Here, then, I find myself absolutely and necessarily made to live and talk and act like other people in the common affairs of life. But although my natural disposition and the course of my animal spirits and passions bring me to this lazy acceptance of the general maxims of the world, I still feel such remains of my earlier frame of mind that I am ready to throw all my books and papers into the fire, and resolve never again to turn away from the pleasures of life in order to resume reasoning and philosophy. For that’s how I feel in the depressed mood that governs me at present. I may— I must—go with the current of Nature in my dealings with my senses and understanding, and in this blind obedience I show most perfectly my sceptical disposition and principles. But does it follow that I must go against the current of Nature that leads me to laziness and pleasure? that I must to some extent shut myself away from dealings with and the society of men that is so agreeable? that I must torture my brain with subtleties and sophistries, doing this at the very time when I can’t satisfy myself that this painful activity is a reasonable thing to do and can’t have any tolerable prospect of arriving through it at truth and certainty? ·Why must I?· What obliges me to misuse my time in that way? And what purpose can it serve, either for the service of mankind or for my own personal interests? No: if I must be a fool (and all those who reason or believe anything certainly are fools), my follies shall at least be natural and agreeable! Where I strive against my inclination, I shall have a good reason for my resistance; and will no more be led to wander into such dreary solitudes and rough passages as I have so far met with.
Tnh 1 4 07 09