The Force which wastes and that which does not waste

“And because she believes herself the strongest, she is altogether absorbed in self-adoration. Her energy comes from her pride. Her moral force is only the confidence which her material force inspires in her. And this means that in this respect she is living on reserves without means of replenishment. Even before England had commenced to blockade her coasts she had blockaded herself morally, in isolating herself from every ideal capable of giving her new life. (…)

So she will see her forces waste and her courage at the same time. But the energy of our soldiers is drawn from something which does not waste, from an ideal of justice and freedom. Time has no hold on us. To the force which feeds only on its own brutality we are opposing that which seeks outside and above itself a principle of life and renovation. Whilst the one is gradually spending itself, the other is continually remaking itself. The one is already wavering, the other abides unshaken. Have no fear, our force will slay theirs. (…)

A day came when Germany had to choose between a rigid and ready-made system of unification, mechanically superposed from without, and the unity which comes from within by a natural effort of life. At the same time the choice was offered her between an administrative mechanism, into which she would merely have to fit herself—a complete order, doubtless, but poverty-stricken, like everything else that is artificial—and that richer and more flexible order which the wills of men, when freely associated, evolve of themselves. How would she choose?”

Henri Bergson

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