Archive for the ‘vanity’ Category

Russell’s life seems to have been inexorably drawn towards disaster, determined on its course by two fundamental traits of character: a deep-seated fear of madness and a quite colossal vanity

November 15, 2009

Ray Monk spent more than 10 years on his two volume biography of Bertrand Russell. He comments:

Another reason – perhaps the main one – that this has been a difficult book to write has been my growing realisation of the tragedy of Russell’s life . . .I do not just mean that there was sadness in Russell’s life, though, to be sure, the degree of suffering he endured – and caused – has been one of the hardest revelations of my work on this book…what I mean when I speak of tragedy is principally that Russell’s life seems to have been inexorably drawn towards disaster, determined on its course by two fundamental traits of character: a deep-seated fear of madness and a quite colossal vanity…He was, it sometimes seems, simply not capable of loving another human being.  Russell had what he considered to be an exalted conception of love — which he expressed in Marriage and Morals and in numerous other places — according to which love takes the form of ‘merging’ one ego with another.  In many of his political writings this notion reappears as the duty to love humanity in the sense of regarding all humanity as, in some sense, coextensive with one’s ego.  One might regard this as a harmlessly fanciful way of urging people to empathise with each other, but Russell’s relations with those close to him suggest another interpretation: that he was unable to conceive of loving another person unless he could regard that person as part of himself.  In other words, loving another was, for him, inconceivable. He was, as it were (as, indeed, his epistemology maintains we all are), trapped inside the boundaries of his own ego. He could imagine — and frequently did imagine — extending those boundaries, but what he could not imagine doing was reaching out beyond them. Would that this was only a theoretical problem, but the experience of Russell’s wives, children and friends suggests that, on this point, theory and practice combined in the most devastating manner.

Ray Monk, Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness: 1921-1970 (xi-xii)

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OF COURSE I’m vain. The only reason I became a comedian in the first place was because I needed attention

November 14, 2009

OF COURSE I’m vain. The only reason I became a comedian in the first place was because I needed attention. That anyone becomes an entertainer to bring laughter and happiness to the world is the biggest, dumbest, corniest lie of all time. my whole profession is just simple vanity. going on stage is an ego trip.

Jacki Mason, ex-Rabbi comic, Independent Magazine, 28/6/3, p.5

Why unbelief denigrates the Creator

November 8, 2008

God has made all the visible creatures in heaven and earth for the service of man, and man only is the spokesman for all the rest. Man is, in the world, like the tongue to the body, which speaks for all the members. The other creatures cannot praise their Maker, except by dumb signs and hints to man that he should speak for them. Man is, as it were, the high priest of God’s creation, to offer the sacrifice of praise for all his fellow-creatures. The Lord God expects a tribute of praise from all His works. Now, all the rest do bring in their tribute to man, and pay it by his hand. So then, if a man is false, and faithless, and selfish—God is robbed of all, and has no active glory from His works.

O dreadful thought! that God should build such a world as this, and lay out such infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness thereupon, and all in vain! And that man should be guilty, at last, of robbing and spoiling Him of the glory of all! O think of this. While you are unconverted, all the offices of the creatures are in vain to you. Your food nourishes you in vain. The sun holds forth its light to you in vain. Your clothes warm you in vain. Your horse carries you in vain. In a word, the unwearied labor and continued travail of the whole creation—so far as you are concerned—are in vain. The service of all the creatures which drudge for you, and yield forth their strength unto you, with which you should serve their Maker—is all but lost labor. Hence, ‘the whole creation groans’ (Rom 8:22) under the abuse of unsanctified men who pervert all things to the service of their lusts, quite contrary to the very end of their being.

Alarm to the Unconverted

Joseph Alleine, 1671