Saturday, February 7

A passage from UPSC Question Paper

It is true that the smokers cause some nuisance to the non-smokers, but this nuisance is physical while the nuisance that the non-smokers cause the smokers is spiritual. There are, of course, a lot of non-smokers who don't try to interfere with the smokers. It is sometimes assumed that the non-smokers are morally superior, not realizing that they have missed one of the greatest pleasures of mankind. I am willing to allow that smoking is a moral weakness, but on the other hand we must beware of a man without weakness. He is not to be trusted. He is apt to be always sober and he cannot make a single mistake. His habits are too regular, his existence too mechanical and his head always maintains its supremacy over his heart. Much as I like reasonable persons, I hate completely rational beings. For that reason, I am always scared and ill at ease when I enter a house in which there are no ash-trays. The room is apt to be too clean and orderly, and the people are apt to be correct and unemotional. Now the moral and spiritual benefits of smoking have never been appreciated by these correct, righteous, unemotional and unpoetic souls. In my opinion the smokers' morality is, on the whole, higher than that of the non-smokers. The man with a pipe in his mouth is the man after my heart. He is more genial, more open-hearted, and he is often brilliant in conversation. As Thackeray observes, "The pipe draws wisdom from the lips, of the philosopher and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation that is contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent and unaffected."