Saturday, March 5, 2022
A readiness to adapt oneself to the facts of the real world is often portrayed as a virtue, and in part it is. It is a bad thing to close one's eyes to facts or to fail to admit them because they are unwelcome. But it is also a bad thing to assume that whatever is in the ascendant must be right, that regard for fact demands subservience to evil. Even worse than conscious subservience to evil is the self-deception which denies that it is evil. When I find individual liberty being everywhere lessened by regimentation, I will not on that account pretend that regimentation is a good thing. It may be necessary for a time, but one should not on that account acquiesce to it as part of any society that one can admire.
-Bertrand Russell, from his essay, Hopes: Realized and Disappointed
When Elizabeth Tudor inherited the kingdom from her half sister Mary I, in November 1558, England was on the brink of ruin. The feeling of despair among the nobles can only be imagined: not only had the country been torn between the ultra-Protestant reign of Elizabeth's half brother, Edward V, followed by the fanatically Catholic Mary, but the crown was now proffered to the daughter of the reviled Queen Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth, who had lived her life as an unwelcomed reminder of the union of Henry VIII and her mother, would most assuredly have been burned at the stake by Mary without the intervention of the queen's absentee husband, Philip II of Spain. If there was one thing Elizabeth Tudor understood intuitively, it was life on the edge.
Sunday, February 27, 2022
And people who are comfortable with their investments will, on average, achieve better results than those who are motivated by ever-changing headlines, chatter and promises.
.............................it might be that the veneer of civilization is very thin.
Yet as ancient observers from Thucydides to Aeneas point out, ideological professions were often high-sounding cover for personal agendas—private feuds, concern over debts, petty envies and jealousies—that ignited whenever the social fabric was torn through sieges, which worked like plagues and revolution to strip away the patina of civilization.
-Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War
Neither misery nor folly seems to me any part of the inevitable lot of man. And I am convinced that intelligence, patience, and eloquence can, sooner or later, lead the human race out of its self-imposed tortures provided it does not exterminate itself meanwhile.
-Bertrand Russell, as culled from his essay, Reflections on My Eightieth Birthday
In the modern world, if communities are unhappy, it is because they choose to be so. Or, to speak more precisely, because they have ignorances, habits, beliefs, and passions, which are dearer to them than happiness or even life. I find many men in our dangerous age who seem to be in love with misery and death, and who grow angry when hopes are suggested to them. They think that hope is irrational and that, in sitting down to lazy despair, they are merely facing facts. I cannot agree with these men. To preserve hope in our world makes calls upon our intelligence and our energy. In those who despair it is very frequently the energy that is lacking.
-Bertrand Russell, another excerpt from his essay, Reflections On My Eightieth Birthday