|• Main||• Contacts|
in the world, is far from standing alone. "Love has always appeared as an
inferior mode of human music, ambition as the superior mode," wrote Tarde,
the distinguished sociologist, at the end of his life. "But will it always
be thus? Are there not reasons for thinking that the future perhaps
reserves for us the ineffable surprise of an inversion of that secular
order?" Laplace, half an hour before his death, took up a volume of his
own _Mecanique Celeste_, and said: "All that is only trifles, there is
nothing true but love." Comte, who had spent his life in building up a
Positive Philosophy which should be absolutely real, found (as indeed it
may be said the great English Positivist Mill also found) the culmination
of all his ideals in a woman, who was, he said, Egeria and Beatrice and
Laura in one, and he wrote: "There is nothing real in the world but love.
One grows tired of thinking, and even of acting; one never grows tired of
loving, nor of saying so. In the worst tortures of affection I have never
ceased to feel that the essential of happiness is that the heart should be
worthily filled--even with pain, yes, even with pain, the bitterest pain."
And Sophie Kowalewsky, after intellectual achievements which have placed
her among the most distinguished of her sex, pathetically wrote: "Why can
no one love me? I could give more than most women, and yet the most
insignificant women are loved and I am not." Love, they all seem to say,
is the one thing that is supremely worth while. The greatest and most
brilliant of the world's intellectual giants, in their moments of final
insight, thus reach the habitual level of the humble and almost anonymous
persons, cloistered from the world, who wrote _The Imitation of Christ_ or
_The Letters of a Portuguese Nun_. And how many others!
 _Meditationes Piissimae de Cognitione Humanae Conditionis_, Migne's
_Patrologia_, vol. clxxiv, p. 489, cap. III, "De Dignitate Animae et
Vilitate Corporis." It may be worth while to quote more at length the
vigorous language of the original. "Si diligenter consideres quid per os
et nares caeterosque corporis meatus egrediatur, vilius sterquilinum
numquam vidisti.... Attende, homo, quid fuisti ante ortum, et quid es ab
ortu usque ad occasum, atque quid eris post hanc vitam. Profecto fuit
quand non eras: postea de vili materia factus, et vilissimo panno
involutus, menstruali sanguine in utero materno fuisti nutritus, et tunica
tua fuit pellis secundina. Nihil aliud est homo quam sperma fetidum,
saccus stercorum, cibus vermium.... Quid superbis, pulvis et cinis, cujus
conceptus cula, nasci miseria, vivere poena, mori angustia?"
 See (in Mignes' edition) _S. Odonis abbatis Cluniacensis
Collationes_, lib. ii, cap. IX.
 Duehren (_Neue Forshungen ueber die Marquis de Sade_, pp. 432 et seq.)
shows how the ascetic view of woman's body persisted, for instance, in
Schopenhauer and De Sade.
 In "The Evolution of Modesty," in the first volume of these
_Studies_, and again in the fifth volume in discussing urolagnia in the
study of "Erotic Symbolism," the mutual reactions of the sexual and
excretory centres were fully dealt with.
 "La Morale Sexuelle," _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, Jan.,
 The above passage, now slightly modified, originally formed an
unpublished part of an essay on Walt Whitman in _The New Spirit_, first
issued in 1889.
 Even in the ninth century, however, when the monastic movement was
rapidly developing, there were some who withstood the tendencies of the
new ascetics. Thus, in 850, Ratramnus, the monk of Corbie, wrote a
Page 3 from 5: Back 1 2  4 5 Forward