Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Humanistic Pose

"Is my 'Humanism' really a pose? Do I pretend tolerance to gain a hearing? This has never been charged against me. But what of my own consciousness? Does my own self charge me?

“Partly. Humanism is, I concede, sometimes an affectation. One restrains oneself.

“But only partly. If it be sometimes an affectation, it is always an effort. Perceiving other people’s intolerance, or rather, perceiving that intolerance is natural, one asks: What of my own intolerance? It is just as natural to me as to other people’s to them. What then? I must overlay the natural by the artificial, for the artificial is the truer, not to myself, but to a cause higher than myself. This cause is the cause of all against the one. Truth is not natural, it is artificial, artificial in the good sense. A child is not naturally truthful. He is naturally self-indulgent. Humanism is an artificial process against self-indulgence, and self-indulgence, though natural to each, is unnatural to all.

"Humanism is a pose, but a pose of grace.”
Quoted from Israel Abrahams, unpublished papers, Southampton Hartley Library MS 116/58 AJ 172/E.8

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