“I confess I have not kept my senses in proper custody. I place no restraint whatever upon sight, hearing, taste smell, touch, except in so far as my naural sympathies or antipathies direct me. I cultivate them and refine them and sharpen them: but never mortify them. I hardly ever practise self-denial. Even when I do, I catch myself extracting elements of aesthetic enjoyment from it. For example, I was present at the amputation of a leg. Under anaesthetics, directly the saw touched the marrow, of the thigh bone, the other leg began to kick. I was next to it; and the surgeon told me to hold it still. It was ghastly: but I did. And then I actually caught myself admiring the exquisite silky texture of human skin…”

Posted June 27, 2003

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