enigma

Self-development

-There is no such thing as good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral – immoral from the scientific point of view.-

-Why?-

-Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realise one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own soul starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of moral, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion – these are the two things that govern us. And yet (…) I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream – I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we should forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Ellenic ideal – to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self denial that mars our lives. we are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sins, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yeld to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what his monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. You, Mr. Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you with terror, day-dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere memory might stain your cheek with shame.-

-Stop!- Faltered Dorian Gray – stop! You bewilder me…-

Lord Henry Wotton to Dorian Gray,

The Picture of Dorian Gray

O. Wilde

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