature, is abolished, the circle of consciousness is widened, and because the paradoxes have been made conscious, the sources of conflict are dried up.
To argue that we humans are capable of complex multifarious thought and feeling, whereas the sheep's perception is probably limited by lowly sheepish perceptions, is no more to the point than if I were to slaughter and eat you on the grounds that I am a sophisticated personality able to enjoy Mozart, formal logic and cannibalism, whereas your imaginative world seems confined to True Romances and tinned spaghetti.
So multifarious are the different classes of truths, and so multitudinous the truths in each class, that it may be undoubtingly affirmed that no man has yet lived who could so much as name all the different classes and subdivisions of truths, and far less anyone who was acquainted with all the truths belonging to any one class. What wonderful extent, what amazing variety, what collective magnificence! And if such be the number of truths pertaining to this tiny ball of earth, how must it be in the incomprehensible immensity!
When we observe how some people know how to manage their experiences-their insignificant, everyday experiences-so that they become an arable soil that bears fruit three times a year, while others-and how many there are!-are driven through surging waves of destiny, the most multifarious currents of the times and the nations, and yet always remain on top, bobbing like a cork, then we are in the end tempted to divide mankind into a minority (a minimality) of those who know how to make much of little, and a majority of those who know how to make little of much.
When I compare life to a dream I do not mean to denigrate it as some sort of meaningless fantasy. Life is too wonderful to be called an "illusion" unless we whisper the word in amazement, as we might when witnessing the most astonishing magic trick. What could be more magnificent than this glorious universe, in all its multifarious extravagance? Its awesome vastness and delicate detail. Its impersonal precision and intimate intensity. Its harsh necessities and lush sensuality. This dream of life is truly marvelous.
In my view, it is an error to think about 'alternatives to prison' if what we mean by that is 'electronic bracelets, ' through which people are subject to computer-monitored house arrest, or granting fuller surveillance and disciplinary powers and technologies to other state agencies, such as welfare and mental health, through 'transcarceration' policies... We need to decrease, not increase, the means by which the state, in its multifarious networks of authority, controls human lives and selectively incapacitates people who, no less than others, have the potential to contribute to the improvement of hte human condition.
When he was in college, a famous poet made a useful distinction for him. He had drunk enough in the poet's company to be compelled to describe to him a poem he was thinking of. It would be a monologue of sorts, the self-contemplation of a student on a summer afternoon who is reading Euphues. The poem itself would be a subtle series of euphuisms, translating the heat, the day, the student's concerns, into symmetrical posies; translating even his contempt and boredom with that famously foolish book into a euphuism. The poet nodded his big head in a sympathetic, rhythmic way as this was explained to him, then told him that there are two kinds of poems. There is the kind you write; there is the kind you talk about in bars. Both kinds have value and both are poems; but it's fatal to confuse them. In the Seventh Saint, many years later, it had struck him that the difference between himself and Shakespeare wasn't talent - not especially - but nerve. The capacity not to be frightened by his largest and most potent conceptions, to simply (simply!) sit down and execute them. The dreadful lassitude he felt when something really large and multifarious came suddenly clear to him, something Lear-sized yet sonnet-precise. If only they didn't rush on him whole, all at once, massive and perfect, leaving him frightened and nerveless at the prospect of articulating them word by scene by page. He would try to believe they were of the kind told in bars, not the kind to be written, though there was no way to be sure of this except to attempt the writing; he would raise a finger (the novelist in the bar mirror raising the obverse finger) and push forward his change. Wailing like a neglected ghost, the vast notion would beat its wings into the void. Sometimes it would pursue him for days and years as he fled desperately. Sometimes he would turn to face it, and do battle. Once, twice, he had been victorious, objectively at least. Out of an immense concatenation of feeling, thought, word, transcendent meaning had come his first novel, a slim, pageant of a book, tombstone for his slain conception. A publisher had taken it, gingerly; had slipped it quietly into the deep pool of spring releases, where it sank without a ripple, and where he supposes it lies still, its calm Bodoni gone long since green. A second, just as slim but more lurid, nightmarish even, about imaginary murders in an imaginary exotic locale, had been sold for a movie, though the movie had never been made. He felt guilt for the producer's failure (which perhaps the producer didn't feel), having known the book could not be filmed; he had made a large sum, enough to finance years of this kind of thing, on a book whose first printing was largely returned.