I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, then that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding.
Men do what is called a good action, as some piece of courage or charity, much as they would pay a fine in expiation of daily non-appearance on parade. Their works are done as an apology or extenuation of their living in the world- as invalids pay a high board. Their virtues are penance's. I do not wish to expiate, but to live: my life is for itself, and not for spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. I ask for primary evidence that you are a man, and refuse this appeal from a man to his actions.
Imagine of all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stonewashed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on library shelves. And-since women are a majority of the population-we'd all be married to Mel Gibson.
Rudolph (the leading character): If you's go stop three tradesmen on the street, and ask the three what it is they live by, they'll reply at once, bread, meat and drink, and they'll be certain of it; victuals and drink, like the rhyme in Mother Goose, makes up their diet; nothing will be said of faith in things unseen, or following the gleam, just bread and meat and a can of wine to wash it down. But if you know them well, behind the fish-eyes and the bellies, if you know them better than they do, each one burns candles at some alter of his mind in secret; in secret often, from himself, each is a priest to some dim mystery by which he lives. Strip him of that, and bread and meat and wine won't nourish him . . . without his . . . hidden faith, he dies and goes to dust.