Is Life Worth Living Journal

IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?

IS-LIFE-WORTH-LIVING

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ETHICS.
OCTOBER, 1895

IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?*

WHEN Mr. Mallock’s book with this title appeared some
fifteen years ago, the jocose answer that ” it depends on the
liver” had great currency in the newspapers. The answer that
I propose to give to-day cannot be jocose. In the words of
one of Shakespeare’s prologues, “I come no more to make
you laugh; things now that bear a weighty and a serious
brow, sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,” must be
my theme. In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner
in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly, and I
know not what such an Association as yours intends nor what
you ask of those whom you invite to address you, unless it
be to lead you from the surface-glamour of existence and for
an hour at least to make you heedless to the buzzing and
jigging and vibration of small interests and excitements that
form the tissue of our ordinary consciousness. Without
further explanation or apology, then, I ask you to join me
in turning an attention, commonly too unwilling, to the profounder
bass-note of life. Let us search the lonely depths for
an hour together and see what answers in the last folds and
recesses of things our question may find.
* An Address to the Young Men’s Christian Association of Harvard University,
May, 1895.-Afterwards read at the Philadelphia Ethical Society and at the
Plymouth School of Applied Ethics.
VOL. VI.-No. i I

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