Professor Hirota laughed, exposing his teeth below his mustache. He had remarkably good teeth. Sanshirō suddenly felt a familiar kind of warmth. This warmth, however, had nothing to do with Mineko. It had nothing to do with Nonomiya. It was an endearing warmth that transcended his immediate concerns. He felt shame for having probed Nonomiya's affairs, and he asked nothing further. Shortly, the professor began to speak. --
"If at all possible, you should respect your mother's wishes. I'm afraid that today's youth, compared to my generation, are too independent. When I was a student, everything one did was in some way connected to others. All was for sovereign, parents, country, or community. This was fundamental. Of course in this context, all men of learning were, necessarily, hypocrites. When societal transformations rendered our hypocrisy untenable, we gradually installed individualism as a new banner over our ideologies and actions. At present, the emphasis on self has progressed too far. In contrast to the hypocrites of old, the modern era is teeming with self-professed deviants. Are you familiar with the term 'self-professed deviant?'"
"I just now made it up. You would be one of these self-professed deviants -- or would you? Yes, I think so. Yojirō is the quintessential example. Then there's Miss Satomi, whom you're familiar with. She's one too, as is Nonomiya's younger sister, in her own intriguing way. In former times, figures of authority were the only self-professed deviants. In these modern times of equal rights, everyone wants to be one. There's really nothing wrong with that. Open the lid of a stinking vessel and you'll find manure, and it's common knowledge that a splendid façade, if peeled away, exposes an ugly side. A splendid façade demands great effort, so everyone works in unfinished wood to economize. It's exhilarating to embrace a candid ugliness. However, there comes a point, if taken too far, where self-professed deviants start to offend one another. This mutual distaste heightens to a climax, and altruism swings back into vogue. Altruism runs its course and becomes perfunctory, then yields again to egoism. And on it goes. This is a fair depiction of the way we live. And as we thus live, we progress. Take a look at England. From times long past she's managed a careful balance. That's why she's mired in place. She produces no Ibsen, no Nietzsche. It's unfortunate. She's so self-satisfied. Yet seen from outside she's a rigid fossil in the making. ..."