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 Post subject: The Two souls
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:19 am 
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The mirror has indeed two faces.

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As with all gregarious animals, 'two souls,' as Faust says, 'dwell with-in his breast,' the one of sociability and helpfulness, the other of jealousy and antagonism to his mates.

Though in a general way he cannot live without them, yet, as regards certain individuals, it often falls out that he cannot live with them either.

Constrained to be a member of a tribe, he still has a right to decide, as far as in him lies, of which other members the tribe shall consist. Killing off a few obnoxious ones may often better the chances of those that remain. And killing off a neighboring tribe from whom no good thing comes, but only competition, may materially better the lot of the whole tribe.

Hence the gory cradle, the bellum omnium contra omnes , in which our race was reared; hence the fickleness of human ties, the ease with which the foe of yesterday becomes the ally of to-day, the friend of to-day the enemy of to-morrow.


hence the fact that we, the lineal representatives of the successful enactors of one scene of slaughter after another, must, whatever more pacific virtues we may also possess, still carry about with us, ready at any moment to burst into flame, the smoldering and sinister traits of character by means of which they lived through so many massacres, harming others, but themselves unharmed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Two souls
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:23 am 
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As Rochefoucauld says, there is something in the misfortunes of our very friends that does not altogether displease us; and an apostle of peace will feel a certain vicious thrill run through him, and enjoy a vicarious brutality, as he turns to the column in his newspaper at the top of which 'Shocking Atrocity' stands printed in large capitals.

See how the crowd hocks round a street-brawl!

Consider the enormous annual sale of revolvers to persons, not one in a thousands of whom has any serious intention of using them, but of whom each one has his carnivorous self-consciousness agreeably tickled by the notion, as he clutches the handle of his weapon, that he will be rather a dangerous customer to meet.

See the ignoble crew that escorts every great pugilist -- parasites who feel as if the glory of his brutality rubbed off upon them, and whose darling hope, from day today, is to arrange some set-to of which they may share the rapture without enduring the pains!

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 Post subject: Re: The Two souls
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:25 am 
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! The first blows at a prize-fight are apt to make a refined spectator sick; but his blood is soon up in favor of one party, and it will then seem as if the other fellow could not be banged and pounded and mangled enough -- the refined spectator would like to reinforce the blows himself.

Over the sinister orgies of blood of certain depraved and insane persons let a curtain be drawn, as well as over the ferocity with which otherwise fairly decent men may be animated, when (at the sacking of a town, for instance), the excitement of victory long de- layed, the sudden freedom of rapine and of lust, the contagion of a crowd, and the impulse to imitate and outdo, all combine to swell the blind drunkenness of the killing-instinct, and carry it to its extreme.

No ! those who try to account for this from above downwards, as if it resulted from the consequences of the victory being rapidly inferred, and from the agreeable sentiments associated with them in the imagination, have missed the root of the matter.

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 Post subject: Re: The Two souls
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:51 pm 
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All human beings, family and friends, will eventually offend us peremptorily by some circumstance in their lives which often can be easily be perceived.

Fear is a reaction aroused by the same objects that arouse ferocity. The antagonism of the two is an interesting study in instinctive dynamics. We both fear, and wish to kill, anything that may kill us; and the question which of the two impulses we shall follow is usually decided by some one of those collateral circumstances of the particular case, to be moved by which is the mark of superior mental natures.

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