A storyteller who provided us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearing us out with repetition, misleading emphases and inconsequential plot lines. It insists on showing us Bardak Electronics, the saftey handle in the car, a stray dog, a Christmas card and a fly that lands first on the rim and then in the centre of the ashtray.Which explains how the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality. The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting wooliness of the present.
The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones, and the moment a life begins to blossom into beautiful words and deeds, that moment a new standard of conduct is established, and your eager neighbors look to you for a continuous manifestation of the good cheer, the sympathy, the ready wit, the comradeship, or the inspiration, you once showed yourself capable of. Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles.
[W]hat reasoning is this, to criticize an innocent majority who seldom make a slip, for a single act? This is not right. Why can't blame be borne individually for individual guilt? ... But for the love of Christ, those of you with some sense, do not blame the innocent without cause. For if, every time you see one man doing wrong, you're going to accuse all men likewise, it won't take long in any one day before you'll be saying that all men ought to be hung. If one man is a rogue, are all men too? No, there's no logic in that; you know what's true. Were a man hung or dismembered for theft, and they proposed to dish up the same treatment to you, you wouldn't consider it legal. You would look quite unamused, and take the liberty of bidding goodbye to all who pronounced that sort of judmgent. Think of others as you would have them think of you ... Let each bear guilt individually as is only right -- and as you'd wish to be upheld in your own case if you were innocent.
The great proliferation of museums in the nineteenth century was a product of the marriage of the exhibition as a way of awakening intelligent interest in the visitor with the growth of collections that was associated with empire and middle-class affluence. Attendance at museums was as much associated with moral improvement as with explanation of the human or natural world.
I send my friends e-mail messages about the progress of my garden, especially of my roses. It left them with the impression, I think, that I was concerned with nothing else. I felt no urgency in correcting that notion. People obsessed with their gardens have probably caused the least suffering in the world of any category of men.