Sunday, January 15, 2017

Do you see the same truth?

Sampling Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham, acquired this weekend. It looks, in a positive way, like a long read. Virtually every paragraph has something new, interesting, or quotable such as Mary Soames (Churchill's daughter):
Being with them was like sitting between two lions roaring at the same time.
From page xix.
Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson in an essay on friendship, C.S. Lewis noted that Emerson once observed, Do you love me: acutally means Do you see the same truth? "Or at least," Lewis wrote, " 'Do you care about the same truth?'" Though they had their differences — Churchill wanted the British empire to survive and thrive; Roosevelt largely favored self-determination for colonial peoples around the world — they cared passionately about the same overarching truth: breaking the Axis. They also shared the conviction that they were destined to play these roles. A friendship like Roosevelt and Churchill's is rightly understood as a fond relationship in which two people have an interest not just in each other (though they do) but also, as Emerson saw, in a shared external truth or mission. Victory was the common goal, and only Roosevelt and Churchill knew the uncertainties that came with ultimate power. Theirs was, for a moment, the most exclusive of clubs. During World War II, remarked Isaiah Berlin, the essayist and a British official in wartime Washington, "each appeared to the other in a romantic light high above the battles of allies or subordinates: their meetings and correspondence were occasions to which they both consciously rose: they were royal cousins and felt pride in the relationship, tempered by a sharp and sometimes amused, but never iron-ical, perception of the other's peculiar qualities."

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