EARLY IN his career as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, S. Dillon Ripley paid a visit to the Museum of Natural History and noted a conspicuous accumulation of dust on the great African elephant in the rotunda. So he shot off a memo to the museum's maintenance staff, and "with uncharacteristic patience," according to his longtime aide Charles Blitzer, awaited a reply. The reply came in its own good time, and it was to the effect that "that elephant is a specimen, and building management does not handle specimens."

Advised to take the matter up with the curatorial staff instead, Ripley composed a fresh memo, and received a fresh answer, which, says Blitzer, amounted to: "This is an African elephant and African elephants roll in the dust. They are naturally dusty."

The dust -- that particular dust -- is gone now, and Ripley has carried his zeal for dust removal into other realms, gradually turning the public part of the Smithsonian from a cobwebby place where sober citizens went to soak up science and culture into a bright, sprawling, aggressively unpredictable education-and-amusement park that may well be, of all the institutions associated with the nation's capital, the best loved.

With a $250-million-a-year domain to administer, encompassing not only the museums along the Mall but the National Zoo and such little-known outposts of scholarship as the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., the 69-year-old Ripley has to be ranked among the capital's most powerful officeholders.

But his achievements have not been unanimously acclaimed. In the 18 years of his tenure, he has been accused, in public and at length, of a host of offenses against the purity and probity of official Washington -- of turning the Mall into a carnival midway, of shifting Smithsonian dollars and staffers around "to overcome restrictions placed on federal funds," of taking on commitments without notifying Congress (and then expecting Congress to support them), of spending too much time away from Washington (often at Smithsonian expense), of using his influence to boost the ornithological career of his son-in-law, and even of transferring birds from the National Zoo to his private aviary in Litchfield, Conn.

During one congressional hearing, Rep. Sidney Yates (D-Ill.) questioned Ripley and National Zoo director Theodore Reed about the removal of two ruddy ducks, and Reed was obliged to explain that "both of us, Dr. Ripley and the National Zoological Park, have been trying to breed them for many years . . . We had one pair that were not breeding, and we decided we would send them up to Litchfield to see if a change of location, getting away from the public and the other birds and any possibility of vandalism by humans, might induce these birds to breed."

Ripley, for his part, volunteered that while seven of the zoo's birds were then in residence at Litchfield, fully 50 of his birds were in residence at the zoo. Yates closed the discussion by suggesting that if the zoo had to have an outside breeding facility, it should find one unaffiliated with the secretary, because "there is a question of Caesar's wife here . . . "

Clearly, being secretary of the Smithsonian can be a trying experience. But it can also be a transcendent one.

RIPLEY CAME to the job in the days when, as he says, "You went into a museum and closed yourself away from the world and became very solemn-serious about it. You saw everywhere exhibits which were documented as precisely as the relics of the 'True Cross,' which, as everybody knows, were not real. You had to take it or leave it, as it were, and except for a few eager-beaver children, it was essentially very dull. You did it on Sunday afternoon after a big lunch.

"I didn't want it to be that way, because I didn't feel that's what museums were about," says Ripley in his soft but bristly voice. His wide tie tucked in at the waist, he sits on a blue-and-gold, Renaissance-revival settee in the center of his study on the second floor of the Smithsonian Castle, with a view across the Mall toward Capitol Hill. Behind him stands a 1690 Dutch insect-collector's cabinet and, atop it, a stunning glass-covered sculpture of a dodo bird, its feathers fashioned from barnacles.

"I said, 'You know, these museums are living places,' " says Ripley, who has been honored with the title "the P.T. Barnum of the Mall" in addition to his doctorate and 13 honorary degrees. "Children of all ages are here," he says. "They come to learn. They must learn because it's fun . . . They shouldn't be footsore and weary. They should have a carousel, because when I was small in Paris, there was a carousel in the Tuileries outside the Louvre, and you could go into the Louvre and look at Rubens and Tintoretto and so on, or you could look at ship's models of Louis Quatorze's fleet, or you could come back and get on the carousel and eat one of those wafers that's sort of like a waffle with sugar on it.

"So I began to think of things . . . I wanted to have Dutch music wagons and monkeys and hurdy-gurdies, and make the place a living experience, especially in the summer months. And that's what spawned my idea for the Folklife Festival--that we should take the objects out of the cases and make them sing, show that you can create things with these objects . . .

"There were people in the congressional hearings who appeared to be quite scandalized . . . Most people don't like a new idea, and the Mall had seemed to people in general to be a sacred sward. A "sward" is an area covered with short grass.If it is a sacred sward, then Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln really are buried here, and you shouldn't walk on the grass . . . "

Inside the museums, too, Ripley plotted a new course. Artifacts were put into everyday contexts so visitors could see how they had actually been used. Films, tapes and even smells were used to bring displays to life. It was Ripley's idea to add a chocolate odor to the 19th-century confectionary exhibit. At his suggestion, too, the Natural History Museum's elephant began sounding a ferocious and lifelike charge at periodic intervals, although that notion was dropped a few weeks later because, among other things, the noise frightened some of the museum's younger patrons.

AFTER THE murder of Martin Luther King Jr., with the soldiers of King's Poor People's Campaign about to pitch their tents on the grass across from the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian held an emergency staff meeting. It began with a high official spelling out the various statutes and tactics that might be used to protect Smithsonian property, in case things got out of hand.

"And in the middle of this discussion over all the ways we could keep people out of the institution," says Ralph Rinzler, director of the Smithsonian's folklife program, "the door opened, the secretary walked in, he sat down very slowly, put his hands together almost as if he were taking the measure of the vibrations in the room, and spoke up." The first thing he said, as Rinzler recalls, was this: "Above all, we must remember that the people who are coming here following the death of their tragically slain leader are citizens of the United States and are welcome in our museums."

From that beginning, Ripley sketched out the steps the Smithsonian might take--such as stocking up on soap and toilet paper--so it would not only be ready to accommodate large numbers of demonstrators but could house them overnight, if that would help avoid trouble. He even suggested busing people from "Resurrection City" to the museums on the Mall.

Then, says Rinzler, another subordinate rose and, in very agitated tones, itemized the reasons it might prove embarrassing for the Smithsonian to have large numbers of minorities and the poor touring the premises. In the new Museum of History and Technology (now the Museum of American History), he pointed out, the only sign of an American Indian was a woodcarving of an Indian threatening a Pilgrim with a tomahawk, while a sea-grass basket from South Carolina constituted the entire collection of black crafts. Otherwise, nonwhites and their products were confined, along with plants and animals, to the Museum of Natural History.

To this, according to Rinzler, Ripley replied: "Well, you're probably right." In subsequent years, the museum would come up with a number of remedies to this problem, including the bicentennial exhibit, "A Nation of Nations," with its lively emphasis on minorities and popular culture. Meanwhile, a photo exhibit of life in Harlem was hastily installed in the Museum of History and Technology, and the Smithsonian staged a series of concerts on a temporary stage inside Resurrection City itself.

As antiwar protests became a fact of life on the Mall, Ripley began holding impromptu psychodrama sessions in which Smithsonian staffers, the secretary included, acted the role of demonstrators and Smithsonian guards acted the role of themselves. "I would pretend to be a rioter and make the guards carry me out," he says. "I just rushed in and sat down with the work force and said, 'Now, we're all in this together and I want you guards to approach us and lift us up, knowing that we are citizens and we are here with good intentions and good faith, and that the Smithsonian belongs to all of us.' So they got into this very nice mood and when we had the riots, the guards were absolutely wonderful."

One of the biggest antiwar rallies, held on a particularly harsh February day, brought an astonishing 57,000 people into the History and Technology Building. "It put a lump in your throat," says Ripley. "It really was marvelous."

IT IS a splendid autumn morning, and Ripley stands outside the birdhouse at the National Zoo. Despite his dark suit and tie and the handkerchief that billows out of his jacket pocket, he looks relaxed and at home. The sun dances over his low tuft of sandy hair and warms his ruddy cheeks as he discourses on the mating problems of black-necked swans, on the incidence of child-neglect among sarus cranes and on the resemblance of the Argentinian red shoveler to the North American cinnamon teal.

"My, those black-necked swans sound healthy," Ripley exclaims, striding up to the edge of the exotic-waterfowl pond as two big, black-and-white birds swim his way. "That little whistling sound is the call of the black-necked swan," he says, "and the tone of the call sounds like a very well-adjusted pair, and that is always very reassuring to us."

"Well-adjusted," he explains, means "adjusted to each other. They're prepared to perform their main function, which is to nest together and mate." Swans, he notes, are cautious and choosy when it comes to mating, sometimes taking as long as two years to settle down after the death of a partner. "This is one of their young," he says, pointing. "How many young are there?"

"Just this one, sir," answers his official escort, Charles W. Pickett Jr., manager of the bird collection. A small man of Lincolnesque profile, albeit on a reduced scale, Pickett walks in virtual lockstep with his boss, who is 6-feet-3 1/2. Pickett looks at the ground more than anywhere else, speaks when spoken to, and even then keeps his remarks brief, to the point and deferential.

"How many eggs did they lay?" asks Ripley.

"They laid the normal six," says Pickett, "but three or four of them they just kicked out of the nest and broke. Last year we had better luck."

"I need a black-necked swan," Ripley mentions. "We just lost our male." He is referring to his own bird collection in Litchfield. "It never did well. It bumbled and bumbled around on the ground, and it just keeled over and died. So we have just the one female, and it's all ready to breed. If you hear of anybody who has a male black-necked swan, I'd like to hear about it."

Pickett says he will be on the lookout, and Ripley drifts away from the swans and their kin toward the cranes and theirs, by way of the carefully landscaped, caged residence of the brush turkey, one lone specimen of which perches somnolently on the limb of a dead tree.

Ripley looks at the turkey for a long moment before inquiring, "Have you got a male?"

Like the black-necked swan, Charles W. Pickett Jr. is prepared to perform his main function, which, just now, is to answer any questions put to him by the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, among whose 5,000 subordinates Pickett is numbered. But some questions are not as easy to answer as others. "That one is a male," Pickett volunteers at last, in a voice that betrays no awareness that either an error or a correction has taken place.

"My suggestion," says Ripley, also choosing to overlook the matter, "is that this is all too open." Brush turkeys, he says, "really like some feeling of being shut away before they'll perform . . . The ones I've seen breeding well only have one area where they can see people."

As Pickett notes the suggestion, Ripley moves past the stanley cranes and the crowned cranes, and suddenly he perks up. "Do you hear that loud chuckling sound?" he asks, gesturing toward the trees and the lower regions of the zoo. "That's the big gibbon -- the Siamang. I had a pair on a Japanese steamer once, and the captain was threatening to throw them overboard because they really make a terrible racket."

He has reached the demoiselle cranes, small in stature (for cranes) and gray with black, white and red markings. "They're surprisingly resilient," says Ripley. "They fly right over parts of the Himalayas." He has two in Litchfield, he says, and both are doing well. "The male is a confirmed egg-eater, but now that he can fly and she's pinioned, I'm hoping that the additional exercise will divert him from his egg-eating."

CRITICISM OF Ripley built to a climax in 1977, when the General Accounting Office issued a report charging a systematic effort to shroud Smithsonian finances from congressional oversight. Ripley defended most of what the GAO had criticized, but the tone of his defense was conciliatory, and in virtually the same breath he agreed to dissolve the research foundation that had aroused the greater part of the GAO's ire.

Looking back on it now, he attributes his troubles partly to "clerks in congressional committees deciding that where there was smoke, there was fire," and partly to his own "innocence" when it came to notifying Congress about such things as his acquisiton of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City. "I was relatively new to the Smithsonian," he says, "and I didn't realize how very nit-picking all of this business is. If you take on something, you really should report it to your congressional committees and make sure it's all in order. I just slipped on that the Cooper-Hewitt . I assumed we would raise fairly substantial operating funds from nongovernment sources . . . I just rather airily thought it could be managed.

"Then along came the mini-recession of '71-'72-'73 and we weren't getting all the money we needed to operate. So I did go and ask Congress for some support funds for the guards and maintenance of collections and the heat, light and so on. And it was their and their clerks' great pleasure to jump on my prostrate body and say, 'Now how about that? We never heard about this thing. It was never authorized by Congress.' And this struck me all in a heap. So I kind of walked into it and got it straight through the eyes."

In the wake of the congressional brouhaha, the Smithsonian has been "far more aware of the accountability that comes with appropriated funds," says one House staffer. "We know far more about their financial operations, although we probably could have known all this before if we had wanted to . . . "

THE SMITHSONIAN "has a very particular quality, and Congress ought to be proud of that particular quality," says Alan Fern, new director of the National Portrait Gallery. "If you didn't have that insulation from direct government control , I think the Smithsonian would be a far more timid and ordinary place. Any government is going to have trouble with this. What the hell, why shouldn't they?"

Ripley still insists the Smithsonian is "a quasi-official agency" and "not even demi-official." Whatever that means, he has fought hard to build up a base of nongovernment financial support -- "both to have more money and a different kind of money," says Blitzer, explaining that this makes it easier to, just for instance, hire an African tribal dancer to perform a dance (without first proving that no U.S. citizen could do it), or send a Smithsonian agent to an auction (without making him phone in for a new appropriation at every jump in the bidding).

One of Ripley's most unlikely money-raising ideas was Smithsonian magazine, which first appeared in 1970 and last year, along with the various other interrelated programs of the Smithsonian Associates, turned a profit of $8 million. The Smithsonian's board of regents originally turned down the proposal, and relented only when Thomas Watson, a regent and then chairman of IBM, agreed to underwrite any losses. "But as it turned out, Dillon was right and there weren't any losses," recalls another former regent, James E. Webb.

"Dillon isn't afraid of anything," says Webb. "He isn't afraid of a tiger or an elephant or a magazine."

Officially, Ripley serves as secretary to the board of regents, the governing body of the Smithsonian whose membership includes the chief justice and the vice president along with 14 appointees named by Congress. The regents are responsible for setting the institution's broad policy as well as for setting the secretary's salary, now $92,500 a year.

During the Ripley years, says Webb, the regents have often been called upon to tie up the "loose ends" of his initiatives--because "when you move fast, it's awful easy to leave a few loose ends." After the GAO's 1977 report, the regents pressed Ripley to let Congress see the whole Smithsonian budget, not just the federally appropriated part. And Chief Justice Warren E. Burger named Sen. Henry Jackson (D-Wash.), a fellow regent, to head a committee of audit and review aimed at avoiding further problems. At the same time, says Webb, the regents "folded in around Dillon" to protect him from being "unfairly pilloried."

"If it hadn't been for the chief justice and Jackson and myself and a few other friends folding around him," Webb concludes, "I think he would have been mortally wounded and many of the good things he has done for the Smithsonian might never have taken place."

"THIS KEEPS me sane," Ripley announces upon entering his laboratory in the Natural History building, a short jaunt across the Mall from his quarters in the Castle. Pulling open a series of drawers in a massive metal cabinet, he removes, in succession, a blood pheasant, a snow pigeon, a chough ("a member of the crow family that occurs very high up in the mountains," he says, adding that the name rhymes with "tough"), and a dipper (found only in Oregon, they walk on the bottoms of streams and "hold their breaths while they are turning over aquatic rocks and looking for insects"). Some of these are study specimens for a paper on the birds of Bhutan, which Ripley will coauthor with his Indian colleague Salim Ali.

"This bird was shot at 14,000 feet," he says, indicating the blood pheasant. Ripley belongs to the old school of ornithology, which believes in the need to shoot birds in order to study them. As one of his coworkers explains, "You get comparative material that is prepared scientifically and logged away like a book and continuously studied, decade after decade."

But this is a "politically explosive" issue, the coworker adds; many of today's ornithologists "grow up with the inculcated feeling that collecting is not necessary and it's bad."

On a side table sits a massive, lavishly illustrated survey of the family of wading birds called rails, which "took about 17 years to do," says Ripley. It and a 10-volume "Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan," another project with Salim Ali, are the major ornithological enterprises that have occupied Ripley during his years at the Smithsonian.

The handbook is now well into its second edition, with Ripley still busy "filling in gaps," because, he explains, when you publish a book about birds, "people who never bothered to answer your letters before--when you were working on the volume--write in and say, 'Why didn't you ask me about where the purple-tailed throstle is?' I've seen it in the winter in the so-and-so hills.' I always view this with great enthusiasm because then you can get that into the second edition: 'As my correspondent, Mr. or Mrs. X-Y-Z has written in, it is true that the purple-tailed throstle does occur in these hills.' There are just reams of this kind of thing that surface once you get a book out."

Both books have involved considerable travel, as have his administrative duties. He has been to Bhutan "four or five times," he says. Over the last two weeks, he has been in Egypt and Morocco on behalf of the new annex to the Freer--"our jewel of Eastern and Islamic art," he has called it--now scheduled to open in 1986. Even when he is on home shores, Ripley regards Litchfield as a "duty station away from Washington," and he found it necessary during his congressional battles to prepare an elaborate memo defending the concept, complete with a history of past secretaries and their "duty stations away from Washington."

The Smithsonian secretaryship is "not exactly in the Washington bureaucratic tradition," says Ripley, but "everything I've done is in the tradition of my predecessors. It has been assumed up through my appointment that the secretary of the Smithsonian ought to be someone who has an active professional life."

Criticism on this front reflects a misunderstanding of what the Smithsonian is about, says Lawrence E. Taylor, coordinator of public information. "In the minds of the public, the Smithsonian is a collection of museums," says Taylor. "In the minds of the curators and the secretaries, the Smithsonian is a scientific organization that just happens to run museums as well . . . It is a cherished tradition and a very important one at the institution that secretaries be allowed and be encouraged to carry on their own research." (In fiscal 1982, the Smithsonian spent about $44 million on research, compared to $17 million on exhibitions.)

As an alumnus of Yale, Ripley is far from unique in the high echelons of the Smithsonian. Yale also has helped educate Blitzer, the assistant secretary for history and art (who will be leaving early next year to become director of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina); David Challinor, assistant secretary for science; Roger G. Kennedy, director of the Museum of American History, and George E. Watson, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Museum of Natural History. Princeton and Harvard also have played notable roles in molding the current Smithsonian leadership.

As a result, one former Castle dweller describes the Smithsonian as "the 11th Ivy League campus." Its "greatest act of preservation," he says, "is its preservation of the way things used to work. It's a living museum of the old-boy network." But the quality of the research staff is such, he is quick to add, that "if it had students, it would be the best university in town."

Ralph Rinzler, himself a Swarth-more graduate, says, "You can't work here and not be aware of the fact that it has a very patrician identity. But I don't think Ripley is in the least arch or snobbish. He is someone who negotiates between people of all intellectual levels and many economic levels. He understands how society works and the world works, and he's made it work to the advantage of this country and this institution."

"THE ASTRONAUTS," says James Webb, the former regent who also once ran the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, "used to talk about the financial people at NASA as being 'bean people.' Dillon Ripley, he didn't want to be one of the bean people. He wanted to move."

Webb says Ripley has an "acid way of talking," which has been known to make enemies. But there is impressive evidence that Ripley has another way of talking, too.

When the Smithsonian was just one of several groups with designs on the old Renwick Building on Lafayette Square, Ripley paid a call on President Lyndon B. Johnson with a view to promoting the building's virtues as a decorative-arts adjunct to the National Collection of Fine Arts. Ripley went at the subject in a roundabout way, painting a picture of a long, hard presidential bargaining session with a Third World leader -- over an arms deal, he hypothesized -- followed by "a pause in the discussion when there's really nothing left to say." At such a moment, said Ripley to Johnson, "if you could take them by the arm and walk them from Blair House next door and show them these arts and crafts . . . you could say, 'Mr. President, you see we have a heart too.'

"Well, he gave a great guffaw of laughter," says Ripley, "and he said, 'That's a great idea.' And I said, 'Well, right next door there's this building that's just up for grabs . . . And he said, 'It's a nice afternoon. Let's go over and see it.' So I said, 'Well, great, Mr. President. Let's just stroll over there and have a look at it. So we walked across the street and went into the Renwick. We had a wonderful time . . . and he said, 'Gee, this is great, this is wonderful. I think you ought to have it.' It was as simple as that."

Ripley also was instrumental in getting uranium magnate Joseph Hirshhorn to give 12,000 works of art and $6 million to the museum that -- after considerable controversy -- now bears his name. "People used to say, 'Oh, the Guggenheim Museum is not going to attract any donors, any gifts, because it's got the name Guggenheim all over it," says Ripley. "Well, it's not true. After a certain period of time, the name just becomes submerged. It becomes a taxi driver's address. Until very recently, if you got in a taxi and said, 'I want to go to the Mellon,' they would know where you wanted to go better than if you said 'the National Gallery.' "

The question has renewed relevance because, next spring, construction will begin on Ripley's biggest project to date -- the $75-million Quadrangle complex, housing underground museums of Asian and African art, with pavilion entrances that will peek out into the gardens in front of the Smithsonian Castle along Independence Avenue SW. The single most important element in the Quadrangle project's financial package is the $50-million art collection and $4 million in construction funds donated by Dr. Arthur M. Sackler to what will be called the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art.

The conversations leading up to the Sackler gift date back several years, and Ripley deserves "the lion's share of the credit," according to Thomas Lawton, director of the Freer. Ripley heard about the Sackler collection through a chance meeting with one of Sackler's lawyers. Later, he went to view some of Sackler's oriental art works in the Metropolitan Museum.

"Then he invited me over to his house," says Ripley. "He said he had interesting things there, and I had this funny experience. I walked into one of the rooms -- it turned out to be a bedroom, in fact his bedroom -- and there was a bed in it which I recognized. A Chinese Ming period 'seating area.' They didn't use them for beds. They used them for sort of big sofas . . . And I said, 'Oh, I've seen that bed before . . . ' And Dr. Sackler said, 'You have?' And I said, 'Yes, I have. Who was it? It was Bill Drummond.'" Drummond was an old friend of Ripley's and a fellow veteran of the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime antecedent to the CIA.

"And he practically fell over," Ripley continues. "He said, 'I bought that from Bill Drummond!' And there it was in Sackler's house--absolutely beautiful! Sort of a link between us . . . I didn't know what he was going to do with his collection . He was talking about giving things to Princeton and Columbia and to Harvard and the Metropolitan. And finally he began making little noises about the Freer and what we were doing. So when we decided to go ahead with this addition to the Freer, I wrote him about it and talked to him about it. Not very passionately. We just kept up a rather desultory dialogue. And this winter he really got very interested. It was just like that."

BOTH RIPLEY and his wife, Mary Moncrieffe Livingston Ripley, served in the OSS during the war. He was a 28-year-old PhD and assistant curator of birds at the Smithsonian when his country called. It was the spring of 1942. "The reason I got involved with the OSS," he explains, "was that I had spent three years just before the war in the South Seas and Southeast Asia. And I had spent quite a lot of time in India . . . and I had lived in these places not as a member of the Texaco Oil Co. or as a salesman for Remington Rand, but rather as someone who was traveling in the forest and looking for birds . . . They were looking for people like me, and there weren't very many of us."

He spent his tour of duty in India, lower Burma and Thailand, with occasional side trips to China, where his future wife was assigned. Since their marriage in 1949, she has joined her husband on six major ornithological expeditions. Another sign of their closeness is the frequent involvement of Ripley's Smithsonian staff in handling personal and family matters, including arrangements related to the weddings of two of the Ripleys' daughters this year.

"It's inevitable," says James M. Hobbins, Ripley's executive assistant, "that certain of the things in Mr. Ripley's life that someone would view as an entirely personal affair will be handled in one way or another in the office. It's merely a product of the fact that his personal life is not cleanly separable from his official life . . . There are probably lots of ways that the conduct of the office could be portrayed as evil. I just think it's normal."

WITHIN THE Smithsonian, rumors of Ripley's imminent departure have been rife lately, but he insists there are no such plans on his agenda. "I serve at the pleasure of the regents," he observes with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "It never used to be a particular issue. Four of my predecessors died in office. It was sort of like the Supreme Court."

The responsibilities of the job range as widely as the Smithsonian itself, and there is a certain amount of psychological as well as literal flying around. "You have to visualize that your brain is like a vast desk full of pigeonholes with discrete compartments," Ripley says, "so that you can, without an excessive amount of strain--and feeling contented as well as cool in the process--switch from one subject to another. You mustn't get frustrated if you can possibly avoid it. Otherwise, you lose your health. You mustn't assume that it isn't for the general good and your own good, too, that you are constantly being torn apart in your mind."

But "if you feel that your life is a continuing experience of learning and enlarging your perceptions," he adds, "then a lot of this is very welcome. I find it rather enriching myself."