the things common to all men are more important than the things peculiar to any men. Ordinary things are more valuable than extraordinary things; nay, they are more extraordinary. Man is something more awful than men; something more strange. The sense of the miracle of humanity itself should be always more vivid to us than any marvels of power, intellect, art, or civilization. The mere man on two legs, as such, should be felt as something more heartbreaking than any music and more startling than any caricature. Death is more tragic even than death by starvation. Having a nose is more comic even than having a Norman nose.This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government (helping to rule the tribe) is a thing like falling in love and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly.
G.K. Chesterton
It was a sordid scene. Philip leaned over the rail, staring down and he ceased to hear the music. They danced furiously. They danced round the room, slowly, talking very little, with all their attention given to the dance. The room was hot and their faces shone with sweat. It seemed to Philip that they had thrown off the guard which people wear on their expression, the homage to convention and he saw them now as they really were. In that moment of abandon they were strangely animal: some were foxy and some were wolflike; and others had the long, foolish face of sheep. Their skins were sallow from the unhealthy life the led and the poor food they ate. Their features were blunted by mean interests and their little eyes were shifty and cunning. There was nothing of nobility in their bearing and you felt that for all of them life was a long succession of petty concerns and sordid thoughts. The air was heavy with the musty smell of humanity. But they danced furiously as though impelled by some strange power within them and it seemed to Philip that they were driven forward by a rage for enjoyment. They were seeking desperately to escape from a world of horror. The desire for pleasure which Cronshaw said was the only motive of human action urged them blindly on and the very vehemence of the desire seemed to rob it of all pleasure. The were hurried on by a great wind, helplessly, they knew not why and they knew not whither. Fate seemed to tower above them and they danced as though everlasting darkness were beneath their feet. Their silence was vaguely alarming. It was as if life terrified them and robbed them of power of speech so that the shriek which was in their hearts died at their throats. Their eyes were haggard and grim; and notwithstanding the beastly lust that disfigured them and the meanness of their faces and the cruelty, notwithstanding the stupidness which was the worst of all, the anguish of those fixed eyes made all that crowd terrible and pathetic. Philip loathed them and yet his heart ached with the infinite pity which filled him.He took his coat from the cloak-room and went out into the bitter coldness of the night.
W. Somerset Maugham
When I first saw her she dropped her purse and was scrambling to find her glasses. I was two doors down on the right side of the hall, so I walked over and picked them up. I handed them to her and she slipped them on. Her hair was a mess and her face was pouring sweat. I was too and I was itching to get into my apartment. Living on the fourth of five floors was hot, but I had air conditioners in every room with big enough windows. The four machines made it like an ice box and I loved it. Some nights when it got cool enough outside, my windows would fog and I’d see my breath. I turned and walked back to my small place and she called out. Thank you! Most people don’t notice me! I turned back to her and smiled, our eyes locked. Her glasses were thick and they magnified her eyes several times. It was strange looking at them, but I kept my gaze on her for a few seconds as I turned back to my place. I looked her over. Her small breasts stood out against her stomach, which bulged slightly as if she was three or four months pregnant. I didn’t think she was, because she wasn’t straining as hard as I would think a pregnant woman would in this heat. She was attractive in a subtle way, not my usual type. She was tall, about six feet almost and her long hair was curly, the bones in her hands and wrists stood out. She was skinnier than I ever liked. I’ve always preferred girls with a heft to them. Something about her made me curious, she felt…different.
Todd Misura