The larger the group, the more toxic, the more of your beauty as an individual you have to surrender for the sake of group thought. And when you suspend your individual beauty you also give up a lot of your humanity. You will do things in the name of a group that you would never do on your own. Injuring, hurting, killing, drinking are all part of it, because you've lost your identity, because you now owe your allegiance to this thing that's bigger than you are and that controls you.
The arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with others in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.
A book is actually a place, a place where we, as adults, still have the chance to engage in active imagining, translating word to image, connecting these images to memories, dreams, and larger ideas. Television, film, even the stage play, have already been imagined for us, but the book, in whatever form we choose to interact with it, forces us to complete it.
Individualism is the self-affirmation of the individual self as individual self without regard to its participation in its world. As such it is the opposite of collectivism, the self affirmation of the self as part of a larger whole without regard to its character as an individual self.
For kind of sophisticated art I'm interested in, the larger structural rebuke has to be so subtle that it has to be distributed at an almost sub-atomic level. Otherwise, you fall into the kind of preachy, moralistic fable that I don't think makes for good literature.
The battle is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the active, and the brave. A small, disciplined militia can not only hold out against a larger force, but drive it back, because what they're fighting for rightfully belongs to them.
We could say that compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: an anti-poverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. And it implies larger scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to yourself and the world.
The life of a conscientious clergyman is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have chancery suits upon my hands than the cure of souls.