Man’s happiness depends upon activity and only a very small remnant consists in passive enjoyment. Even the pleasures
which do consist in enjoyment are only satisfactory to most men when they come in intervals of activity.
Every vigorous man needs some kind of contest, some sense of resistance overcome ,in order to feel that he is
exercising his faculties.
Peoples actions are often determined by what they think they desire than by what they really desire.
Men and women make great moreal efforts and show amazing powers of self control, but all their effors and self
control, being not used for any creative end, serve merely to dry up the well spring of life within them to make them
feeble, listless & trivial.
It is not to socialism that all the men should have the same income, but it is essential that inequalities must be
justified. By inequality of need or service performed.
Syndicalism : Men might come to feel the pride in their work and to find again that and outlet for the creative
impulse which is now denied to all but the fortunate few.
Hardly anything is done to foster the inward growth of the mind and spirit, infact those who have had the most
educatiion are very often atrophied in their mental and spirtual life ,devoid of impulse and possesing only certain
mechanical aptitudes which take the place of living thought,
Belief that correct manners are more to be desired than the intellect or artistic creation or vital energy combined
with contempt for the angularities and awkwardness that are almost invariably associated with great mental power.
Hope, not fear is the creative principle in Human affairs. All that has made man great has sprung from the attempt
to secure what is good, not struggle to avert what was thought evil.
The life of instinct which is unchecked by mind or spirit, consists of instinctive cycles which begin with impulses
to more or less definite acts and pass on the satisfaction of needs through consequences of these impulsive acts.
Impulse and desire are not directed towards the whole cycle, but towards only the initation : the rest is left to
Most men unless the impulse is atrophied through disuse, feel a desire to create something, great or small according
to their capacities. Since creative activity affords full satisfaction to mind and spirit as well as instinct to
creation, The life of instinct is important, if it is unsatisfcatory the individual life becomes detatched and
separated from the general life of man.
Instinctive cycles should be fairly completed and not intterupted in the middle of the course. At present they are
constantly interrupted partly by purposes which conflict with them for economic or other reason, partly by the
pursuit of pleasure which pics out the most agreeable part of the cycle and avoids the rest.
For those whos mental life is strong much that was really good while mind remained in less developed has now become
bad merely through the greater degree of truth in their outlook on the world.
Inorder that human life should be good these impulses must be dominated and controlled by desires less personal and
ruthless, less liable to lead to conflict than those that are inspired by instinct alone.
What integrates an individual life is a consistent creative purpose or unconscious direction. Instinct alone will not
suffice to give unity to the life of a civilized man or wman : there must be some dominant object, an ambition, a
desire for scientific or artistic creation , a religious principle or strong and lasting affections
The principle of growth in a man is not crushed necessarily by preventing him from doing some definite thing, but is
often crushed by persuading him to do something else. The things that crush growth are those that produce a sense of
impotence in the directons in which the vital impulses wishes to be effective.
The worst things are thos to which the will assents. Often,cheifly from failure of self-knowledge, a man’s will is
ona lower level than his impulse : his impulse is towards some kind of creation, while his willl is towars a
conventional career, with a sufficient income and the respect of his contemporaries.
Impulse is deep and dumb because what is called common sense is often against it, because a young man can only follow
it if he is willing to set up his own obscure feelings against the wisdom and prudent maxims of elders and friedns.
In the moment when he makes his act of consent something dies within him. He can never again become a whole man
,never again have undamaged self respect, the upright pride, which might have kept him happy in his soul in spite of
all outward troubles and diffculties, indeed, through conversion and a fundamental change in his way of life.
Outwar prhobitions, to which the will give no asssent are far less harmful than the subtler inducements which seduce
the will. A serious disappointment in love may cause the most poignant pain, but to a vigorous man it will not do the
same inward damage as is done by marrying for money.
When the fundamental impulse is oppesed by will it is made to feel helpless , it has no longer enough hope to be
powerful as a motive. Outward compulsion does not do the same damage unless it produces the same sense of impotence
and it will not produce the same sense of impotence if the impulse is strong and courageous.
It is rather through impuls rather than through will that individual lifes and the life of community can derive the
strength and unity of a single direction . Will is of two kinds, of which one is directed outward and the othr
inward. The first, which is directed outward , is called into play be external circumstances, either the oppositon of
others or the technical difficultie sin undertaking. This kind of will is an expression of strong impulse or desire
whenever instant success is impossible, it exists in all whose life is vigorous, and only decays when their vital
force is enfeebled. It is necesssary to success in any difficult enterprise and without it great achievments are very
rare. But the will which is directed inward is only necessary in so far as there is an inner conflict of impulses or
desires, a perfectly harmonious nature would have no ocassion for inward will. Such perfect harmony is of course a
scarcely realizable ideal : in all men impulse arise which are incompatible with the central purpose and which must
be checked if their life as a whole is not to be a failure. But this will happen least with those whose central
impulses are strongest, and it will happen less often in a society which aims at freemdom than in a society like ours
which is full of artificial incompatibilities created by antiquated institutiona and tyrannous public opinion. The
power to exert inward will when the ocassion arises must always be needed by those who wish their lives to embody
some central purpose , but with better institution s the ocassions when inward will is necessary might be made fewer
and less important.
A life full of inhibitions is likely not to remain a very vigorous life, but to become listless and without zest.
Impulse tends to die when it is constantly held in check, and if it does not die, its apt to work underground and
issue in some form much worse than in whic it has been checked. For these reasons the ncessity for using inward
will outhgt to be avoided as much as possible, and consistency of action ought to spring from consistency of impulse
than from control of impulse by will.
The unifying of life ought not to demand the supression of the casual desires that make amusment and play on the
contrary everything outht to be done to make it easy to combine the main purposes of life with all inds of pleasure
that are not in their nature harmful.
Subjectivism is the system of directing thought and desire to our own states of mind rather than that to something
objective, inevitably makes life fragmentary and unprogressive. The man to whom amusement is the end of the life
tends to lose interest gradually in the things out of which he has been in the habit of obtaining amusement,since he
does not value these thing on their own account, but on account of the feelings which they arouse in him. When they
are no longer amusing, boredom drives him in to seek some new stimulus, which fails him in its turn. Amusement
consists in a series of moments without any esssential continuity, a purpose which unifies life is one which
requires some prolonged activity, and is like building a monument rather than a childs caste in sand.
Subjectivism has other forms besides the mere pursuit of amusement. Many men, when they are in love, are more
intersted in theri own emotion than in the object of their love, such love does not lead to any essential union , but
leaves fundamental separatensss undiminished. As soon as the emothion grows less vivid the experience has served its
purpose, and there seems no motive for prolonging it.
Only a life which springs out of dominant impulses directed to objective ends can be a satisfactory whole, or be
intimately united with lives of others.
The pursuit of pleasure and the pursuit of virture alike suffer from subjectivism, Epicureanism and stoicism are
infected with the same taint. Subjectivism is a natural outcome of a life in which there is much more thought than
action, while outer things are remebered or desired, not actually experienced, they seem to become mere ideas.
What they are in themselves becomes less interesting to us than effects which they produce in our own minds.
Increasing civilization continually diminishes the need for vivid action and enhances the opportunities for thought.
But thought will not have this bad result if is active thought, directed towards achieving some purpose, it is only
passive thought that leads to subjectivism. What is needed is to keeep though in initmate union with impulses and
desires, making it always itself an activity with a objective purpose. Otherwise, thought and impulse become eneimes,
to the great detriment of both.
In order to make the lives of average men and woemn less fragmentary and separate, and to give greater opportunities
for carrying out creative impulse, it is not enough to know the goal we wish to reach, or to procalim the excellence
of what we desire to achieve. It is necsessary to understand the effect of institutions and beliefs upon the life of
impulse and to discover ways of improving this effect by a change of institutions.