One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"To the Finland Station": Ernest Renan (1823 - 1892)

Ernest Renan (1823 - 1892)--French writer, scholar, theorist--does not get as much "play" as Michelet (only one chapter to Michelet's five).

Renan quote from Finland:
His [Marcus Aurelius'] virtue was based, like ours, upon reason, upon nature. Saint Louis was a very virtuous man and, according to the ideas of his time, a very great king, because he was a Christian; Marcus Aurelius was the most pious of men, not because he was a pagan, but because he was an emancipated man. He was an honor to human nature, and not to a particular religion. . . .  He has achieved the perfect goodness, the absolute indulgence, the indifference tempered with pity and scorn. 'To be resigned, as one passes one's life in the midst of false and unjust men'--that was the sage's program. And he was right. The most solid goodness is that which is based on perfect ennui, on the clear realization that everything in this world is frivolous and without real foundation. . . . Never was there a more legitimate cult, and it is still our cult today.

Ernest Renan
Work by: Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon (1818–1881)
[From Wikimedia Commons]
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