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A defeat better than many victories

Elora Gorge 014



life had no meaning. On the earth, satellite of a star speeding through space, living things had arisen under the influence of conditions which were part of the planet’s history; and as there had been a beginning of life upon it, so, under the influence of other conditions, there would be an end: man, no more significant than other forms of life, had come not as the climax of creation but as a physical reaction to the environment.


As the weaver elaborated his pattern for no end but the pleasure of his aesthetic sense, so might a man live his life, or if one was forces to believe that his actions were outside his choosing, so might a man look at his life, that is made a pattern. Out of the manifold events of his life, his deeds, his feelings, his thoughts; and though it might be no more than an illusion that he had the power of selection, though it might be no more than a fantastic legerdemain in which appearances were interwoven with moonbeams, that did not matter:… In the vast warp of life (a river arsing from no spring and flowing endless to no sea), with the background to his fancies that there was no meaning and that nothing was important, a man might get a personal satisfactions in selecting the various strands that worked out the pattern. There was one pattern, the most obvious, perfect, and beautiful, in which a man was born, grown to manhood, married, produced children, toiled for his breed, and died; but there were other intricate and wonderful, in which happiness did not enter and in which success was not attempted; and in them might be discovered a more troubling grace.

It seems to him that all his life he had followed the ideas that other peoples, by their words or their writings, had instilled into him, and never the desires of his own heart. Always his course had be swayed by what he thought he should do and never by what he wanted with his whole soul to do. He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad, meaningless facts of life; had he not seen also that the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and die, was likewise the most perfect? It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.



Everyone has some defect, of body or of mind: he thought of all people he had known, he saw a long procession, deformed in body or warped in mind, some with illness of the flesh, weak hearts or weak lungs, and some with illness of the spirit, languor of will, or a craving for liquor. The only reasonable thing was to accept the good of men and be patient with their faults. The word of the dying God crossed his memory: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Posted on October 25th, 2009 by Registered Commenterhedgehog in Bookshelf | 书山有路 | CommentsPost a comment

Reader Comments (4)


hedgehog Reply:

我甚至去翻了翻中文翻译的 有些翻译很精致 读起来很舒服

October 25th, 2009 | Registered Commenterrainbowrain


hedgehog Reply:

欢迎投入 nikon 大家庭~~

November 1st, 2009 | Registered Commentermusicman