Quote: The Last of the Wine, On Seeking Truth

There is no People here. There are twenty-thousand bodies, imprisoning each a soul, the centre of a cosmos no other sees. Here they pause, and in each other’s company trifle a little time away, before each takes up again the labour of his solitude, by which alone his soul will live or die, his long journey home to God. Who can do good, without knowing what it is? And how will he find it, except in thought, or prayer, or in talk with a few truth seeking friends, or with the teacher God has sent him? Nor will it come in some catch-phase that can be shouted in the Agora, meaning the same to all who hear; but by long learning of the self, and of the causes of error, by bridling desire, and breaking it like a hard-mouthed horse, and coming in submission to the truth again, only at last by long labour it will be refined like gold. None of these things will happen in a crowd; but rather bending like a reed before the wind of wrath, or fear, or ignorant prejudice, catching by infection a false conceit of knowledge, or at the best a true opinion, not weighed and sifted out. What is the People, that we should worship it?”

Mary Renault, The Last of the Wine