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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Unprofessional Sermons         209

of our ground and be quite certain that we really do like a
thing before we say we do. When you cannot decide whether
you like a thing or not, nothing is easier than to say so and
to hang it up among the uncertainties. Or when you know
you do not know and are in such doubt as to see no chance
of deciding, then you may take one side or the other pro-
visionally and throw yourself into it. This will sometimes
make you uncomfortable, and you will feel you have taken
the wrong side and thus learn that the other was the right
one. Sometimes you will feel you have done right. Any way
ere long you will know more about it. But there must have
been a secret treaty with yourself to the effect that the
decision was provisional only. For, after all, the most im-
portant first principle in this matter is the not lightly think-
ing you know what you like till you have made sure of your
ground. I was nearly forty before I felt how stupid it was to
pretend to know things that I did not know and I still often
catch myself doing so. Not one of my school-masters taught
me this, but altogether otherwise.

I should like to like Schumann's music better than I do;
I dare say I could make myself like it better if I tried ; but
I do not like having to try to make myself like things ; I
like things that make me like them at once and no trying
at all.

iii

To know whether you are enjoying a piece of music or not
you must see whether you find yourself looking at the adver-
tisements of Pear's soap at the end of the programme.

De Minimis non Curat Lex

i

Yes, but what is a minimum ? Sometimes a maximum is
a minimum, and sometimes the other way about. If you
know you know, and if you don't you don't.

ii

Yes, but what is a minimum ? So increased material weight
involves increased moral weight, but where does there begin