CRITICAL CONSIDERATION 25
the laurel, he will feel the vanity of such a prize. The true reward lies in the revelation through the poem of his own triumphant inner force.
There does exist, however, an external prize for man; when, for example, the orator sees the faces of his listeners change with the emotions he has awakened, he experiences something so great that it can only be likened to the in≠tense joy with which one discovers that he is loved. Our joy is to touch, and conquer souls, and this is the one prize which can bring us a true compensation.
Sometimes there is given to us a moment when we fancy ourselves to be among the great ones of the world. These are moments of happiness given to man that he may con≠tinue his existence in peace. It may be through love at≠tained or because of the gift of a son, through a glorious discovery or the publication of a book; in some such mo≠ment we feel that there exists no man who is above us. If, in such a moment, someone vested with authority comes forward to offer us a medal or a prize, he is the important destroyer of our real rewardó"And who are you? " our vanished illusion shall cry, " Who are you that recalls me to the fact that I am not the first among men ? Who stands so far above me that he may give me a prize ?,; The prize of such a man in such a moment can only be Divine.
As for punishments, the soul of the normal man grows perfect through expanding, and punishment as commonly understood is always a form of repression. It may bring results with those inferior natures who grow in evil, but these are very few, and social progress is not affected by them. The penal code threatens us with punishment if we are dishonest within the limits indicated by the laws. But we are not honest through fear of the laws; if we