The Old Story, A Fake Empire

IT is an old story, a theme too worn for the turning of sentences, and yet too living a moral not to find every day a new point and to break a fresh heart, that our lives are wasted in the pursuit of the impalpable, the search for the impossible and the unmeaning. Neither today nor yesterday, but throughout the whole life of the race, the complaint has gone forth that all is vanity; that the ends for which we live and we die are “mere ideas,” illusions begotten on the brain by the wish of the heart — poor phrases that stir the blood, until experience or reflection for a little, and death for all time, bring with it disenchantment and quiet. Duty for duty’s sake, life for an end beyond sense, honor, and beauty, and love for the invisible — all these are first felt, and then seen to be dream and shadow and unreal vision. And our cry and our desire is for something that will satisfy us, something that we know and do not only think, something that is real and solid, that we can lay hold of and be sure of and that will not change in our hands.

Bradley, Ethical Studies

 

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