Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Quotes: Christmas Holiday (1939) by W. Somerset Maugham


[Simon:]
An awful lot of hokum is talked about love, you know. An importance is ascribed to it that is entirely at variance with fact. People talk as though it were self-evidently the greatest of human values. Nothing is less self-evident. Until Plato dressed his sentimental sensuality in a captivating literary form the ancient world laid no more stress on it than was sensible; the healthy realism of the Muslim has never looked upon it as anything but a physical need; it was Christianity, buttressing its emotional claims with neo-Platonism, that made it into the end an aim, the reason, the justification of life. But Christianity was the religion of slaves. It offered the weary and the heavy-laden heaven to compensate them in the future for their misery in this world and the opiate of love to enable them to bear it in the present. And like every drug it enervated and destroyed those who became subject to it. For two thousand years it's suffocated us. It's weakened our wills and lessened our courage. In this modern world we live in we know that almost everything is more important than love, we know that only the soft and the stupid allow it to affect their actions, and yet we pay it a foolish lip-service. In books, on the stage, in the pulpit, on the platform the same old sentimental rubbish is talked that was used to hoodwink the slaves of Alexandria.

[Simon:]
Is there anything there? [...] Or is it merely an accident of expression that gives the illusion of some quality of the soul?

No comments:

Post a Comment