Being modern and being true

What is important is the depth, and genuineness, of the real confusion between being modern, and being true. We are, I believe cut off from ourselves, and cut off from the I, to a very great degree.

Is it even permissible, today, to please yourself? You see from this example of the bridge, how troubling it can be to please yourself, how, in order to please yourself, you may have to make a thing in which God is visible.

Much of the 20th-century difficulty occurred because the vast changes that have occurred in society led ultimately to one conclusion: a person was not allowed to be comfortable with his own self. And it is this which makes wholeness so hard to achieve.

It is hard, so terribly hard, to please yourself. Far from being the easy thing that it sounds like, it is almost the hardest thing in the world, because we are not always comfortable with that true self that lies deep within us. That I is almost frightening in its content. It cannot easily be faced. So we wince when we see it, and are more comfortable with Captain Marvel comics, and Superman, and technology like the cable-stay bridge.

To do that thing which comes only from the heart is so hard not only because it looks futuristic-archaic, not only because others may laugh at us when we do it, but because we may even sneer at ourselves, and wince when we see it, and cannot face the depth and ordinariness which it encompasses. For the sense of that futuristic-archaic feeling, when expressed in its true form, is the I which faces us.

(Pages 296-297)

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