Such always hath been my opinion to you, and when at first you spoke thereof to me I truly told you this same very thing; but tacitly you scorned my advice, and would not harbour it within your mind. I know for certain, and therefore may I with the greater confidence utter my conception of it, that philauty, or self-love, is that which blinds your judgment and deceiveth you.
The usual method of stating the difference between the Christian conception of God and the Hindu conception of the root of all being is that the one is personal and the other impersonal. But these terms are inadequate. Rather say the one is perfectly personal and the other perfectly abstract.
"Did there ever appear on the earth another nation so fertile in contrasts, so extreme in its acts, more under the dominion of feeling, less ruled by principle; always better or worse than was anticipated, now below the level of humanity, now far above; a people so unchangeable in its leading features that it may be recognized by portraits drawn two or three thousand years ago, and yet so fickle in its daily opinions and tastes that it becomes at last a mystery to itself, and is as much astonished as strangers at the sight of what it has done; naturally fond of home and routine, yet, when once driven forth and forced to adopt new customs, ready to carry principles to any lengths and to dare anything; indocile by disposition, but better pleased with the arbitrary and even violent rule of a sovereign than with a free and regular government under its chief citizens; now fixed in hostility to subjection of any kind, now so passionately wedded to servitude that nations made to serve cannot vie with it; led by a thread so long as no word of resistance is spoken, wholly ungovernable when the standard of revolt is raised, thus always deceiving its masters, who fear it too much or too little; never so free that it cannot be subjugated, never so kept down that it cannot break the yoke; qualified for every pursuit, but excelling in nothing but war; more prone to worship chance, force, success, eclat, noise, than real glory; endowed with more heroism than virtue, more genius than common sense; better adapted for the conception of grand designs than the accomplishment of great enterprises; the most brilliant and the most dangerous nation of Europe, and the one that is surest to inspire admiration, hatred, terror, or pity, but never indifference?"
The very conception that some person, even some inanimate thing, might stand between him and the heart of this fair woman acted upon him like a stimulant. The last of the two waltzes ended, they walked slowly through the scattering throng, he striving vainly to arouse her to the former independence and intimacy of speech.
Very few people at home, even in responsible quarters, have, I think, the slightest conception of the very dangerous degree of tension which has now been reached out here." All foreign observers were impressed by the nationalist feeling which united all creeds and classes.
But the science of mathematics has nothing to do with such questions, nor with the question of existence in any fashion; it is concerned merely with the properties of objects in themselves, only in so far as these are connected with the conception of the objects.
Does it not contradict the conception of the reason and the dignity of beauty, which is nevertheless regarded as an instrument of culture, to confine it to the work of being a mere play? and does it not contradict the empirical conception of play, which can coexist with the exclusion of all taste, to confine it merely to beauty?
Hume develops the same fundamental conception in a somewhat different way, and with a more definite indication of the practical benefits which may be expected from a critical philosophy.
During the remainder of the afternoon I was left to my own reflections, which were anything but agreeable; for I could not banish from my mind the threat about the thumbscrews, of the nature and use of which I had a vague but terrible conception. I was still meditating on my unhappy fate when, just after nightfall, one of the watch on deck called down the hatchway: "Hallo, there!
Indeed, none of his brothers ever thought of asking James to go with them in their little holiday trips, knowing that anything not the conception of his own fancy was but very rarely acceptable to him; and he was never one who would pander to your gratification merely to please you. 'James was fond of boating.