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Unformatted text preview: with the world and with living, "center of the
universe," HE himself must die, must be cold and still and have no will, no power, no feeling; be buried in the
ground. Most of the essential melancholy of the world is due to this realization, and most of the feeling of
pessimism and futility thus has its origin. Mortal man--a worm of the earth--a brief flower doomed to
perish--and all of it finds final expression in Gray's marvelous words:
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the
inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
 Hobbes made fear the most important motive in the conduct of man.
"Why strive, thou poor creature, for wealth and power; sink thyself in the, Godhead!" "Turn, turn from vain
pursuits; fame, the bubble, is bound to break as thou art." This is one type of reaction against this fear,--for
men react to the fear of death variously. If man is mortal, God is not, and there is a life everlasting. The life
everlasting--whether a reality or not--is conjured up and believed in by an effort to compensate for the fear of
I have a son who, when he was three, manifested great emotion if death were to enter in a story. "Will CHAPTER IX. 73 anything happen?" he would ask, meaning, "Will death enter?" And if so, he would beg not to have that story
told. But when he was four, he heard some one say that there were people who took old automobiles apart,
fixed up the parts and these were then placed in other automobiles.
"That's what God does to us," he cried triumphantly. "When we die, He takes us apart and puts us into babies,
and we live again." Thereafter he would discuss death as fearlessly as he spoke of dinner, and all his fears
vanished. Here was a typical rationalization of fear, one that has helped to shape religion, philosophies, ways
of living. And the widespread belief in immortality is a compensation and a rationalization of the fear of
If some men rationalize in this fashion, others take directly opposite means. "Eat, drink and be merry, f...
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- Spring '11