Apr 13, 2014
When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession – as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life – will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard.
John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren
Mar 21, 2014
Urging African-Americans to become superhuman is great advice if you are concerned with creating extraordinary individuals. It is terrible advice if you are concerned with creating an equitable society. The black freedom struggle is not about raising a race of hyper-moral super-humans. It is about all people garnering the right to live like the normal humans they are.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Pathology And The Closing Of The Progressive Mind
Mar 20, 2014

I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one’s own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright. I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: to last, as Hemingway says, and get my work done.

I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Feb 1, 2014
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead
Jan 12, 2014
If I am extreme, I am not extreme in the same way as you
Against Nature’s silence I use action
In the vast indifference I invent a meaning
I don’t watch unmoved I intervene
and say that this and this are wrong
and I work to alter them and improve them
The important thing
is to pull yourself up by your own hair
to turn yourself inside out
and see the whole world with fresh eyes
Peter Weiss, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
Jan 12, 2014
When will you learn to see
When will you learn to take sides
Peter Weiss, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
Jan 11, 2014
Un livre est un suicide différé.
Emil Cioran, De l’inconvénient d’être né
Jan 5, 2014
But what’s odd about them is that they try to be simple and never clear away a single thing that’s complicated. If they have to choose between beef and pickles, they always abolish the beef. If they have to choose between a meadow and a motor, they forbid the meadow. Shall I tell you the secret? These men only surrender the things that bind them to other men. Go and dine with a temperance millionaire and you won’t find he’s abolished the hors d’oeuvres or the five courses or even the coffee. What he’s abolished is the port and sherry, because poor men like that as well as rich. Go a step farther, and you won’t find he’s abolished the fine silver forks and spoons, but he’s abolished the meat, because poor men like meat—when they can get it. Go a step farther, and you won’t find he goes without gardens or gorgeous rooms, which poor men can’t enjoy at all. But you will find he boasts of early rising, because sleep is a thing poor men can still enjoy. About the only thing they can still enjoy. Nobody ever heard of a modern philanthropist giving up petrol or typewriting or troops of servants. No, no! What he gives up must be some simple and universal thing. He will give up beef or beer or sleep—because these pleasures remind him that he is only a man.
G. K. Chesterton, The Flying Inn
Jan 4, 2014
If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
Hillel, Pirkei Avot 1:14
Dec 20, 2013
It seems to have been an important feature of true moralists that they not only made others feel uneasy, but caused themselves at least equal disquiet too. To be a moralist was to lead an unquiet life—which is precisely what distinguished a moralist from an intellectual, whose public anguish over affairs of ethics or state normally accompanied an easy and confident private conscience.
Tony Judt, The Burden of Responsibility
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