an Observation (1)
Oh, elegies are easy, I suppose. It is simple to sing of sorrows, and tumble through agonies towards some great katharsis, as though every strong emotion needs its purge. All happinesses are alike, the knowing novelist intones.
But this very violence in ourselves, this need for grief, for rage, for some last word, even to our joy unlimited—mightn’t this be the problem, too? For though we grovel in an ecstasy of humiliation, bathed in the stoic light of self-righteous self-admiration, yet does an empty pride, an arrogance, leave us blind to the very things we are, still dreaming we are the things we would be, much as the empty porches once drowned in voices settle and sink at last into the quiet neglect of twilight.
And it is easier to wail for all the virtues we have lost, than to find such strange things anew. We do wrong, we cry, alas, alackaday! No. It is not just. It is not good. It is not right. And yet it is. So either fix it. Or quit complaining.1
- Reflections on the state of the union; or, on being unable to mend the toaster, which is broken. [↩]