Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/146

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But this knowledge of the past does more than instil lessons of tolerance: such indulgent skepticism is but the first step. The spectacle of change only increases the solidity of what remains unchangeable. It is one of the chief assets of history that it separates the rock from the sands that cover it. In place of the blind instinct of the mob it furnishes the moral unity of the family, cemented by the triple bond of blood, thought, and trials shared. It need not of necessity awaken fanatic chauvinism, but only a spirit of fraternal solidarity among all the men of one nation. Let each individual realize the links binding him to the community, and may his life become richer from his knowledge of the lives that have been and are to be. With such a conscience, he will see more urgent reasons for action.[1] The spirit which is evoked out of past centuries is for the centuries to come. If we would create strong souls, let us nourish them with the strength of the whole world.

The world—for the nation alone is not enough. A hundred years ago the enlightened Schiller said: "I write as a citizen of the world. Early in life I exchanged my fatherland for humanity."[2] Almost a century ago, the serene Goethe said: "National literature means very little today: world literature is at hand, and each one must labor to make it an ac-

  1. "History is to the people what memory is to individuals: the thread connecting our yesterday with our today, forming the basis of our very existence and, through experience, constituting the means of all perfection." Lamartine, in 1864.
  2. 1783.