The Smile

From George W. S. Trow’s Within the Context of No-context.

What is so defeating is this everlasting good-spiritedness, this application of enthusiasm against loneliness. The expression of the force that seeks to go with the grain – actually to become the grain – is, everlastingly, a smile. But the smile is a lie, and it makes people glum. And the glumness then flows against the grain, being confident of its bit of truth: that there is a lie in the smile. In our time, nearly all art has been made from glumness and has had very little power, because I feeds on this tiny bit of truth: that there is a lie in the smile.

It’s so little to feed on. That little bit of truth. Feed on it only and you go mad. Nourished by just that little truth, how can you have strength to resist your enemies? The smile for instance?

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