The Work is merely four questions; it's not even a thing. It has no motive, no strings. It's nothing without your answers. These four questions will join any program you've got ad enhance it. Any religion you have-they'll enhance it. If you have no religion, they will bring you joy. And they'll burn up anything that isn't true for you. They'll burn through to the reality that has always been waiting.
The culture of irony is the culture of postmodernism, which I would furiously want to denounce. We have to act ethically and politically. Irony is a defensive position, against reality. It always knows what to think about reality. The idea of commitment and engagement is central to me, which is not ironic.
Mankind's common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life's supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever.
The difference between Pound and Whitman is not between the democrat who in deep distress could look hopefully toward the future and the fascist madly in love with the past. It is that between the woodsman and the woodcarver. It is that between the mystic harking back to his vision and the artist whose first allegiance is to his craft, and so to the reality it presents.
I'd like something that faces reality. We have 12 million people in this country that are undocumented - that's a reality. It's not going to be like they're all going to leave. One of the reasons I'm holding this hearing in the morning is to hear from somebody who actually understands what's involved here - Janet Napolitano - and I hope that from what she says and what we hear from her, we can start building some consensus.
No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensable to the preservation and justification of existence in society.