I personally don't believe people really grow. They just learn stuff when they were a kid, and hold on to it, and that affects every relationship they have.
But we are so fond of life that we have no leisure to entertain the terror of death. It is a honeymoon with us all through, and none of the longest. Small blame to us if we give our whole hearts to this glowing bride of ours, to the appetities, to honour, to the hungry curiosity of the mind, to the pleasure of the eyes in nature, and the pride of our own nimble bodies.
I must acknowledge an interest, or rather a dismay, in discussing this 'family memoir,' for from experience and observation I have come to regard the American Nuclear Family in the last 50 years as the enemy of individual determination, of personal autonomy--in short, as a disease.
Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of howWe are working to completion, working on from then to now.Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,And the obliquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles;What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
Our conscious motivations, ideas, and beliefs are a blend of false information, biases, irrational passions, rationalizations, prejudices, in which morsels of truth swim around and give the reassurance albeit false, that the whole mixture is real and true. The thinking processes attempt to organize this whole cesspool of illusions according to the laws of plausibility. This level of consciousness is supposed to reflect reality; it is the map we use for organizing our life.
The individual in the ordinary circumstances of living may feel more unreal than real; in a literal sense, more dead than alive; precariously differentiated from the rest of the world, so that his identity and autonomy are always in question.... He may not possess an over-riding sense of personal consistency or cohesiveness. He may feel more insubstantial than substantial, and unable to assume that the stuff he is made of is genuine, good, valuable. And he may feel his self as partially divorced from his body.
Man's consciousness is his least known and most abused vital organ. Most people believe that consciousness as such is some sort of indeterminate faculty which has no nature, no specific identity and therefore no requirements, no needs, no rules for being properly or improperly used.... Men abuse, subvert and starve their consciousness in a manner they would not dream of applying to their hair, toenails or stomachs. They know that these things have a specific identity and specific requirements, and, if one whishes to preserve them, one must comb one's hair, trim one's toenails and refrain from swallowing rat poison.
There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. I love music passionately. And because l love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it. It is a free art gushing forth, an open-air art boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an academic art.
The effort to remold, in one's own life, the culture one has grown into is heavy with danger. The searcher is likely to be treated as a criminal or a madman, condemned and criticized by his own society, ridiculed, even persecuted. Even if he is more fortunate--even if he is simply ignored by others--he must begin his struggle as a cripple. For to consciously reject the generalized attitudes' of the parent society is to reject positive reference points that have helped him evaluate his actions and accomplishments.This is the price of freedom on the peripheries. We are able to free ourselves from our parent culture only by destroying parts of ourselves, much as an animal might escape the hunter's trap by gnawing off its own leg. But unlike the wounded animal, the detached person is doubly crippled; however he mutilates himself, he will never quite be free of the trap but will carry it with him in his new freedom.