Archive for the ‘folly of human nature’ Category

Wherever I go they prepare for me. I can’t find out the truth

November 14, 2009

Chairman Mao often travelled Chinato find out first hand how things really were. he complaineed however, “Wherever I go they prepare for me. I can’t find out the truth.” Bodyguard Li Yinqiao commented, “On the one hand Mao wanted to discover the truth but on the other hand he could not tolerate anyone who dared to tell the truth.”

Harrison Salisbury, The New Emperors

The human condition is like that: we want truth and authenticity but we aren’t always prepared to face the hard truths about ourselves, others and our condition.

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It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul

October 13, 2009

Invictus

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeons of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

W.E. Henley

quoted by Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh at his execution.

This is unrepentant self-will. But such a ‘captain’ of one’s own soul will find that his liberty to chart his own course, is an illusion – both in this life and in the place where the ‘punishments (of) the scroll’ are endlessly meted out. The ‘fear’ he did not feel in life will be felt in death – and a fear without hope of ending.

There are two objects in our life, whatever we have – to get more; and wherever we are – to go somewhere else

October 7, 2009

There are two objects in our life, whatever we have – to get more; and wherever we are – to go somewhere else.

John Ruskin

The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room

October 7, 2009

The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

…in busyness we have a narcotic to keep us from brooding and to take our mine off these things. That is why we prefer the hunt to the kill. That is why men are so fond of noise and bustle…That is why the pleasures of solitude are considered incomprehensible. We seek repose by battling against difficulties, and once they are overcome, repose becomes unbearable because of the boredom it engenders. We have to get away from it all, and so we then go around begging for new excitement.

Pascal, Pensées

Even babies stop crying when they start to move in a car. I’s as if they can’t stand to be still.

We never live only in the present. We remember the past and look forward to the future. If we find it too slow in coming we try to speed it up; or we recall the past to slow it down if it runs too fast

October 7, 2009

We never live only in the present. We remember the past and look forward to the future. If we find it too slow in coming we try to speed it up; or we recall the past to slow it down if it runs too fast. We are so unwise that we wander through ages which are not our own and never give a thought to the one thing that belongs to us. We are so frivolous that we think of those that are nothing and thoughtlessly overlook the one thing that exists. It is because the present moment is usually a painful one. We repress it because it hurts us. And if we find it pleasurable, we are sorry to see it pass away…With this way of thinking we can never actually live, but instead live in hope.

Pascal

In case you didn’t know it, Pascal was a genius.

Jesus scored only a handful of votes in a survey of heroes, it emerged yesterday. He came 123rd – tying with President George Bush – near the bottom of a list topped by David Beckham

October 3, 2009

He is worshipped as the son of God – but even that is not enough to impress young people these days. Jesus scored only a handful of votes in a survey of heroes, it emerged yesterday. He came 123rd – tying with President George Bush – near the bottom of a list topped by David Beckham.

Child abuse allegations have done nothing to dent Michael Jackson’s popularity – he came fourth, following Hollywood star Brad Pitt and singer Justin Timberlake.

Psychologists asked more than 2,500 people aged between 16 and 24 who they most admired. They could name political thinkers, artists and religious leaders but most picked sport and showbiz celebrities. Jennifer Lopez, Robbie Williams, Orlando Bloom and Britney Spears were all in the top ten. Study leader Dr Adrian North, of the University of Leicester, said: “It’s slightly depressing. What links all the names in our top ten is not their great minds but their great looks.”

THE TOP 10 HEREOES

1. David Beckham
2. Brad Pitt
3. Justin Timberlake
4. Michael Jackson
5. Jennifer Lopez
6. Robbie Williams
7. Orlando Bloom
8. Britney Spears
9. Keanu Reeves
10. Angelina Jolie

26th January 2004

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-206691/The-nations-favourite-heroes.html

What a piece of work is man

September 8, 2009

What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a God. The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust. Man delights not me.

Hamlet, II, ii

What a chimera then is man!

September 8, 2009

What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe! Who will unravel this tangle?

Blaise Pascal

Russell’s Misanthropy

September 8, 2009

Sometimes, in moments of horror, I have been tempted to doubt whether there is any reason to wish that such a creature as man should continue to exist. It is easy to see man as dark and cruel, as an embodiment of diabolic power, and as a blot upon the fair face of the universe.

Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, vol.2, p.353

His misanthropy is ironic given his humanist credentials. He loved ‘mankind’ but failed to love those around him such as his wives and son.

What Russell saw, after his early liberal naivety failed, was the dark side of man. But without the possibility of Christian redemption he was left with misanthropy. The Christian can be realistic and hopeful due to the categories of original sin and redemption.

man himself is mankind’s greatest danger

September 7, 2009

It is becoming more and more obvious that it is not starvation, not microbes, not cancer, but man himself who is mankind’s greatest danger because he has no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating in their effect than the greatest natural catastrophes.

Carl Gutav Jung