Thursday, May 3, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas. May 3, 2007.

Note: If the last sentence in the quote is in brackets, I attempted to express a wordy or convoluted quote in plain English. How did I do? Rays.

Ethics 40 Morality, said Jesus, is kindness to the weak; morality, said Nietzsche, is the bravery of the strong; morality, says Plato, is the effective harmony of the whole: probably all three doctrines must be combined to find a perfect ethics. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

Ethics 174 Spinoza: For one and the same thing can at the same time be good, bad, and indifferent. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [Behavior can be good, bad or indifferent at the same time.]

Ethics 181 [Spinoza] builds his ethic not on altruism and the natural goodness of man, like Utopian reformers, nor on selfishness and the natural wickedness of man, like cynical conservatives, but on what he considers to be an inevitable and justifiable egoism…thinks that egoism is a necessary corollary of the supreme instinct of self-preservation; "no one ever neglects anything which he judges to be good, except with the hope of gaining a greater good." Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [Spinoza does not build his ethic on altruism or on selfishness and the natural wickedness of man but on egoism that does that which is good for self.]

Euphemism 368 Eichmann organized the “Central Office for Jewish Emigration.” Bracher, The German Dictatorship

Euphemism 225 The SS bureaucracy…continued to employ Aesopian language, for example, referring to deportations to concentration camps as “having been emigrated”; and evaluation and deportation, “special treatment” and “disposition” meant extermination. Bracher, The German Dictatorship

Euphemism 728 “Retreat is not flight,” said Don Quixote, “…I confess that I retired but I did not fly; and in this I have imitated many valiant persons who have reserved themselves for better times.” Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part Two: 1615. [“Retreat” does not mean “flight”; those who retreated saved themselves for better times.]

Euripides Viii …emphasis on the individual, in particular on individual suffering…. Warner, Euripides.

Euripides xv It is in showing the individuality and also the universality of suffering that Euripides deserves the title of ‘most tragic poet.’ Warner, Euripides. [Euripides was “the most tragic poet” because he showed the universality of suffering.]

Europe 863 This long descent of families and this cleaving through the ages to the same spot of ground captivates the imagination. Emerson, English Traits. [Americans are captivated by the Europeans’ remaining in the same place for centuries.]

Evaluation 143 The spiritual, mystical dimensions of the Church are much greater than any sociological statistics could ever possibly show. Pope John Paul II, Threshold. [Statistics can never measure the influence of the Catholic Church.]

Evaluation 186 Thomas Lincoln on being asked by his second wife which of his wives he liked best: “Oh, now Sarah, that reminds me of old John Hardin down in Kentucky who had a fine-looking pair of horses, and a neighbor coming in one day and looking at them said, “John, which horse do you like best?”…“I can’t tell; one of them kicks and the other bites and I don’t know which is wust.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Events 962 Person makes event, and event person. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Fate. [People make events and events shape people.]

Evil 125 He [Hawthorne] was fascinated by the ambiguity and deceptiveness of evil. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Evil 101 That the evil men do lives after them is partly due to the fact that those who have reason to hate the evil most shape themselves after it and thus perpetuate it. Hoffer, The True Believer. [Evil lives on because the people who hate an evil allow themselves to copy it.]

Evil 570 [King] Arthur: When I was a young man I did something which was not just, and from it has sprung the misery of my life; do you think you can stop the consequences of a bad action, by doing good ones afterwards?…I don’t…have been trying to stopper it down with good actions, ever since, but it goes on in widening circles…will not be stoppered. T. H. White, The Once and Future King. [The evil consequences of an act cannot be stopped from expanding.]

Evil 39 All evil is disharmony: between man and nature, or man and men, or man and himself. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

Evil 17 No one can ever really avoid [doing] what he holds to be evil. Mencken, Minority Report. [People cannot stop themselves from doing what they perceive of as evil.]

Evil 77 like cold, which is the privation of heat. Emerson, Divinity College Address. [Evil is the negative of something positive. ]

Evil 456 …the oldest and best-known evil is always more bearable than an evil that is new and untried. Montaigne, Selected Essays. [Old evils are better than new evils which are unexpected.]

Evil 154 Albert Schweitzer: Evil consists in destroying life, in injuring of it, or in thwarting its full flowering. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album. [Evil destroys, injures or thwarts life.]

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