World-weariness is only a desire for a better spiritual condition. There is more to be written on this subject of world-pain—to exhaust the theme would require a book. And certain it is that I have no wish to say the final word on any topic. The gentle reader has certain rights, and among these is the privilege of summing up the case.
But the fact holds that world-pain is a form of desire. All desires are just, proper and right; and their gratification is the means by which nature supplies us that which we need.
Desire not only causes us to seek that which we need, but is a form of attraction by which the good is brought to us, just as the amoebae create a swirl in the waters that brings their food within reach.
Every desire in nature has a fixed and definite purpose in the Divine Economy, and every desire has its proper gratification. If we desire the close friendship of a certain person, it is because that person has certain soul-qualities that we do not possess, and which complement our own.
Through desire do we come into possession of our own; by submitting to its beckonings we add cubits to our stature; and we also give out to others our own attributes, without becoming poorer, for soul is not limited. All nature is a symbol of spirit, and so I am forced to believe that somewhere there must be a proper gratification for this mysterious nostalgia of the soul.
The Valhalla of the Norseman, the Nirvana of the Hindu, the Heaven of the Christian are natural hopes of beings whose cares and disappointments here are softened by belief that somewhere, Thor, Brahma or God gives compensation.
The Eternal Unities require a condition where men and women shall be permitted to love and not to sorrow; where the tyranny of things hated shall not prevail, nor that for which the heart yearns turn to ashes at our touch.
Art and Religion
While this seems true in the main, I am not sure it will hold in every case. Please think it out for yourself, and if I happen to be wrong, why, put me straight.
The proposition is this: the artist needs no religion beyond his work. That is to say, art is religion to the man who thinks beautiful thoughts and expresses them for others the best he can. Religion is an emotional excitement whereby the devotee rises into a state of spiritual sublimity, and for the moment is bathed in an atmosphere of rest, and peace, and love. All normal men and women crave such periods; and Bernard Shaw says that we reach them through strong tea, tobacco, whiskey, opium, love, art or religion.