Philosophy, July 27th

“And things which are at their best are also least liable to be altered or discomposed; for example, when healthiest and strongest, the human frame is least liable to be affected by meats and drinks, and the plant which is in the fullest vigor also suffers least from winds or the heat of the sun or any similar causes.” – Plato, The Republic

“We have therefore arrived at this result: although eight-tenths of the product, or 16 lb. of yarn, seen in its physical existence as a use-value, is just as much the fabric of the spinner’s labor as the remainder of the same product, yet when viewed in this connection it does not contain and has not absorbed any labor expended during the process of spinning. It is just as if the cotton had converted itself into yarn without any help, it is just as if the shape it had assumed was mere trickery and deceit. In fact, when the capitalist has sold it for 24s. and, with the money, replaced his means of production it becomes evident that the 16 lb. of yarn is nothing more than cotton, spindle-waste, and coal in disguise.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“But it is also true to say of the man of good character that he performs many actions for the sake of his friends and his country, and if necessary, even dies for them. For he will sacrifice both money and honors and in general the goods that people struggle to obtain, in his pursuit of what is fine. For he would rather have intense pleasure for a short time than quiet pleasure for a long time; rather live finely for one year than indifferently for many; and rather do one great and glorious deed than many petty ones. This result is presumably achieved by those who give their lives for others; so, their choice is a glorious prize. Also, the good man is ready to lose money on condition that his friends shall get more; for the friend gets money, but he himself gains fineness, so he assigns himself the greater good. He behaves in the same way too with regard to political honors and positions; all these he will freely give up to his friend, because that is a fine and praiseworthy thing for him to do. So, it is natural that he is regarded as a man of good character, since he chooses what is fine in preference to anything else. He may even give up to his friend opportunities for doing fine actions, and it may be a finer thing for him to become the cause of his friend’s doing them than to have done them himself. Thus, we see that in the whole field of praiseworthy conduct the good man assigns himself the larger share of what is fine. It is right, then (as we said before), to be self-loving in this sense; but not in the sense in which most people are self-loving.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“In the United State of America, every independent workers’ movement was paralyzed if slavery disfigured a part of the republic. Labor in a white skin cannot emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin. However, a new life immediately arose from the death of slavery. The first fruit of the American Civil War was the eight hours’ agitation, which ran from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California, with the seven-league boots of the locomotive. The General Congress of Labor held at Baltimore in August 1866 declared: ‘The first and great necessity of the present, to free the labor of this country from capitalistic slavery, is the passing of a law by which eight hours shall be the normal working day in all States of the American Union. We are resolved to put forth all our strength until this glorious result is attained.’ At the same time (the beginning of September 1866), the Congress of the International Working Men’s Association, held at Geneva, passed the following resolution, proposed by the London General Council: ‘We declare that the limitation of the working day is a preliminary condition without which all further attempts at improvement and emancipation must prove abortive . . . the Congress proposes eight hours as the legal limit of the working day.'” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws – and he will have cut himself in two.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“Thus, communism violates the sovereignty of the conscience, and equality: the first, by restricting spontaneity of mind and heart, and freedom of thought and action; the second, by placing labor and laziness, skill and stupidity, and even vice and virtue on an equality in point of comfort. For the rest, if property is impossible on account of the desire to accumulate, communism would soon become so through the desire to shirk.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“The history of humanity has been largely one long and gradual discovery of the fact that the individual is the gainer by society exactly in proportion as society is free, and of the law that the condition of a permanent and harmonious society is the greatest amount of individual liberty compatible with equality of liberty. The average man of each new generation has said to himself more clearly and consciously than his predecessor: “My neighbor is not my enemy, but ray friend, and I am his, if we would but mutually recognize the fact, We help each other to a better, fuller, happier living; and this service might be greatly increased if we would cease to restrict, hamper, and oppress each other. Why can we not agree to let each live his own life, neither of us transgressing the limit that separates our individualities?”” – 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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