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The Soul of Man - Oscar Wilde

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The Soul of Man

The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of
Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us
from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the
present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost
everybody.  In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes.

Now and then, in the course of the century, a great man of science,
like Darwin; a great poet, like Keats; a fine critical spirit, like
M. Renan; a supreme artist, like Flaubert, has been able to isolate
himself, to keep himself out of reach of the clamorous claims of
others, to stand 'under the shelter of the wall,' as Plato puts it,
and so to realise the perfection of what was in him, to his own
incomparable gain, and to the incomparable and lasting gain of the
whole world.  These, however, are exceptions.  The majority of
people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism -
are forced, indeed, so to spoil them.  They find themselves
surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous
starvation.  It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by
all this.  The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man's
intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on
the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy
with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought.
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