Wishing for a world in which everyone is free to mind his own business is all well and good. But as soon as you encounter someone who does not share your wish, you have a problem to solve, and restating your original wish a hundred times will not solve it.
Student: “Why is a girl attracted to someone who would treat her badly?”
Teacher: “Because she wants to be treated badly?”
Student: “Does she want to punish herself? or just dislike herself?”
Teacher: “Who would want to punish herself who did not also dislike herself in some way, at least in the particular way related to her wish to be punished? She must be trying to correct something by this punishment, and we only try to correct what we think is wrong.”
Somehow, there is a metaphor in this exchange for everything that has happened to the world in recent years, or perhaps in all years.
“All work is noble” is the mantra of men whose mode of living has detached them from any notion of genuine nobility and its cognates: leisure, liberality, and greatness of soul — proud haughtiness toward the powerful and ironic humility toward the meek.
You cannot revive a nation that has lost any conception of what it is supposed to wake up to.
The soul inevitably, inexorably imitates its surroundings. The prisoner’s soul becomes the prison.