Youth and Life (Google eBook)

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Houghton Mifflin, 1913 - Conduct of life - 362 pages
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Page 148 - Fine as friendship is, there is nothing irrevocable about it. The bonds of friendship are not iron bonds, proof against the strongest of strains and the heaviest of assaults. A man by becoming your friend has not committed himself to all the demands which you may be pleased to make upon him. Foolish people like to test the bonds of their friendships, pulling upon them to see how much strain they will stand. When they snap, it is as if friendship itself had been proved unworthy. But the truth is that...
Page 16 - Youth is the incarnation of reason pitted against the rigidity of tradition. Youth puts the remorseless questions to everything that is old and established, Why? What is this thing good for? And when it gets the mumbled, evasive answers of the defenders, it applies its own fresh, clean spirit of reason to institutions, customs, and ideas, and, finding them stupid, inane, or poisonous, turns instinctively to overthrow them and build in their place the things with which its vision teems.
Page 120 - For all his interest and activity, it is said that he does not really care. But this aesthetic taint to his irony is really only skin-deep. The ironist is ironical not because he does not care, but because he cares too much. He is feeling the profoundest depths of the world's great beating, laboring heart, and his playful attitude towards the grim and sordid is a necessary relief from the tension of too much caring.
Page 25 - ... far side of socialism." That this beautiful desire sprang up in him before the war is proved by a charmingly immature book published in 1913 YOUTH AND LIFE, in which he announced in the brave accent of the poets of Vagabondia, "It is the glory of the present age that in it one can be young. ... A muddle of a world and a wide outlook combine to inspire us to the bravest of radicalisms.
Page 347 - ... one's heart with despair. The environment of a big city is perhaps the worst possible that a man in such a situation could have. For the thousands of seeming opportunities lead one restlessly on and on, and keep one's mind perpetually unsettled and depressed. There is a poignant mental torture that comes with such an experience, the urgent need, the repeated failure, or rather the repeated failure even to obtain a chance to fail, the realization that those at home can ill afford to have you...
Page 343 - It was my own fate to be just strong enough to play about with the other boys, and attempt all their games and "stunts," without being strong enough actually to succeed in any of them. It never used to occur to me that my failures and lack of skill were due to circumstances beyond my control, but I would always impute them, in consequence of my rigid Calvin istic bringing-up, I suppose, to some moral weakness of my own.
Page 303 - But the very food we eat, the clothes we wear, the simplest necessities of life with which we provide ourselves, have their roots somewhere, somehow, in exploitation and injustice. It is a cardinal necessity of the social system under which we live that this should be so, where the bulk of the work of the world is done, not for human use and happiness, but primarily and directly for the profits of masters and owners.
Page 345 - I continued to attribute my failure mostly to my own character, trying hard to compensate for my physical deficiencies by skill and cleverness, I suffered comparatively few pangs, and got much better adjusted to this world than to the other. For I was older, and I had acquired a lively interest in all the social politics; I would get so interested in watching how people behaved, and in sizing them up, that only at rare intervals would I remember that I was really having no hand in the game. This...
Page 136 - Good talk is like good scenery continuous yet constantly varying, and full of the charm of novelty and surprise.
Page 12 - Or any new compass wherewith new men adventure 'neath new skies. Youth sees with almost passionate despair its plans and dreams and enthusiasms, that it knows so well to be right and true and noble, brushed calmly aside, not because of any sincere searching into their practicability, but because of the timidity and laziness of the old, who sit in the saddle and ride mankind. And nothing torments youth so much as to have this inertia justified on the ground of experience. For youth thinks that it...

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