The Summing Up, LXXV

Unexpectedly, Maugham is getting downright downbeat in the conclusion. He doesn’t have a great answer, or at least he’s implying there isn’t one. The finale of The Summing Up is going to be exploring the three values one might fight to live one’s life by, if one has given up on the whole Heaven bit. The first value he’s going to discuss—and he did this structure before, introducing three items on a list in one chapter, discussing the first one, then giving the subsequent items their own chapters. It’s annoying, just from an organizational standpoint. But Maugham doesn’t much think men have a use for truth. He argues it isn’t even a true value of human beings. Truth, it seems to Maugham, is just a person’s “effort to attach the prestige of truth to the fictions [they have] invented to satisfy [their] self-conceit.” What a prick. I love him.

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