The American Soul
As Reflected in the Questions of the Heart
Why Do We Live?
“....the world is what it is because man is what he is, that we cannot help the world unless we also help ourselves—not in the sense of self-gratification, but of helping ourselves discover to what greatness we really belong.”
Why is there Evil?
The State and the Self
“What Washington, and others after him, including Lincoln, feared was not the party system as such, but “the spirit of party.” By this term he meant the attitude that one’s own faction or part was more important than the whole; or, what came to the same thing, that one’s own party’s interests were the same as the interests of the whole. The “spirit of party” meant the commitment to fight for one’s own interests and to overcome, or even destroy, rather than learn from the opposition.”
The Spirit of Party and the Enemy Within
“Fallen self—inner slavery is the condition of being devoured by one’s own emotions, attractions and repulsions.”
How Should we Live?
“With the nation, as with the self, it is a matter of how one is engaged with the world, not so much with the objects of these engagements. It is a matter of attitude, discernment and, above all, freedom from unbalanced emotion.”
“To be independent—in a human sense—is to have one’s own mind and conscience, to be capable of consulting one’s own understanding and one’s own unique feeling without imitation of others and without anxiety about what one imagines will be their opinions and reactions. Speaking in religious language, an individual is said to be independent when he is answerable only to God. Speaking the language of Deism and the Enlightenment, an individual is independent when he is answerable only to—in Franklin’s words—the “Father of Lights”….