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Going up a mountain track, I fell to thinking.
	Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole
along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the
current. Give free reign to your desires, and you become unfavorably
confined. It is not a very agreeable place to live, this world of
	When the unpleasantness increases, you want to draw yourself
up to someplace where life is easier. It is just at the point when you
first realise that life will be no more agreeable no matter what
heights you may attain, that a poem may be given birth, or a picture
	The creation of this world is the work of neither god nor
devil, but of the ordinary people around us; those who live opposite,
and those who live next door, drifting here and there about their
daily business. You may think this world created by ordinary people a
horrible place in which to live, but where else is there? Even if
there is somewhere else to go, it can only be a 'non-human' realm, and
who knows but that such a world may not be even more hateful than this?
	There is no escape from this world. If, therefore, you find
life hard, there is nothing to be done but settle yourself as
comfortably as you can during the unpleasant times, although you may
only succeed in this for short periods, and thus make life's brief
span bearable. It is here that the vocation of the artist comes into
being, and here that the painter receives his divine commission. Thank
heaven for all those who in devious ways by their art, bring
tranquillity to the world, and enrich men's hearts.
	Strip off from the world all those cares and worries which
make it an unpleasant place in which to live, and picture before you
instead a world of graciousness. You now have music, a painting, or
poetry, or sculpture. I would go farther and say that it is not even
necessary to make this vision a reality. Merely conjure up the image
before your eyes, and poetry will burst into your life and songs pour
forth. Before even committing your thoughts to paper, you will feel
the crystal tinkling, as of a tiny bell, well up within you; and the
whole range of colours will of their own accord, and in all their
brilliance, imprint themselves on your mind's eye, though your canvas
stands at its easel, as yet untouched by the brush. It is enough that
you are able to take this view of life, and see this decadent,
sullied and vulgar world purified and beautiful in the camera of your
innermost soul.  Even the poet whose thoughts have never found
expression in a single verse, or the painter who possesses no colors,
and has never painted so much as a single squre foot of canvas, can
obtain salvation, and be delivered from earthly desires and
passions. They can enter at will a world of undefiled purity, and
throwing off the yoke of avarice and self interest, are able to build
up a peerless and unequalled universe. Thus in all this, they are
happier than the rich and famous; than any lord or prince that ever
lived; happier indeed than all those on whom this vulgar world
lavishes her affections.
	After twenty years of life I realised that this is a world
worth living in. At twenty five I saw that, just as light and darkness
are but opposite sides of the same thing, so wherever the sunlight
falls it must of necessity cast a shadow. Today, at thirty my thoughts
are these: In the depths of joy dwells sorrow, and the greater the
happiness the greater the pain. Try to tear joy and sorrow apart, and
you lose your hold on life. Try to cast them to one side, and the
world crumbles. Money is important, but be that as it may, when it
accumulates does it not become a worry which attacks you even in
sleep? Love is a delight; yet should the delights of love, piling one
upon another, begin to bear you down, then you will yearn for those
days long ago before you knew them. It is the shoulders of the state,
the Cabinet, which are supporting the burden for the millions, its
feet; and the onus of government weighs heavily upon them. Refrain
from eating something particularly tasty, and you will feel you have
missed something. Eat just a little, and you will leave the table with
your appetite unappeased. Gorge yourself, and later you will feel
	It was just my as my meandering thoughts reached this point,
that my right foot came down suddenly on the edge of a loose angular
rock and I slipped. To compensate for my left foot, which I had hastily
shot out in an effort to keep my balance, the rest of me-- dropped!
Fortunately I came down on to a boulder about three feet across, and
all that happened was that my coulour-box, which I had been carrying
slung from my shoulder, jerked forward from under my arm. Luckily no
damage was done.

That is the first two and a half pages of Natsume Soseki's _The Three
Cornered World._ Gouldesque quotes from the remainder of the first
chapter will follow in another e-mail.

-Mary Jo