Circumstance

To a philosopher no circumstance, however trifling, is too minute.

I’ve learned and unlearned all my life; it’s helped me to survive. There are no constants, nothing is immutable, only random circumstance from which our experience builds a coherent arc of life. And for that arc you have only to be truly done with one thing before moving to another. There’s an art in letting go.

It is circumstance and proper measure that give an action in its character, and make it either good or bad.

Death is a cessation of motion, also a cessation of time - than it has to do with life, its most complex embodiment. Thinking that time brings death is a less workable assumption than a moral evasion, an example of our chronic tendency to ascribe our woes and weaknesses to external circumstance rather than to living will.

We often choose a friend as we do a mistress - for no particular excellence in themselves, but merely from some circumstance that flatters our self-love.

Slander is perhaps the only vice which no circumstance can palliate, as well as being one which we are most ingenious in concealing from ourselves.

It is my opinion, that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At the same time I assert the authority of this kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and supreme in every circumstance of Government and legislation whatsoever. The colonists are the subjects of this kingdom, equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Englishmen...The Americans are the sons, not the bastards, of England. Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power...When, therefore, in this House we give and grant, we give and grant what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do? We, your Majesty's Commons for Great Britain, give and grant to your Majesty,—what? Our own property?—No! We give and grant to your Majesty, the property of your Majesty's Commons of America...The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty...There is an idea in some, that the colonies are virtually represented in this House...Is he represented by any knight of the shire, in any county in this kingdom?...Or will you tell him that he is represented by any representative of a borough?—a borough which perhaps its own representatives never saw.—This is what is called the rotten part of the constitution. It cannot continue a century. If it does not drop, it must be amputated...I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to let themselves be made slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of all the rest...The gentleman asks, When were the colonies emancipated? I desire to know when were they made slaves?

Character isn't what we think it is or, rather, what we want it to be. It isn't a stable, easily identifiable set of closely related traits, and it only seems that way because of a glitch in the way our brains are organized. Character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstance and context

What are the proper grounds for joy? Is it circumstance which will determine the stature of my spirit? Ah, no. It is choice. It is always a choice – in the face of any event – for joy.

If one awakens in men the idea of freedom then the free men will incessantly go on to free themselves; if on the contrary, one only educates them, then they will at all times accommodate themselves to circumstance in the most highly educated and elegant manner and degenerate into subservient cringing souls.

No mistake is more to be deplored than the conception that a system of morals and religion should derive any portion of its authority either from the circumstance of its novelty or its antiquity, that it should be judged excellent, not because it is reasonable or true, but because no person has ever thought of it before, or because it has been thought of from the beginning of time.

A child too, can never grasp the fact that the same mother who cooks so well, is so concerned about his cough, and helps so kindly with his homework, in some circumstance has no more feeling than a wall of his hidden inner world.

And being such the soul doth recognize
The doubleness of nature, that there lies
A soul occult in Nature, hidden deep
As lies the soul of man in moveless sleep.
And like a dream
Broken in circumstance and foolish made,
Through which howe’er the future world doth gleam,
And floats a warning to the gathered thought,
Like to a dream,
Through sense and all by sense conveyed,
Into our soul the shadow of that soul
Doth float.
Then are we lifted up erect and whole
In vast confession to that universe
Perceived by us: our soul itself transfers
Thither by instinct sure; it swiftly hails
The mighty spirit similar; it sails
In the divine expansion; it perceives
Tendencies glorious, distant; it enweaves
Itself with excitations more that thought
Unto that soul unveiled and yet unsought.

The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstance whether created by others or by one's own human failings. They are the only consistent art in the United States which constantly remind us of our limitations while encouraging us to see how far we can actually go. When understood in their more profound implication, they are a corrective, an attempt to draw a line upon man's own limitless assertion.

It is a remarkable circumstance in reference to cunning persons that they are often deficient not only in comprehensive, far-sighted wisdom, but even in prudent, cautious circumspection.

The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society.

If a person does good, most people will look for ulterior motives. People by training are very suspicious. Because most of the experiences they have had always had a condition attached, they don't expect others will do something just for the sake of doing it. Their belief systems just cannot accept others are capable of doing so. Our language is full of such sayings such as. One hand washes the other. ---You rub my back, I'll rub yours. In the study of one's personal language and self talk it can be observed that what one thinks and talks about to himself tends to become the deciding influences n his life. For what the mind attends to, the mind considers.

These gentlemen, although of the highest nobility,' thought Julien, 'are not in the least boring like the people who come to dine with M. de La Mole; and I can see why,' he added a moment later,'they are not ashamed to be indecent.

I want to argue that the ‘sudden’ appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. Evolution usually proceeds by ‘speciation’—the splitting of one lineage from a parental stock—not by the slow and steady transformation of these large parental stocks. Repeated episodes of speciation produce a bush. Evolutionary ‘sequences’ are not rungs on a ladder, but our retrospective reconstruction of a circuitous path running like a labyrinth, branch to branch, from the base of the bush to a lineage now surviving at its top. How does speciation occur? This is a perennial hot topic in evolutionary theory, but most biologist would subscribe to the ‘allopatric theory’ (the debate centers on the admissibility of other modes; nearly everyone agrees that allopatric speciation is the most common mode). Allopatric means ‘in another place.’ In the allopatric theory, popularized by Ernst Mayr, new species arise in in very small populations that become isolated from their parental group at the periphery of the ancestral range. Speciation in these small isolates is very rapid by evolutionary standards—hundreds or thousands of years (a geological microsecond). Major evolutionary change may occur in these small isolated populations. Favorable genetic variation can quickly spread through them. Moreover, natural selection tends to be intense in geographically marginal areas where the species barely maintains a foothold. In large central populations, on the other hand, favorable variations spread very slowly, and most change is steadfastly resisted by the well-adapted population. Small changes occur to meet the requirements of slowly altering climates, but major genetic reorganizations almost always take place in the small, peripherally isolated populations that form new species.

The chambers of the East are opened in every land, and the sun come forth to sow the earth with orient pearl. Night, the ancient mother, follows him with her diadem of stars. * * * Bright creatures! how they gleam like spirits through the shadows of innumerable eyes from their thrones in the boundless depths of heaven.