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Hi Carrol,

I agree that it likely included Eliot himself.
However  I wonder about how he figured his suitors' responsibility….. ( by the way I think it only matters to the extent it might learn you something about the writing).
Lyndall Gordon notes that Eliot said to Trevelyan that she had an ingenious way of putting him in the wrong. ( I recall this because it is near one of the several  medically naive observations in the biography). This suggests that he rejected that he was culpable or at least solely culpable in these matters. 
My attitude is that if you ask someone to marry you and they say no even once you should not be troubling them in future - that's proper behaviour. My mother taught me this so I have to believe it - not that i lived up to it entirely.
There is a nice turn on that old saw which a Hell's Angel had on his T shirt:
"If you love something set it free.
If it returns it is yours 
If it doesn't…Hunt it down and kill it."
I expect Eiot felt hunted with no Odysseus to come home and put the suitors on their way (  actually he fed their genitals to the dogs as I recall - but then he did that to everyone)
and Today's Gospel is the transfiguration where my namesake offered to build a block of flats for Jesus and the prophets to keep them just as they were so he could adore them.
But to be serious which as you may have noticed I find a challenge on a lovely day. I agree with your proposition about the illusion but I respect on principle those who theorise a Natural Law.

Cheers Pete




 
On 24/02/2013, at 6:59 AM, Carrol Cox wrote:

Peter Dillane:
Hi Nancy,

by "we" I meant society.

I did not mean to subsume you ( maybe not even me) in moral relativism.

-------

"Moral relativism" is an inevitable outcome of "moralism"; the remedy is to
drop the illusion of an abstract set of principles prior to and independent
of human activity.

In reference to the particular behavior at issue here, we find it
despicable, and "we" here almost certainly includes Eliot himself. And since
he was also a moralist himself, the result was probably a good deal of
internal conflict, perhaps finding expression in his writing.

Carrol

P.S. The interesting exchanges between you and Nancy are somewhat cluttered
by trying to respond to the trolls on the list. Their attempts to "defend"
what Eliot himself almost certainly did not lead nowhere but a buzzing
confusion.