I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.
How would it be possible if salvation were ready to our hand, and could without great labor be found, that it should be by almost all men neglected? But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.
Topics: Perfection, Excellence
The ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain, by fear, nor to exact obedience, but contrariwise, to free every man from fear, that he may live in all possible security; in other words, to strengthen his natural right to exist and work without injury to himself or others.
No, the object of government is not to change men from rational beings into beasts or puppets, but to enable them to develop their minds and bodies in security, and to employ their reason unshackled; neither showing hatred, anger, or deceit, nor watched with the eyes of jealousy and injustice. In fact, the true aim of government is liberty.
Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them.
What is called vainglory is self-satisfaction, nourished by nothing but the good opinion of the multitude, so that when that is withdrawn, the satisfaction, that is to say, the chief good which every one loves, ceases. For this reason those who glory in the good opinion of the multitude anxiously and with daily care strive, labour, and struggle to preserve their fame. For the multitude is changeable and fickle, so that fame, if it be not preserved, soon passes away. As every one, moreover, is desirous to catch the praises of the people, one person will readily destroy the fame of another; and, consequently, as the object of contention is what is commonly thought to be the highest good, a great desire arises on the part of every one to keep down his fellows by every possible means, and he who at last comes off conqueror boasts more because he has injured another person than because he has profited himself. This glory of self-satisfaction, therefore, is indeed vain, for it is really no glory.
Will and intellect are one and the same.
The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the human body, but there is some part of it which remains eternal.
The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure. As stars high above earth, you are above everything distressing. But you must awaken to it. Wake up!
Topics: Doing, Sin, Live, Stress
The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts.
To give aid to every poor man is far beyond the reach and power of every man. Care of the poor is incumbent on society as a whole.
We are so constituted by Nature that we easily believe the things we hope for, but believe only with difficulty those we fear, and that we regard such things more or less highly than is just. This is the source of the superstitions by which men everywhere are troubled. For the rest, I don’t think it worth the trouble to set out in detail here the vacillations of mind that stem from hope and fear – since it follows simply from the definition of these affects that there is no hope without fear, and no fear without hope (as I shall explain more fully in due course). Moreover, in hoping for or fearing something, we love it or hate it; so what I have said about love and hate can easily be applied to hope and fear.
We feel and know that we are eternal.
Desire nothing for yourself, which you do not desire for others.
But if men would give heed to the nature of substance they would doubt less concerning the Proposition that Existence appertains to the nature of substance: rather they would reckon it an axiom above all others, and hold it among common opinions. For then by substance they would understand that which is in itself, and through itself is conceived, or rather that whose knowledge does not depend on the knowledge of any other thing.
One and the same thing can at the same time be good, bad, and indifferent, e.g., music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf.
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