Philosophy, June 2nd

“The traveler laughed heartily at this account of such an extraordinary trial, saying that notwithstanding what he had advanced to the disadvantage of such books, there was one thing in them which he could not but approve; namely, the subject they presented for a good genius to display itself, opening a large and ample field in which the pen might, at leisure, expatiate, in the description of shipwrecks, tempests, battles and encounters; painting a valiant general with all his necessary accomplishments, sage and penetrating into the enemy’s designs; eloquent and effectual, either in persuading or dissuading his soldiers, ripe in council, prompt in execution, and equally brave in standing or in giving an assault. One while, recounting a piteous, tragical story; at another time, describing a joyful and unexpected event; here, a most beautiful lady imbued with virtue, discretion and reserve; there, a Christian knight possessed of courtesy and valor; in a third place, an outrageous boasting barbarian; and in a fourth, a polite considerate gallant prince; not forgetting to describe the faith and loyalty of vassals, together with the grandeur and generosity of great men. The author may also shew himself an astrologer, geographer, musician, and well skilled in state-affairs; nay, if he be so minded, he will sometimes have an opportunity of manifesting his skill in necromancy and magic: he may represent the cunning of Ulysses, the piety of Aeneas, the valor of Achilles, the misfortunes of Hector, the perfidy of Sinon, the friendship of Euryalus, the liberality of Alexander, the ability of Caesar, the clemency and candor of Trajan, the fidelity of Zopyrus, the wisdom of Cato, and finally, all those qualifications which constitute the perfection of an illustrious hero; sometimes, uniting them in one, sometimes dividing them into several characters; and the whole being expressed in an agreeable stile and ingenious invention, that borders as near as possible, upon the truth, will, doubtless, produce a web of such various and beautiful texture, as when finished, to display that perfection which will attain the chief end and scope of such writings, which, as I have already observed, is to convey instruction mingled with delight.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

“Even the bourgeois, from his standpoint, grasps the position of the ‘underselling masters’: ‘The unpaid labor of the men was made the source whereby the competition was carried on.’ And the ‘full-priced baker’ denounces his ‘underselling’ competitors to the Commission of Inquiry as thieves of other people’s labor and adulterators of the product. ‘They only exist now by first defrauding the public, and next getting 18 hours’ work out of their men for 12 hours’ wages.” – Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

“Justice in this sense, then, is complete virtue; virtue, however, not unqualified but in relation to somebody else. Hence it is often regarded as the sovereign virtue, and ‘neither evening nor morning star is such a wonder’. We express it in a proverb: ‘In justice is summed up the whole of virtue.’ It is the complete virtue in the fullest sense because it is the active exercise of complete virtue; and it is complete because its possessor can exercise it in relation to another person, and not only by himself. I say this because there are plenty of people who can behave uprightly in their own affairs but are incapable of doing so in relation to somebody else. That is why Bias’s saying ‘Office will reveal the man’ is felt to be valid; because an official is eo ipso in a relation to, and associated with, somebody else. And for this same reason – that it implies a relation to somebody else – justice is the only virtue that is regarded as someone else’s good, because it secures advantage for another person, either an official or a partner. So the worst person is the one who exercises his wickedness towards both himself and his friends, and the best is not the one who exercises his virtue towards himself but the one who exercises it towards another; because this is a difficult task. Justice in this sense, then, is not a part of virtue but the whole of it, and the injustice contrary to it is not a part but the whole of vice.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism.” – Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

“From what I have said, I would have you infer, my precious Wiseacres, that there is a great confusion of pedigrees, and that those only appear grand and illustrious, whose representatives abound with virtue, liberality and wealth: I say, virtue, liberality and wealth, because, the vicious great man is no more than a great sinner; and the rich man, without liberality, a mere covetous beggar; for, happiness does not consist in possessing, but in spending riches, and that, not in squandering them away, but, in knowing how to use them with taste: now, a poor knight has no other way of signalizing his birth, but, the practice of virtue, being affable, well bred, courteous, kind, and obliging, a stranger to pride, arrogance, and slander, and, above all things, charitable; for, by giving two farthings cheerfully to the poor, he may shew himself as generous as he that dispenses alms by sound of bell: and whoever sees him adorned with these virtues, although’ he should be an utter stranger to his race, will conclude that he is descended of a good family. Indeed, it would be a sort of miracle to find it otherwise; so that praise is always the reward of virtue, and never fails to attend the righteous. There are two paths, my children, that lead to wealth and honor; one is that of learning, the other that of arms: now, I am better qualified for the last than for the first, and, (as I judge from my inclination to arms) was born under the influence of the planet Mars; so that I am, as it were, obliged to choose that road, which I will pursue, in spite of the whole universe: you will therefore fatigue yourselves to no purpose, in attempting to persuade me from that which heaven inspires, fortune ordains, reason demands, and above all things, my own inclination dictates: knowing, as I do, the innumerable toils annexed to knight-errantry, I am also well acquainted with the infinite benefits acquired in the exercise of that profession: I know that path of virtue is very strait, while the road of vice is broad and spacious; I know their end and issue is different: the wide extended way of vice conducts the traveler to death; while the narrow, toiled path of virtue, leads to happiness in life – not that which perishes, but, that which hath no end; and I know, as our great Castilian poet observes, By these rough paths of toil and pain, Th’ immortal seats of bliss we gain, Deny’d to those who heedless stray In tempting pleasure’s flowery way.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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