The word is our bond

“There is a bond between us, readers and writers—an ancient tie as old as writing is, if not as old as speech itself, a pact, a promise which the act of setting down sentences in a moving way implicitly solidifies—that what we shall say shall be as true to things and to our own hearts as we can manage with our skills to make them; and that what we read shall be free and unforced and uttered out of the deepest respect for the humanity all language represents, whatever its content otherwise; and that this covenant (broken tragically, every day which history has been there to mark) is the model for all exchange of thought and need and feeling, and that this community, the community of unveiled countenance and free speech, must be sustained if we are to continue, either in the harsh and unforgiving condition of survival or in terms of every genuine enterprise of the moral spirit—in short, so we can say, though we may be here by genetic accident or god’s decree, that we deserve to stay.” — William H. Gass, “Tribalism, Identity, and Ideology,” from Tests of Time

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