Philosophy, July 26th

“God help me, must I be a weakling, a failure all my life? Unless I am just too young to trust my hands to fight off any man who rises up against me. Come, my betters, so much stronger than I am – try the bow and finish off the contest.” – Homer, The Odyssey

“The mother country of capital is not the tropical region, with its luxuriant vegetation, but the temperate zone. It is not the absolute fertility of the soil but its degree of differentiation, the variety of its natural products, which forms the natural basis for the social division of labor, and which, by changes in the natural surroundings, spurs man on to the multiplication of his needs, his capacities, and the instruments and modes of his labor. It is the necessity of bringing a natural force under the control of society, of economizing on its energy, of appropriating or subduing it on a large scale by the work of the human hand, that plays the most decisive role in the history of industry.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Let your working remain a mystery. Just show people the results.” – Laozi, Tao Te Ching

“The love between husband and wife is considered to be naturally inherent in them. For man is by his nature a pairing rather than a social creature, inasmuch as the family is an older and more necessary thing than the state, and procreation is a characteristic more commonly shared with the animals. In the other animals, partnership goes no further than this; but human beings cohabit not merely to produce children but to secure the necessities of life. From the outset the functions are divided, the husband’s being different from the wife’s; so, they supply each other’s deficiencies by pooling their personal resources. For this reason, it is thought that both utility and pleasure have a place in conjugal love. But it may be based also on goodness, supposing the partners to be of good character; for they have each their own special excellence, and this may be a source of pleasure to both. Children too, it is agreed, are a bond between parents, which is why childless marriages break up more quickly. For the children are an asset common to them both, and common possession is cohesive.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“The religious reflections of the real world can, in any case, vanish only when the practical relations of everyday life between man and man, and man and nature, generally present themselves to him in a transparent and rational form. The veil is not removed from the countenance of the social life-process, i.e. the process of material production, until it becomes production by freely associated men, and stands under their conscious and planned control. This, however, requires that society possess a material foundation, or a series of material conditions of existence, which in their turn are the natural and spontaneous product of a long and tormented historical development.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Division of labor within the workshop implies the undisputed authority of the capitalist over men, who are merely the members of a total mechanism which belongs to him. The division of labor within society brings into contact independent producers of commodities, who acknowledge no authority other than that of competition, of the coercion exerted by the pressure of their reciprocal interests, just as in the animal kingdom the ‘war of all against all’ preserves the conditions of existence of every species. The same bourgeois consciousness which celebrates the division of labor in the workshop, the lifelong annexation of the worker to a partial operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as an organization of labor that increases its productive power, denounces with equal vigor every conscious attempt to control and regulate the process of production socially, as an inroad upon such sacred things as the rights of property, freedom and the self-determining ‘genius’ of the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of labor in society than that it would turn the whole of society into a factory.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“In his relation to natural laws but one liberty is possible to man – that of recognizing and applying them on an ever-extending scale in conformity with the object of collective and individual emancipation or humanization which he pursues. These laws, once recognized, exercise an authority which is never disputed by the mass of men. One must, for instance, be at bottom either a fool or a theologian or at least a metaphysician, jurist, or bourgeois economist to rebel against the law by which twice two make four. One must have faith to imagine that fire will not burn, nor water drown, except, indeed, recourse be had to some subterfuge founded in its turn on some other natural law. But these revolts, or, rather, these attempts at or foolish fancies of an impossible revolt, are decidedly the exception; for, in general, it may be said that the mass of men, in their daily lives, acknowledge the government of common sense – that is, of the sum of the natural laws generally recognized – in an almost absolute fashion.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“The cooperation of theory and practice produces in humanity the realization of order – the absolute truth.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“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

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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