papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

The letters of William James

To Henry Rutgers Marshall.
CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 8 [1899]
We're the most loathsomely canting crew that God ever made. Kipling knows perfectly well that our camps in the tropics are not college settlements or our armies bands of philanthropists, slumming it; and I think it a shame that he should represent us to ourselves in that light. I wish he would try a bit interpreting the savage soul to us, as he could, instead of using such official and conventional phrases as "half-devil and half-child," which leaves the whole insides out.
To Mrs. Henry Whitman.
CHOCORUA, June 7, 1899.
As for me, my bed is made: I am against bigness and greatness in all their forms, and with the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of man's pride, if you give them time. The bigger the unit you deal with, the hollower, the more brutal, the more mendacious is the life displayed. So I am against all big organizations as such, national ones first and foremost; against all big successes and big results; and in favor of the eternal forces of truth which always work in the individual and immediately unsuccessful way, under-dogs always, till history comes, after they are long dead, and puts them on the top.
To William M. Salter.
BAD-NAUHEIM, Sept. n, 1899.
Damn it, America does n't know the meaning of the word corruption compared with Europe! Corruption is so permanently organized here that it is n't thought of as such it is so transient and shifting in America as to make an outcry whenever it appears.
Tags: Джемс

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