There is a fundamental conviction which some people never acquire, some hold
only in their youth, and a few hold to the end of their days—the conviction
that ideas matter . . . . That ideas matter means that knowledge matters, that
truth matters, that one’s mind matters . . . .
Its consequence is the inability to believe in the power or the triumph of
evil. No matter what corruption one observes in one’s immediate background, one
is unable to accept it as normal, permanent or metaphysically right. One
feels: “This injustice (or terror or falsehood or frustration or pain or agony)
is the exception in life, not the rule.” One feels certain that somewhere on
earth—even if not anywhere in one’s surroundings or within one’s reach—a
proper, human way of life is possible to human beings, and justice matters.