Open main menu

Page:Woman and her possibilities.djvu/30

This page has been validated.
24
WOMAN AND

tions, a person whose virtues consist of merely negative vices.

"It is a curiously inverted view of morals, the view which regards as praiseworthy those narrow, inexperienced, poverty-stricken souls whose slender virtue consists in the evil they have omitted to do. To renounce the world, to renounce life, to renounce the self—this is not the path of the moral life. The timid little souls who live in a corner and keep out of harm's way by keeping out of the way of good, are not moral persons. They are not even harmless, for by their cowardice they inspire others with a similar lack of courage."

"Morality, in the most general sense, represents the code under which activities are best carried on, and is worked out in the school of experience." "At bottom, conscience, instinct, and intuition are but inductions from individual or race experience so swiftly drawn that we do not at first recognize their origin." This means that when we get to the true heart of things, our feelings will tell us instinctively if the act is right or wrong, helpful or harmful, elevating to us and others or a violating our best nature. The tenderest humanity, like the lily, will at times, gradually and unostentatiously, push aside all sorts of palaeo-ethical traditions and neoethical conventions, and will put forth its fairest and purest flowers and bring forth its finest fruit, unstained and unashamed.

The utmost efforts of education in after-life may possibly be sufficient or may fail to free us from the trammels which the circumstances of our birth and early training have imposed upon us. On the other hand, some moral cataclysm may overtake us and sweep away our rags of conventionalism as in the scenes of a dissolving view. There are circumstances in which a woman may, with all decency