" For diabolical this doctrine of Individualism is; it is the outcome of the proud teaching which declares it despicable for men to bow before their fellow-men. It has meant, not that a man should be individual, but that he should be independent. Now this I take to be an altogether deadly lie. A man should be individual, but not independent. The very laws of Nature forbid independence. . . . Independent, he puts forth no influence; he is sterile as the sands of the desert. For it is little less than an immutable ordinance throughout the universe that without intercommunion nothing is generated. The plant may reproduce on itself, but if you would rise above mere vegetation, or the lowest forms of animal life, there can be no true hermaphroditism; aye, even in the realm of Mind, ' male and female created He them.' There is but one thing you can do for yourself; you can kill yourself. Though you may try to live for yourself, you cannot, in any permanence, live by yourself. You may rot by yourself, if you will; but that is not doing, it is ceasing."
Afterwards he was to learn even more strictly from Patmore that the unit of the world has two persons.
As in the realm of Mind, so in the Spiritual. What might seem the culmination of secret Individualism, the Communion between Christ and the Soul, is made universal in the Open Court of Catholicism. However strict the segregation of Francis's spiritual experiences, they were, save in some rare and awful moments of estrangement, offered to Christ, through Christ to the Church, through the Church to the men from whose intercourse he found himself debarred. Tolstoy's " every man in the depths of his soul has something he alone comprehends, namely, his attitude towards God" is a thought divinely expressed in the " Fallen Yew," but it is only one aspect of the truth, as the single reflection in a looking-glass is but a single aspect of the thing before it. Second thoughts, like second mirrors, encircle and multiply the first impression.1
1 At this time he wrote to W. M. of an article in Merry England:- " The Franciscan article is decidedly good. But I am getting a little sick of this talk of individualism,' which only darkens counsel. The writer seems to mean by it not at all what it means to me-and, I think, to the Cardinal. What he calls regulated individualism many people would call Socialism. In fact, some Socialists claim the Franciscans as a Catholic and religious experiment in the direction of Socialism. It seems to me that you can juggle with words like 1 individualism' to suit your own whims."