A man of letters attempts to speak with precision or to persuade the heart. To utter words that cut truth from falsity, or to cloak truth and stir feeling by propaganda. For either, a trial by peers provides the verdict of their success. For those who wish to analyse the nature of humanity, does this desire continue beyond a dedication to impartial empiricism? Does it continue beyond wide-scoped impersonal theories and into the individual heart? Many men made famous by their theories have turned to the task but how much weight can be placed upon what they say when they too, are thwarted by their own colours? When they too, are broken by their parents’ hands or bathed by love’s nurturing balm? When they too, are defined by the hands of others, whether they be extended with palms open or fingers clenched? For those men famed not for their empiricism but for their relation of love’s fickle being, do they provide greater insight? Why follow the couplets of Byron when they are mired in his own insanity? Perhaps, humanity is insane or perhaps, we can be analysed and predicted by the theories taught in schools of psychology. But, more likely, the patriotism that stirred past men to war, the feeling that joined lovers in sleepy towns and those rabbited away in every city’s innumerable dens comes from their own past as determined by their own experience. True identity is formed by the littered ruins of past kin and the ravages of the present’s turmoil. We must all find an individual identity relevant to ourselves.
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