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To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.
From the nature and purpose of civil institutions, all the lands within the limits which any particular society has circumscribed around itself are assumed by that society, and subject to their allotment only. This may be done by themselves, assembled collectively, or by their legislature, to whom they may have delegated sovereign authority; and if they are alloted in neither of these ways, each individual of the society may appropriate to himself such lands as he finds vacant, and occupancy will give him title.
A jackass has that kind of strength, and puts it to a useful purpose, and is valuable to the world because he is a jackass; but anobleman is not valuable because he is a jackass. It is a mixture that is always ineffectual, and should never have been attempted in the first place. And yet, once you start a mistake, the trouble is done and you never know what is going to come of it.
I have no doubt that the Romans planned the time-table of their days far better than we do. They rose before the sun at all seasons. Except in wartime we never see the dawn. Sometimes we see sunset. The message of sunset is sadness; the message of dawn is hope. The rest and the spell of sleep in the middle of the day refresh the human frame far more than a long night. We were not made by Nature to work, or even play, from eight o'clock in the morning till midnight. We throw a strain upon our system which is unfair and improvident. For every purpose of business or pleasure, mental or physical, we ought to break our days and our marches into two.
There is only one inborn erroneous notion … that we exist in order to be happy … So long as we persist in this inborn error … the world seems to us full of contradictions. For at every step, in great things and small, we are bound to experience that the world and life are certainly not arranged for the purpose of maintaining a happy existence … hence the countenances of almost all elderly persons wear the expression of … disappointment.
There is such a difference between the pursuits of men in great cities that one part of the inhabitants lives to little other purpose than to wonder at the rest. Some have hopes and fears, wishes and aversions, which never enter into the thoughts of others, and inquiry is laboriously exerted to gain that which those who possess it are ready to throw away.
Regard this body as a machine which, having been made by the hand of God, is incomparably better ordered than any machine that can be devised by man, and contains in itself movements more wonderful than those in any machine.... it is for all practical purposes impossible for a machine to have enough organs to make it act in all the contingencies of life in the way in which our reason makes us act.
To those who inquire as to the purpose of mathematics, the usual answer will be that it facilitates the making of machines, the travelling from place to place, and the victory over foreign nations, whether in war or commerce. … The reasoning faculty itself is generally conceived, by those who urge its cultivation, as merely a means for the avoidance of pitfalls and a help in the discovery of rules for the guidance of practical life.
The men of Yale, the men of the universities, all, who, when the country called, went to give their lives, did more than reflect honor upon the universities from which they came. They did that which they could not have done so well in any other way. They showed that when the time of danger comes, all Americans, whatever their social standing, whatever their creed, whatever the training they have received, no matter from what section of the country they have come, stand together as men, as Americans, and are content to face the same fate and do the same duties because fundamentally they all alike have the common purpose to serve the glorious flag of their common country.
During part of 1941 and 1942, when the Luftwaffe was busy in Russia, the German radio regaled its home audience with stories of devastating air raids on London. Now, we are aware that those raids did not happen. But what use would our knowledge be if the Germans conquered Britain? For the purpose of a future historian, did those raids happen, or didn't they? The answer is: If Hitler survives, they happened, and if he falls they didn't happen.
This independence is glorified as "academic freedom," ... except that in the background, a discreet distance away, stands the state watching with a certain supervisory look on its face, making sure to remind everybody from time to time that it is the aim, the purpose, the essence of this whole strange process.
The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life.