I can't complain about my life. I have a really nice life. I have a great family and I live in a gorgeous part of the country.
As religion and faith are being driven out of the public square, the Judeo-Christian ethical foundations that have sustained our country since its beginning, are being lost and are being replaced with a humanistic amorality, a self-centered, pragmatic indifference that will ensure that our moral compasses will fail to point us in the right direction in the future.
I am always amused by Christians who try so very hard to defend their position with reason and logic. They are like standing on top of a ladder with their tools and gadgets, straining their necks looking skywards for the leaks, trying to fix the roof amidst the rain. What they do not realize, of course, is that the roof isn't leaking -- it isn't there.
One grave in every graveyard belongs to the ghouls. Wander any graveyard long enough and you will find it - water stained and bulging, with cracked or broken stone, scraggly grass or rank weeds about it, and a feeling, when you reach it, of abandonment. It may be colder than the other gravestones, too, and the name on the stone is all too often impossible to read. If there is a statue on the grave it will be headless or so scabbed with fungus and lichens as to look like fungus itself. If one grave in a graveyard looks like a target for petty vandals, that is the ghoul-gate. If the grave wants to make you be somewhere else, that is the ghoul-gate.
I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail.
There is no law of progress. Our future is in our own hands, to make or to mar. It will be an uphill fight to the end, and would we have it otherwise? Let no one suppose that evolution will ever exempt us from struggles. 'You forget,' said the Devil, with a chuckle, 'that I have been evolving too.'
I must interpret the life around me as I interpret the life that is my own. My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine.
Offered a job as book critic for magazine as a young man, Bellow had been interviewed by Chambers and asked to give his opinion about William Wordsworth. Replying perhaps too quickly that Wordsworth had been a Romantic poet, he had been brusquely informed by Chambers that there was no place for him at the magazine. Bellow had often wondered, he told us, what he ought to have said. I suggested that he might have got the job if he'd replied that Wordsworth was a once-revolutionary poet who later became a conservative and was denounced by Browning and others as a turncoat. This seemed to Bellow to be probably right. More interesting was the related question: What if he'd that job?
If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if his fine spirits have become temporarily dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand; if he is obsessed by a fixed idea which bars him from any freedom of thought: if he is any of these poor creatures, we say, let him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate... and marvels will be performed.
Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral; they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted.