One Must Have Great Feelings

In the modern world where there are so many problems, one is apt to lose
great feeling. I mean by that word feeling, not sentiment, not emotionalism,
not mere excitement, but that quality of perception, the quality of hearing,
listening, the quality of feeling, a bird singing on a tree, the movement of
a leaf in the sun. To feel things greatly, deeply, penetratingly, is very
difficult for most of us because we have so many problems. Whatever we seem
to touch turns into a problem. And, apparently, there is no end to man's
problems, and he seems utterly incapable of resolving them because the more
the problems exist, the less the feelings become.

I mean by "feeling" the appreciation of the curve of a branch, the squalor,
the dirt on the road, to be sensitive to the sorrow of another, to be in a
state of ecstasy when we see a sunset. These are not sentiments, these are
not mere emotions. Emotion and sentiment or sentimentality turn to cruelty,
they can be used by society; and when there is sentiment, sensation, then
one becomes a slave to society. But one must have great feelings. The
feeling for beauty, the feeling for a word, the silence between two words,
and the hearing of a sound clearly-all that generates feeling. And one must
have strong feelings, because it is only the feelings that make the mind
highly sensitive.

The Book of Life - May 7

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