Philosophy, May 30th

“There are slanderous men and there are men who are beneficial. There are bad men and there are good men. There are skilled men and there are strategists. There are brave knights, there are clever knights and there are trustworthy knights. There are those who are ‘internal’ and there are those who are ‘external’. There are those who are skilled and those who are skilled in fighting.” – Mozi

“There is a contradiction immanent in the function of money as the means of payment. When the payments balance each other, money functions only nominally, as money of account, as a measure of value. But when actual payments must be made, money does not come onto the scene as a circulating medium, in its merely transient form of an intermediary in the social metabolism, but as the individual incarnation of social labor, the independent presence of exchange-value, the universal commodity.” – Karl Marx

“Accept the fact that the achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness – not pain or mindless self-indulgence – is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Happiness was the responsibility you dreaded, it required the kind of rational discipline you did not value yourself enough to assume – and the anxious staleness of your days is the monument to your evasion of the knowledge that there is no moral substitute for happiness, that there is no more despicable coward than the man who deserted the battle for his joy, fearing to assert his right to existence, lacking the courage and the loyalty to life of a bird or a flower reaching for the sun. Discard the protective rags of that vice which you called a virtue: humility – learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness – and when you learn that pride is the sum of all virtues, you will learn to live like a man.” – Ayn Rand

“Ironical people who employ understatement appear more attractive in character, because their object is felt to be not profit but the avoidance of ostentation. They also especially disclaim qualities that are held in general regard, just as Socrates used to do. Those who disclaim trifling or commonplace qualities are called pretentious humbugs and invite greater contempt. Sometimes their conduct has the appearance of boasting; for instance, Spartan dress; because exaggerated deficiency is as ostentatious as excess. But those who make a moderate use of understatement, treating ironically of subjects not too commonplace or obvious, make a pleasant impression. The boaster is considered to be the opposite of the sincere man, because he is a worse character.” – Aristotle

“Actions are regarded as involuntary when they are performed under compulsion or through ignorance. An act is compulsory when it has an external origin of such a kind that the agent or patient contributes nothing to it; e.g. if a voyager were to be conveyed somewhere by the wind or by men who had him in their power. But sometimes the act is done through fear of something worse, or for some admirable purpose; e.g. if a tyrant who has a man’s parents and children in his power were to order him to do something dishonorable on condition that if he did it their lives would be spared, and if he did not they would be put to death: in these cases it is debatable whether the actions are involuntary or voluntary. A similar difficulty occurs with regard to jettisoning cargo in bad weather. In general, no one willingly throws away his property; but if it is to save the lives of himself and everyone else, any reasonable person will do it. Such actions are mixed, although they seem more like voluntary than involuntary ones; because at the time that they are performed they are matters of choice, and the end of an action varies with the occasion; so the terms voluntary and involuntary should be used with reference to the time when the actions are performed. Now in cases like the above the agent acts voluntarily; because the movement of the limbs that are the instruments of action has its origin in the agent himself, and where this is so it is in his power either to act or not. Therefore, such actions are voluntary; but considered absolutely they are presumably involuntary, because nobody would choose to do anything of this sort in itself. Sometimes people are actually praised for such actions, when they endure some disgrace or suffering as the price of great and splendid results; but fi the case is the other way round, they are blamed, because to endure the utmost humiliation to serve no fine or even respectable end is the mark of a depraved nature. In some cases, however, the action, though not commended, is pardoned: namely, when a man acts wrongly because the alternative is too much for human nature, and nobody could endure it. But presumably there are some things such that a man cannot be compelled to do them – that he must sooner die than do, though he suffers the most dreadful fate. Indeed, the reasons that ‘compelled’ Alcmaeon in Euripides’ play to kill his mother seem absurd. Yet it is sometimes difficult to decide what sort of advantage is to be chosen at what sort of price, or what fate endured for the sake of what advantage; and it is still harder to abide by one’s decisions. For the expected consequences are usually unpleasant, and what people are forced to do is discreditable; which is why agents are praised or blamed according to whether they have yielded to compulsion or not.” – Aristotle

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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