The Fifth Lesson of History, Part of blupete's Essay
"An Essay on History"
In Spite ... the Human Spirit continues, Invincible
"The lesson of life is, practically to generalize, to believe what the years and the centuries say against the hours; to resist the usurpation of particulars; to penetrate to their catholic sense. Things seem to say one thing, and say the reverse. The appearance is immoral; the result is moral. Things seem to tend downward to justify despondency, to promote rogues, to defeat the just; and by knaves as by martyrs the just cause is carried forward. Although knaves win in every political struggle, although society seems to be delivered over from the hands of one set of criminals into the hands of another set of criminals, as fast as the government is changed, and the march of civilization is a train of felonies, yet, general ends are somehow answered. We see now events forced on, which seem to retard or retrograde the civilization of ages. But the world-spirit is a good swimmer, and storms and waves cannot drown him. He snaps his fingers at laws: and so, throughout history, heaven seems to affect low and poor means. Through the years, and the centuries, through evil agents, through toys and atoms, a great and beneficent tendency irresistibly streams." (Emerson, Representative Men.)
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