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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

from On the Lookout C.H. Sisson
Politics for the young was not so much politics as a substitute for religion - which did not enter the thoughts of any of those I took seriously except as an aberration which T. S. Eliot was known to be lost in. At any rate it was a matter of attitudes to life, or to such elements of life as we happened at that time to notice. In the course of my reading I had encountered a mentor who affected my attitude profoundly, and from whom you may say that I never recovered. This was T. E. Hulme, whose Speculations dealt firmly and controversially with all the things which interested me most. It was the perfect antidote to liberalism and romanticism. The first essay in the book, on Humanism and the Religious Attitude, begins:


One of the main achievements of the nineteenth century was the elaboration and universal application of the principle of continuity. The destruction of this conception is, on the contrary, an urgent necessity of the present.

Originally urged only by the few it has spread - implicit in the popular conception of evolution - till it has attained the status of a category. We now absorb it unconsciously from an environment already completely soaked in it; so that we regard it not as a principle in the light of which certain regions of fact can be conveniently ordered, but as an inevitable constituent of reality itself. When any fact seems to contradict ...


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