ADVANTAGES

We have called this a pastime, in a higher sense, namely a playof the Intellect in its release from the Will, whichit now only serves for self-mirroring,—the pastime of theover-rich in spirit But the trouble of the constitution of theWorld is this: all steps in evolution of the utterances of Will,from the reaction of primary elements, through all the lowerorganisations, right up to the richest human intellect, stand sideby side in space and time, and consequently the highest organismcannot but recognise itself and all its works as founded on theWill's most brutal of manifestations. Even the flower of theGrecian spirit was rooted to the conditions of this complexexistence, which has for base a ball of earth revolving after lawsimmutable, with all its swarm of lives the rawer and moreinexorable, the deeper the scale descends. As manhood's fairestdream that flower filled the world for long with its illusivefragrance, though to none but minds set free from the Will's sorewant was it granted to bathe therein: and what but a mummery atlast could such delight well be, when we find that blood andmassacre, untamed and ever slipped afresh, still rage throughoutthe human race; that violence is master, and freedom of mind seemsonly buyable at price of seffdom of the world? But a heartlessmummery must the concernment with Art ever be, and all enjoyment ofthe freedom thereby sought from the Will's distress, so long asnothing more was to be found in art:the Ideal was the aim of the single genius, and what survivedits work was merely the trick of technical dexterity; and so we seeGreek art without the Grecian genius pervading all the RomanEmpire, without drying one tear of the poor, or drawing one sobfrom the withered heart of the rich. Though a broader patch ofsunshine might deceive us, as spread in peace above the kingdom ofthe Antonines, we could only style it a short-lived triumph of theartistic-philosophic spirit over the brutal movement of therestless self-destroying forces of the Will of History. Yet evenhere 'tis but the surface that could cheat us, making us take alethargy for healthy calm. On the other hand, it was folly to thinkthat violence could be restrained by howsoever prudent steps ofviolence. Eventhat world-truce was based on the Right of the Stronger, andnever, since the human race first fell a-hungering for bloodyspoil, has it ceased to found its claim to tenure and enjoyment onthat same "right" alone. To the art-creative Greek, no less thanthe rudest Barbarian, it was the one sole law that shaped theworld. There's no blood-guiltiness which even this fair-fashioningrace did not incur in rabid hate against its neighbour; till theStronger came upon it too, that Stronger fell in turn before a yetmore violent, and so the centuries have ever brought fresh grosserforces into play, and thrown ourselves at last to-day behind afence of yearly waxing giant-guns and bastions.

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