DESIRE AND DUTY.
Desire has urged us so long and so hard. We have persistently cuffed it into the corner and gone after new gods.
But despised Desire, deprived of its surface expression, has sunk deeper and deeper into our souls and refused to be comforted. After trying everywhere else for satisfaction, for a god. to guide us, we have come back again to poor neglected Desire. In our extremity we see Desire with new eyes: we begin to think, and to understand. We try to coax Desire out of the corner and make peace with it. “The stone that the builders rejected” has become “the chief of the corner.”
The only way to find peace is to follow desire. Desire is the only guide to heaven, and the road lies through hell. Worse yet, it trails a labyrinthine way over the dead-levels of indifference, where Duty lies in wait to nip its every expression.
Sometime you will grow to hate the dead-levels where Duty stalks. You will wake to the duty of being undutiful; to the desirability of following desire to the mountain-tops. You will look at desire with new respect and ask it to lead you up and out of hell and the dead-levels.
Hell comes before the dead-levels, you know, and all on the road to Transfiguration Mount. And when you begin to want desire to guide you you will have been a long time on the dead-levels.
Then desire will whisper to you that she is God and you want to follow her.
And when you agree she will begin by leading you straight away from Duty.
Many, many times your faith will not stand the test—you will turn back again from following desire. You will turn to duty because you are afraid to leave her.
Well, never mind; caution and conscience are good things and easily taught. Follow Duty when you must.