‘Let us take to ourselves no shame’

Therefore, if we built splendid castles… and pictured beautiful scenes, among the fervid coals of the hearth round which we were clustering, and if all went to rack with the crumbling embers, and have never since arisen out of the ashes, let us take to ourselves no shame. In my own behalf, I rejoice that I could once think better of the world’s improvability than it deserved. It is a mistake into which men seldom fall twice in a lifetime.

Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mershon Company, p. 15

Idealists and dreamers have a rum go in this world. The quote continues onto the next page saying, if someone can continue thinking optimistically about the world’s improvability, “the rarer and higher is the nature that can thus magnanimously persist in error.”

It’s easy to find reasonable grounds to despair of the world—but maybe the more valuable thing is to strive for a “rarer and higher” nature. We can all afford to be a little more magnanimous, without being deluded about the reality we live in.

I am very fond of castles in the embers of a dying fire.

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