Quotation by Walter Pater

The service of philosophy, and of religion and culture as well, to the human spirit, is to startle it into a sharp and eager observation. Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive for us,—for that moment only.... How may we see in them all that is to be seen in them by the finest senses?... To burn always with this hard gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. Failure is to form habits; for habit is relative to a stereotypical world; meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes any two persons, things, situations, seem alike.
Walter Pater (1839–1894), British writer, educator. originally published in "Poems by William Morris," &UN:Westminster Review (Oct. 1868). "Conclusion," pp. 210-11, repr. In Studies in the History of the Renaissance, Macmillan (1873).
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