The Conduct of Life

By Benedetto Croce; Arthur Livingston | Go to book overview
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XXVIII
Innocence and Knowledge

INNOCENCE is no longer honoured as an ideal condition of life, and even the poets have ceased to glorify it:

Blessed Golden Age of primal innocence When virtue was not fell to man's pleasaunce!

For when the idyll is essayed in poetry nowadays, it is not the "innocent" affair it used to be.

And in fact what is innocence, after all? Innocence means inexperience of evil -- in one's self and consequently in others; and since evil exists in ourselves and in others, since evil is Present in all things, innocence' is another word for ignorance, It implies inability to understand ourselves, others, the world. It implies incomprehension of the imagery produced by art and of the concepts evolved by science -- for both art and science relate to experience of

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