All That is Difficult Because it is Excellent

“It happens to be blindingly obvious to me that study, theological-philosophic argument, classical music, poetry, art, all that is ‘difficult because it is excellent’ (Spinoza, patron-saint of the possessed) are the excuse for life. I am convinced that one is infinitely privileged to be even a secondary attendant, commentator, instructor or custodian in some reach of these high places. I cannot, I must not negotiate this passion. Such negotiation, of which ‘political correctness’ is an infantile, deeply mendacious tactic, is the treason of the cleric. It is as in the unreason of love, a lie.”

George Steiner, Errata

Ah, George Steiner. Thank you.

7 thoughts on “All That is Difficult Because it is Excellent

  1. Not sure if you saw it, but I finally got around to doing a short post before the end of last year on Our Long Saturday. What a wonderful introduction to his thinking. I’m undecided if I should read Grammars of Creation or Errata next. Any opinion?

    • Yes, I saw that post but each time I tried to comment/like, I got linked to an 404 error page. Very strange. Errata will give you good overview of Steiner’s concerns, fine preparation for Grammars of Creation.

  2. This is possibly a non-sequitur or irrelevant, but this reminds me of the marathon runners’ saying, “Of course it’s hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it”. That has got me through many miles of training.

    • I shall bear that in mind if I accept an invitation before me to hike in the Alps this Autumn, but I can’t help think I’ll enjoy it rather less than a Bach partita, or a Plato dialogue.

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