Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
People love to admit they have bad handwriting or that they can't do math. And they will readily admit to being awkward 'I'm such a klutz' But they will never admit to having a poor sense of humor or being a bad driver.
People who are not in love fail to understand how an intelligent man can suffer because of a very ordinary woman. This is like being surprised that anyone should be stricken with cholera because of a creature so insignificant as the comma bacillus.
People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.
Perhaps extreme danger strips us of all pretenses, all ambitions, all confusions, focusing us more intensely than we are otherwise ever focused, so that we remember what we otherwise spend most of our lives forgetting that our nature and purpose is, more than anything else, to love and to make love, to take joy from the beauty of the world, to live with an awareness that the future is not as real a place for any of us as are the present and the past.
Philosophy offers the rather cold consolation that perhaps we and our planet do not actually exist; religion presents the contradictory and scarcely more comforting thought that we exist but that we cannot hope to get anywhere until we cease to exist. Alcohol, in attempting to resolve the contradiction, produces vivid patterns of Truth which vanish like snow in the morning sun and cannot be recalled; the revelations of poetry are as wonderful as a comet in the skies -- and as mysterious. Love, which was once believed to contain the Answer, we now know to be nothing more than an inherited behavior pattern.
Poetry reveals to us the loveliness of nature, brings back the freshness of youthful feelings, reviews the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the springtime of our being, refines youthful love, strengthens our interest in human mature, by vivid delineations of its tenderest and softest feelings, and through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life.