Then what is the answer?--Not to be deluded by dreams.

To know that great civilizations have broken down into violence,
       and their tyrants come, and many times before.
When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose
       the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.

To keep one's own integrity, to be merciful and uncorrupted
       and not wish for evil; and not be duped
By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will
       not be fulfilled.

To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear
       the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and stars
       and his history . . . for contemplation or in fact . . .
Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
       the greatest beauty is
Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty
        of the universe. Love that, not man
Apart from that, or else you will share man's pitiful conclusions,
        or drown in despair when his days darken.

 

[Photograph: Edward Weston: Eroded rock, Point Lobos]