The Hole in the Heart

Letter From London

Morphine puts you to sleep, explains a pompous savant in Moliere, because it is a soporific.  By this tautology is the great dead void at the core of Western civilization exposed, finally and, I dare say, mercilessly.  What vitality, what resistivity, what transcendent stubbornness our spiritual truth once possessed (“Even if it were proven me that there is truth without Christ,” wrote Dostoevsky, “I would still take Christ over truth”), they have been all but smothered by that kind of artless and airless scholasticism.

Catch adults in the act of explaining things to children.  What an avalanche of arrogant verbosity do we see crashing about those innocent little heads!  How shamelessly is the word because abused, whether the subject of instruction is volcanoes, onions, or angels!  And note, incidentally, the ingenuous way the old have devised to educate the young in the sacred principles of causality: “Don’t,” they are ever warning them, “because . . . ”  Don’t play with fire because you’ll hurt yourself.  Don’t touch the vase because it’ll fall and break.  Don’t go into the forest because it’s easy to get lost there.  And, when the child rummages in the hearth without getting burned, when the Chinese vase stands as before, or when a warm handful of wild strawberries is held up to the skeptical...

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