chapter  5
23 Pages

Reverence

I feel, then, in a vague sort of way that I revere, or at any rate ought to revere, whatever in the universe I recognize as being nobler and finer than myself, and that reverence is the emotion which is aroused in me by the compelling power of this nobler and finer thing when I come into contact with it. Admittedly I cannot help feeling the emotion; nevertheless, I regard it as highly creditable; I also regard failure to feel it on the part of others as a defect. This is better, so far as it goes, but it does not go very far. For what things after all are fine and noble? We do not seem to be making much progres on these lines, so let us change our method and consider what are the things which people do in fact revere. If they do not revere what they ought, we shall have further to ask what ought they to revere. To establish the difference between true and false objects of reverence, is to demonstrate the importance of bringing up a generation to revere the former and to despise the latter. Only so can it avoid the mistakes of its fathers and its predecessors generally.