Monday, 23 June 2008
'...only connect...' It sounds so perfectly expressed, so pared-down. But is it actually enough only to connect? Don't we need to do more than that? Connection is a starting point, or relationships would all be one-night-stands, and our social responsibilities would be a standing-back with 'there, I've connected ... that's all I'm prepared to do.' There's something similar in Swinburne's 'love the beloved republic', a phrase Forster was fond of quoting. Again it sounds splendid, and chimes with our sense that without love no republic can function -- that (in other words) law, authority and self-interest are not enough by themselves to make the republic cohere. But that's not the same thing as saying that love is fully sufficient. My mode of loving may be anathema to you, and vice versa, and yet we both need to get along in the beloved republic.