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Quo magis mutatur, eo magis statur…

I notice that a breed of people is emerging which my soul deeply abhors. I do not see anybody becoming better, but everybody worse, at least those I know. And so I am deeply grieved at having preached freedom of the spirit in my earlier writings. I did so in good faith, without any suspicion that such a breed would result. I was hoping for a decrease in human ceremonies with a consequent increase in genuine piety. Now the ceremonies are discarded, but the result is not freedom of spirit but unbridled license of the flesh.  Some cities in Germany are filled with vagabonds – monks who have fled the monastery, married priests, most of them starving and naked. All they do is dance, eat, drink, and go whoring. They do not teach and do not learn. There is no moderation, no genuine goodness. Wherever such men exist, good learning and piety are in a state of collapse. I would write at greater length on this subject, if it were safe to commit it to writing…

– (emphasis added) Erasmus, from “Letter to a Monk,” Basel, Germany, October 15, 1527 (which sought to refute a popular saying at the time about the Protestant Revolt: “Erasmus laid the egg; Luther hatched it.”).

Comments

  1. Big Jon Bully says:

    Things are pretty demoralizing. Thanks, JOB.

  2. Louisa Orrock says:

    I forget to look at this website but was just wondering where to post about Ruskin and remembered this was a pretentious site. I picked up a copy recently and although my concentration is extremely poor, the descriptions must have influenced Proust. He mentions him to do with art history, unless I just read in the introductions he was an influence. But he is really very good. And ‘rusk’ backed up my idea that I wrote the books as an infant; I am not sure of this but I enjoy thinking about it occasionally. I am still working on my ‘definite proof’ about microscopes and have mainly concentrated on refraction, although I haven’t done much at all, almost nothing, since returning from a six month holiday in May, although perhaps partly because it was summer.

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