The Disagreeable Girl’s mind and soul have not kept pace with her body. Yesterday she was a slave, sold in a Circassian mart, and freedom to her is so new and strange that she is unfamiliar with her environment, and she does not know what to do with it.
The tragedy she works, according to George Bernard Shaw, is through the fact that very often good men, blinded by the glamour of sex, imagine they love the Disagreeable Girl, when what they love is their own ideal—an image born in their own minds.
Nature is both a trickster and a humorist, and ever sets the will of the species beyond the discernment of the individual. The picador has to blindfold his horse in order to get him into the bull-ring, and likewise, Dan Cupid does the myopic to a purpose.
For aught we know, the lovely Beatrice of Dante was only a Disagreeable Girl, clothed in a poet’s fancy, and idealized by a dreamer. Fortunate was Dante that he worshipped her afar, that he never knew her well enough to be undeceived, and so walked through life in love with love, sensitive, saintly, sweetly sad and most divinely happy in his melancholy.
There is known to me a prominent business house that by the very force of its directness and worth has incurred the enmity of many rivals. In fact, there is a very general conspiracy on hand to put the institution down and out. In talking with a young man employed by this house, he yawned and said, “Oh, in this quarrel I am neutral.”
“But you get your bread and butter from this firm, and in a matter where the very life of the institution is concerned, I do not see how you can be a neutral.”
And he changed the subject.
I think that if I enlisted in the Japanese army I would not be a neutral.
Business is a fight—a continual struggle—just as life is. Man has reached his present degree of development through struggle. Struggle there must be and always will be. The struggle began as purely physical; as man evolved it shifted ground to the mental, psychic, and the spiritual, with a few dashes of cave-man proclivities still left. But depend upon it, the struggle will always be—life is activity. And when it gets to be a struggle in well-doing, it will still be a struggle. When inertia gets the better of you it is time to telephone to the undertaker.
The only real neutral in this game of life is a dead one.
Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but of every other good thing.
A business that is not safeguarded on every side by active, alert, attentive, vigilant men is gone. As oxygen is the disintegrating principle of life, working night and day to dissolve, separate, pull apart and dissipate, so there is something in business that continually tends to scatter, destroy and shift possession from this man to that. A million mice nibble eternally at every business venture.