The Philosophy of Despair
That there seems no way out of this is the cause of the sullen despair of so many scholars of Continental Europe. The millennium is not in sight. It is farther away than fifty years ago. The future is narrowing down and men do not care to forecast it. It is enough to grasp what we may of the present. We hear "the ring of the hammer on the scaffold." "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." "The sad kings," in Watson's phrase, can only pile up fuel for their own destruction, and the failure of force will release the unholy brood which force has caused to develop. The winds of freedom are tainted by sulphurous exhalations. In all our merry-making we find with Ibsen that "there is a corpse on board." The mask is falling only to show the Death's head there concealed. Aristocracy, Democracy, Anarchy, Empire, the history of politics, is the eternal round of the Dance of Death.
When we look at human nature in detail we find more of animal t