Philosophy, August 13th

“People in high positions, on the other hand, seem to have friends of different types: some are useful to them and others agreeable, but it seldom happens that the same people are both, because what their superiors are looking for is not people who are pleasant and also good, nor people who are useful for honorable ends, but witty talkers if they want to be amused, and otherwise agents who are clever at carrying out their instructions; and these qualities are rarely found in the same person. We have said that the good man is also both useful and agreeable, but such a person does not become the friend of a superior rank unless the latter is his superior in goodness too. Otherwise, the inferior cannot make a proportionately equal return. But such goodness is exceptional in the great.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“It is his labor of last week, or of last year, that pays for his labor-power this week or this year. The illusion created by the money-form vanishes immediately if, instead of taking a single capitalist and a single worker, we take the whole capitalist class and the whole working class. The capitalist class is constantly giving to the working-class drafts, in the form of money, on a portion of the product produced by the latter and appropriated by the former. The workers give these drafts back just as constantly to the capitalists, and thereby withdraw from the latter their allotted share of their own product. The transaction is veiled by the commodity-form of the product and the money-form of the commodity.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“What the world now calls righteousness is the establishment of what people like and the abolishment of what they dislike, and what the world calls unrighteousness is the establishment of what people dislike and the abolishment of that in which they take delight.” – Shang Yang, The Book of Lord Shang

“To think the affairs of this life will always remain in the same posture, is a wild supposition; on the contrary, everything goes in a round; I mean, goes round. Spring succeeds winter, summer follows spring, autumn comes after summer, and winter comes in the rear of autumn; then spring resumes its verdure, and time turns round on an incessant wheel. The life of man alone runs lightly to its end, unlike the cycle of time, without hope of renewal, except in another life, which knows no bounds.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

“They hold namely that man cannot live in this world without the practical sciences, nor in this and the next world without the speculative virtues, and that neither of these categories is perfected or completed without the practical virtues, and that the practical virtues can only become strong through the knowledge and adoration of God by the services prescribed by the laws of the different religions, like offerings and prayers and supplications and other such utterances by which praise is rendered to God, the angels, and the prophets.” – Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence

“There are only two families in the world, as my grandma was wont to observe, the have-somethings and the have-nothings: though she stuck always to the former; and now-a-days, my good master, we are more apt to feel the pulse of property than of wisdom. An ass with golden trappings, makes a better appearance than a horse with a packsaddle.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

“History then appears to us as the revolutionary negation, now slow, apathetic, sluggish, now passionate, and powerful, of the past. It consists precisely in the progressive negation of the primitive animality of man by the development of his humanity. Man, a wild beast, cousin of the gorilla, has emerged from the profound darkness of animal instinct into the light of the mind, which explains in a wholly natural way all his past mistakes and partially consoles us for his present errors. He has gone out from animal slavery, and passing through divine slavery, a temporary condition between his animality and humanity, he is now marching on to the conquest and realization of human liberty. Whence it results that the antiquity of a belief, of an idea, far from proving anything in its favor, ought, on the contrary, to lead us to suspect it. For behind us is our animality and before us our humanity; human light, the only thing that can warm and enlighten us, the only thing that can emancipate us, give us dignity, freedom, and happiness, and realize fraternity among us, is never at the beginning, but, relatively to the epoch in which we live, always at the end of history. Let us, then, never look back, let us look ever forward; for forward is our sunlight, forward our salvation. If it is justifiable, and even useful and necessary, to turn back to study our past, it is only in order to establish what we have been and what we must no longer be, what we have believed and thought and what we must no longer believe or think, what we have done and what we must do nevermore.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“The great honor of Christianity, its incontestable merit and the whole secret of its unprecedented and yet thoroughly legitimate triumph, lay in the fact that it appealed to that suffering and immense public to which the ancient world, a strict and cruel intellectual and political aristocracy, denied even the simplest rights of humanity. Otherwise it never could have spread.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“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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