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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Every good mother

He could feel in her what he felt in his own mother—in every good mother—love of order and peace, love of the well being of her children, love of public respect and private honor and morality.
Theodore Dreiser – The Genius (1915)

Sometimes a quote leaps off the page. As an ideal it sets all kinds of guilty hares running.

Guilty?

I think so – yes.

Ideals are not realities because they don’t have to be. They remind us of many things, of standards we understand but don’t always observe. In Dreiser's day this one was widely seen as central to the single most important thing we do – propagating the species. As far as one can tell it isn’t coming back - we have political ideals instead.

7 comments:

Demetrius said...

A world that is going if not gone.

James Higham said...

Propagation of the species though is a fine goal.

Roger said...

Interesting, this made me think of the disconnect between ideas neatly set down on paper and the messy and frequently dishonest actualite.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I'd say gone.

James - and quite enjoyable.

Roger - yes the gap can be wide, but it's a reference point.

Brett Hetherington said...

Yes, we need ideals to apire to and this is not just a conservative or traditional idea. Progressive thought has been proplelled by the 'if' word equally as much as by a hunger for justice.

A K Haart said...

Brett - in my jaundiced view a hunger for justice has a significant overlap with the pleasures of altruistic punishment.

Brett Hetherington said...

AK Haart - I'm not sure what you mean by "altruistic punishment" but it sounds contagious. Better get some herbal ointment and have your aura checked out.