January 22, 2012
JUSTICE, GREATNESS, HAPPINESS
George Eliot, Romola (1863) ("Who shall put his finger on the work of justice and say, 'It is there'? Justice is like the Kingdom of God,--it is not without us as a fact, it is within us as a great yearning." Id. at 818. " 'I shall not like that sort of life,' said Lillo. 'I should like something that would make me a great man, and very happy besides, --something that would not hinder me from having a good deal of pleasure.' " " 'That is not easy, my Lillo. It is only a poor sort of happiness that could ever come by caring very much about our narrow pleasures. We can only have the highest happiness, such as goes along with being a great man, by having wide thoughts, and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourselves; and this sort of happiness often brings so much pain with it that we can only tell it from pain by its being what we would choose before everything else, because our souls see it is good. There are so many things wrong and difficult in this world, that no man can be great --he can hardly keep himself from wickedness-- unless he gives up thinking much bout pleasure or rewards, and gets strength to endure what is hard and painful. . . . And so, my Lillo, if you mean to act nobly and seek to know the best things God has put within reach of men, you must learn to fix your mind on that end, and not on what will happen to you because of it. And remember, if you were to choose something lower, and make it the rule of your life to seek your own pleasure and escape from what is disagreeable, calamity might come just the same; and it would be calamity falling on a base mind, which is the one form of sorrow that has no balm in it, and that may well make a man say, 'I would have been better for me if I had never been born.' . . . ." Id. at 865-866. Food for thought!).