All Influence Is Immoral?

Opening Comment: It’s not so much the validity or truthfulness of the content of this piece…. but the fluidity and poetry of the words.

“There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr Gray. All influence is immoral– immoral from the scientific point of view.” “Why?”

“Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else’s music, and actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly— that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals; the terror of God which is the secret of religion these are the two things that govern us. “And yet”… continue Lord Henry….

In his low, musical,voice, and with that graceful wave of the hand that was always so characteristic of him, and that he had even in his Eaton* days. “I believe that if one man could live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought,

reality to every dream— I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the miladies of medievalism and return to the Hellenic ideal– to something finer, richer, than they Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man among us is afraid of himself. the mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives…. we are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us….. excerpts from The Picture of Dorian Gray…Oscar Wilde…. visit me at…Frank

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