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Let others not mistakenly believe that he has adopted a non-cooperative attitude, has fled from reality, renounced a human existence in exchange for an illusory one in an imaginary world, or deserted the paths of sanity and reason. If he wants to live in comparative outer peace with them, he must make certain outer concessions. It is better to behave as unprovokingly as possible, to hide his deeper thoughts behind a screen, and to avoid being labelled as a religious fanatic or intellectual faddist. It is especially unwise to uncover one's philosophical thoughts before everybody. He must try to adjust himself smoothly to his environment. This is a hard task, but he must not shirk it and must do all that can be done in the given circumstances. He must fulfil his reasonable obligations towards society, must co-operate in turning the great wheel of human activity, must contribute his share in achieving the general welfare; but he should reserve the right to do so in his own way and not according to society's dictation. And because he has outstripped those around him in important ways, because he is already thinking centuries ahead of them, it is unlikely that he will succeed wholly in fending off their criticisms or even in avoiding their hostility. For with all his endeavours to placate them and with all his sacrifices for the sake of harmony, human nature being what it is--a mixture of good and evil, of the materialistic and the holy--crises may sometimes arise when society will attack him. If the inner voice of conscience bids him do so, then he will perforce have to make a firm stand for principles. It is then that he must summon enough courage to do what is unorthodox or to say what is unpopular and display enough independence to disregard tradition or ignore opinion. Up to a certain point he may walk with the crowd, but beyond it his feet must not move a step. Here he must claim the privilege of self-determination, concerning which there can be no compromise; for here, at the sacred bidding of the Overself, he must begin to live his own life. Consequently, although he will always be a good citizen he may not always be a popular one.


-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience > Chapter 2: Living in The World > # 340

-- Perspectives > Chapter 13: Human Experience > # 11






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