exception to the rule. We were still more inclined to think that there was not than that there was, Roland arguing that we were probably entirely physical after all, & that our personality depended in no more than the more or less of grey matter that composed the human brain. But he again confessed that this explanation could not be made to fit the soul's striving after impersonal aims, or that strange thing called duty which made one unhappy if the right but unpleasant thing was not done, or, more than all, that human idealism & heroism which deliberately chose something to its own material disadvantage because it instinctively felt that this was best. Yes, we said, if we were purely material then death was the worst thing that could happen to us. Yet people daily now were choosing death -- & he himself perhaps would be among them -- because they felt, because they knew, that some things mattered more than just dying or living & over these death had no power. We puzzled on over the question -- which in spite of its attractiveness is so very unprofitable, since no one in this world can come to any definite conclusion however much discussion takes place. And in any case the spiritual evolution of the human race now & here, independently of the fact whether it continues in another state of existence or not, is our concern here, since in this alone we have something not utterly unknown or impossible to strive for, & can feel the ground firm beneath our feet. Yet it is only in human nature to hope for a Hereafter, to wish that this vital sensitive thing that is one's self may not cease to be -- still more that what it loves may continue also. Although on this warm, sunless afternoon nothing else seemed to matter if Roland & I could be constantly together some time in
Brittain, Vera, Diary, 22 August 1915
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
22 August 1915
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.