Philosophy, July 16th

“And does not the same hold also of the ridiculous? There are jests which you would be ashamed to make yourself, and yet on the comic stage, or indeed in private, when you hear them, you are greatly amused by them, and are not at all disgusted at their unseemliness – the case of pity is repeated – there is a principle in human nature which is disposed to raise a laugh, and this which you once restrained by reason, because you were afraid of being thought a buffoon, is now let out again; and having stimulated the risible faculty at the theatre, you are betrayed unconsciously to yourself into playing the comic poet at home.” – Plato, The Republic

“The produce of labor is apportioned at present in an inverse ratio to the labor – the largest portions to those who have never worked at all, the next largest to those whose work is almost nominal, and so in a descending scale, the remuneration dwindling as the work grows harder and more disagreeable, until the most fatiguing and exhausting bodily labor cannot count with certainty on being able to earn even the necessaries of life.” – John Stuart Mill

“Again, a choice is more properly praised for choosing the right object than for being correct in itself; but an opinion is praised for being in accordance with the truth. Also, we choose what we know very well to be good, but we form opinions about things that we do not really know to be good. It seems, too, that the same people are not equally good at choosing the best actions and forming the best opinions; some are comparatively good at forming opinions, but through a moral defect fail to make the right choices.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“My view is that each particular mode of production, and the relations of production corresponding to it at each given moment, in short ‘the economic structure of society’, is ‘the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness’, and that ‘the mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Science knows all these things, but it does not and cannot go beyond them. Abstraction being its very nature, it can well enough conceive the principle of real and living individuality, but it can have no dealings with real and living individuals; it concerns itself with individuals in general, but not with Peter or James, not with such or such a one who, so far as it is concerned, do not, cannot, have any existence. Its individuals, I repeat, are only abstractions.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“When the prevailing system is the production of commodities, i.e. where the mean of production are the property of private persons and the artisan therefore either produces commodities in isolation and independently of other people, or sells his labor-power as a commodity because he lacks the means to produce independently, the above-mentioned presupposition, namely co-operation on a large scale, can be realized only through the increase of individual capitals, only in proportion as the social means of production and subsistence are transformed into the private property of capitalists. Where the basis is the production of commodities, large-scale production can occur only in a capitalist form. A certain accumulation of capital in the hands of individual producers therefore forms the necessary pre-condition for a specifically capitalist mode of production.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“What I preach then is, to a certain extent, the revolt of life against science, or rather against the government of science, not to destroy science – that would be high treason to humanity – but to remand it to its place so that it can never leave it again. Until now all human history has been only a perpetual and bloody immolation of millions of poor human beings in honor of some pitiless abstraction – God, country, power of State, national honor, historical rights, judicial rights, political liberty, public welfare. Such has been up today the natural, spontaneous, and inevitable movement of human societies. We cannot undo it; we must submit to it so far as the past is concerned, as we submit to all-natural fatalities. We must believe that that was the only possible way to educate the human race. For we must not deceive ourselves: even in attributing the larger part to the Machiavellian wiles of the governing classes, we have to recognize that no minority would have been powerful enough to impose all these horrible sacrifices upon the masses if there had not been in the masses themselves a dizzy spontaneous movement which pushed them on to continual self-sacrifice, now to one, now to another of these devouring abstractions, the vampires of history, ever nourished upon human blood.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“When each point advanced is denied by the adversary, discussion with him becomes impossible, but such people stand outside the pale of humanity and have to be educated. But for him who denies an evident truth, because of a difficulty which presents itself to him there is a remedy, i.e. the solution of this difficulty. He who does not understand evident truth, because he is lacking in intelligence, cannot be taught anything, nor can he be educated. It is like trying to make the blind imagine colors or know their existence.” – Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence

“But the knight-errant, let him explore the most hidden recesses of the universe, plunge into the perplexities of the labyrinths; let him, at all times, not be afraid of even impossibilities; in the barren, wasteful wilderness, let him defy the scorching rays of the solstitial sun, and the piercing chilling of the nipping frost. Lions must not frighten him, phantoms must not terrify him, nor dragons dismay him; for, in searching after such, engaging with, and getting the better of all difficulties, consists his true and proper occupation. It being my fortune then to be of this last order, I cannot, consistent with that, avoid engaging in whatever I deem to be part of the duty of my calling; and for these reasons, though’ I knew, that encountering the lions was in itself an act of the greatest temerity, yet it immediately belonged to my profession: I am very sensible that true fortitude is placed between the two extremes of cowardice and foolhardiness, but then, it is better valor should mount eve to an over daring hardiness, than be debased to pusillanimity; for, as the prodigal is more likely to become truly generous than the miser, so will the over courageous sooner be brought to true valor, than the coward to be courageous at all; and in undertaking adventures, I assure you, Don Diego, it is much better to overdo than underdo, and much better does it sound in the ear of him to whom it is related, that a knight is daring and presumptuous, than that he is pusillanimous and faint-hearted.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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