It is a sort of idiocy to talk about putting an end to all fighting, and turning all energy into some commercial or trades-union competition. What is a fight? It's not a rational* business. It is a physical business. Perhaps up to now, in our rational world, war was necessarily a terrific conflict of ideas, engines, and explosives derived out of man's cunning ideas. But now that we know we are not rational beings only; now that we know that it is hopeless to confuse the rational conscious activity with the primal physical conscious activity; and now that we know that the true contest belongs to the primal physical self, that ideas, per se, are static; why, perhaps we shall have sense enough to fight once more hand-to-hand as fierce, naked men. Perhaps we shall be able to abstain from the unthinkable baseness of pitting one rational engine against another rational engine, and supplying human life as the fodder for these rational machines.

Death is glorious. But to be blown to bits by a machine is mere horror. Death, if it be violent death, should come as a grand passional climax and consummation, and then all is well with the soul of the dead.

The human soul is really capable of honor, once it has a true choice. But when it has a choice only of war with explosive engines and poison gases, and a universal peace which consists in the most sordid commercial and industrial competition, why, believe me, the human soul will choose war, in the long run, inevitably it will, if only with a remote hope of at last destroying utterly this stinking industrial-competitive humanity.

Man must have the choice of war. But, raving, insane rationalist as he is, he must no longer have the choice of bombs and poison gases and Big Berthas [ie, huge artillery pieces used in World War I - GS]. That must not be. Let us beat our soldering-irons into swords, if we will. But let us blow all guns and explosives and poison gases sky-high. Let us shoot evey man who makes one more grain of gunpowder, with his own powder.

After all, we are masters of our own inventions. Are we really so feeble and inane that we cannot get rid of the monsters we have brought forth? Why not? Because we are afraid of somebody else's preserving them? Believe me, there's nothing which every man -- except insane criminals, and these we ought to hang right off -- there's nothing which every man would be so glad to think had vanished out of the world as guns, explosives, and poison gases. I don't care when my share in them goes sky-high. I'll take every risk of the Japanese or the Germans having a secret store.

Pah, men are all human, till you drive them mad. And for centuries we have been driving each other mad with our rationalism and universal love. Pretty weapons they have spawned, pretty fruits of our madness. But the British people tomorrow could destroy all guns, all explosives, all poison gases, and all apparatus for the making of these things. Perhaps you might leave one-barrelled pistols, but not another thing. And the world would get on its sane legs the very next day. And we should run no danger at all: danger, perhaps, of the loss of some small property. But nothing at all compared with the great sigh of relief.

It's the only way to do it. Melt down all your guns of all sorts. Destroy all your explosives, save what bit you want for quarries and mines. Keep no explosive weapon in England bigger than a one-barrelled pistol, which may live for one year longer. At the end of one year no explosive weapon shall exist.

The world at once starts afresh. -- Well, do it. Your confabs and your meetings, your discussions and your international agreements will serve you nothing. League of Nations is all bilberry jam: bilge, and you know it. Put your guns in the fire and drown your explosives, and you've done your share of the League of Nations.

But don't pretend you've abolished war. Send British soldiers to Ireland, if you must send them, armed with swords and shields, but with no engines of war. Trust the Irish to come out with swords and shields as well: they'll do it. And then have a rare old lively scrap, such as the heart can rejoice in. But in the name of human sanity, never point another cannon: never. And it lies with us to take the lead. Nobody else will.

Then, when all your explosive weapons are destroyed -- which may be before Christmas -- then introduce a proper system of martial training in the schools. Let every boy and every citizen be a soldier, a fighter. Let him have sword and spear and shield, and know how to use them. Let him be determined to use them, too.

For, what does life consist in? Not in being some rational little monster, a superman. It consists in remaining inside your own skin, and living inside your own skin, and not pretending you're any bigger than you are. And so, if you've got to go in for a scrap, go in your own skin. Don't turn into some rational-obscene monster, and invent explosive engines which will blow up an ideal enemy whom you've never set eyes on and probably never will set eyes on. Loathsome and hateful insanity, that.

If you have an enemy, even a national enemy, go for him in your own skin. Meet him, see him, come into contact and fierce struggle with him. What good is an enemy if he's only abstract and invisible? That's merely mental. If he is an enemy, he is a flesh-and-blood fellow whom I meet and fight with. I don't blow bombs into the vast air, hoping to scatter a million bits of indiscriminate flesh. God save us, no more of that.

Let us get back inside our own skins, sensibly and sanely. Let us fight when our dander is up: but hand-to-hand, hand-to-hand, always hand-to-hand. Let us meet a man like a man, not like some horrific idea-born machine.

Let us melt our guns. Let us just simply do it as an act of reckless, defiant sanity. Why be afraid? It is such fear that has caused all the bother. Spit on such fear. After all, it can't do anything so vile as it has done already. Let us have a national holiday, melting the guns and drowning the powder. Let us make a spree of it. Let's have it on the Fifth of November: bushels of squibs and rockets. And as a squib fizzes away, we say, "There goes the guts out of a half-ton bomb."

And then let us be soldiers, hand-to-hand soldiers. Lord, but it is a bitter thing to be born at the end of a rotten, rationalistic machine-civilization. Think what we've missed: the glorious bright passion of anger and pride, recklessness and dauntless cock-a-lory.

* I've generally substituted "rational" for Lawrence's "ideal," since the usual meaning of "ideal" nowadays is not as close to what Lawrence meant as "rational" is. - GS

D.H. Lawrence, from "The Education of the People" (1919), in Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D.H. Lawrence, pp. 659-661.


Fidelity and love are two different things, like a flower
and a gem.
And love, like a flower, will fade, will change into some-
thing else
or it would not be flowery.

O flowers they fade because they are moving swiftly; a
little torrent of life
leaps up to the summit of the stem, gleams, turns over
round the bend
of the parabola of curved flight,
sinks, and is gone, like a comet curving into the invisible.

O flowers they are all the time travelling
like comets, and they come into our ken
for a day, for two days, and withdraw, slowly vanish again.

And we, we must take them on the wind, and let them go.
Embalmed flowers are not flowers, immortelles are not
flowers are just a motion, a swift motion, a coloured
that is their loveliness. And that is love.

But a gem is different. It lasts so much longer than we do
so much much much longer
that it seems to last forever.
Yet we know it is flowing away
as flowers are, and we are, only slower.
The wonderful slow flowing of the sapphire!

All flows, and every flow is related to every other flow.
Flowers and sapphires and us, diversely streaming.
In the old days, when sapphires were breathed upon and
brought forth
during the wild orgasms of chaos
time was much slower, when the rocks came forth.
It took aeons to make a sapphire, aeons for it to pass away.

And a flower it takes a summer.

And man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than fora-
older than plasm altogether is the soul of a man under-

And when, throughout all the wild orgasms of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more molten
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks, a man’s heart
and a woman’s,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

D H Lawrence

A Sane Revolution

If you make a revolution, make it for fun,
don't make it in ghastly seriousness,
don't do it in deadly earnest,
do it for fun.

Don't do it because you hate people,
do it just to spit in their eye.

Don't do it for the money,
do it and be damned to the money.

Don't do it for equality,
do it because we've got too much equality
and it would be fun to upset the apple-cart
and see which way the apples would go a-rolling.

Don't do it for the working classes.
Do it so that we can all of us be little aristocracies on our own
and kick our heels like jolly escaped asses.

Don't do it, anyhow, for international Labour.
Labour is the one thing a man has had too much of.
Let's abolish labour, let's have done with labouring!
Work can be fun, and men can enjoy it; then it's not labour.
Let's have it so! Let's make a revolution for fun!

D. H. Lawrence

The relation of man to woman is wide as all life. It consists in infinite different flows between the two beings, different, even apparently contrary. Chastity is part of the flow between man and woman, as to physical passion. And beyond these, an infinite range of subtle communication which we know nothing about. I should say that the relation between any two decently married people changes profoundly every few years, often without their knowing anything about it; though every change causes pain, even if it brings a certain joy. The long course of marriage is a long event of perpetual change, in which a man and a woman mutually build up their souls and make themselves. It is like rivers flowing on, through new country, always unknown.


Sex and beauty are inseparable, like life and consciousness. And the intelligence which goes with sex and beauty, and arises from sex and beauty, is intuition.


I am so tired of being told that I want mankind to go back to the condition of savages. As if modern city people weren't the crudest, rawest, most crassly savage monkeys that ever existed, when it comes to the relation of man and woman. All I see in our vaunted civilization is men and women smashing each other emotionally and physically to bits, and all I ask is that they should pause and consider.

D. H. Lawrence


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