Although Lawrence's writings are noted for more earthly activities, he shows a surprising knowledge of Biblical matters. In this book he analyzes the last book of the Bible-- Revelations-- and not too favorably at that. I cannot argue with his facts because I am not as familiar with them as as he is. What I find fascinating about this essay-book are his observations on democracy, and especially about life.
The last page or two contain one of his most remarkable and inspiring observations about the individual and his soul. Lawrence often argues that you cannot "save" you soul; you must "live" it. Near the end of this book he writes:
"What man most passionately want is his living wholeness and his living unison, not his own isolate salvation of his "soul." Man wants his physical fulfilment first and foremost, since now, once and once only, he is in the flesh and potent. For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos....I am part of the great whole, and I can never escape. But I can deny my connections, break them, and become a fragment. Then I am wretched."
The most poignant phrase in this passage is "...and ours for a short time only." Lawrence lived a shorter time that most of us will, but in his lifetime his output was as perceptive and prodigious as any author who has ever written. Scattered throughout this book are irritating but illuminating thoughts like: "But a democracy is bound in the end to be obscene, for it is composed of myriad disunited fragments, each fragment assuming to itself a false wholeness, a false individuality. Modern democracy is made up of millions of frictional parts all asserting their own wholeness."
Some people have taken that statement as proof that Lawrence is against democracy. But I consider it a valid danger for democracy, one that is being played out in the press every day. To preserve democracy, the best of all possible forms of government, we have to analyze and try to correct its failings and weaknesses.
Puzzle your way through this book. I hope you will find it as rewarding as I did.