It makes small difference to the dead if they are buried as tokens of luxury. All this is an empty glorification left for those who live.
How much that the world calls selfishness is only generosity with narrow walls, a too exclusive solicitude to maintain a wife in luxury, or make one’s children rich.
Many have no happier moments than those that they pass in solitude, abandoned to their imagination, which sometimes puts scepters in their hands or miters on their heads, shifts the scene of pleasure with endless variety, bids all the forms of beauty sparkle before them, and gluts them with every change of visionary luxury.
Wealth is nothing in itself; it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase. As to corporeal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues of pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment or elevate the imagination, but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error and harden stupidity.
You cannot spend money in luxury without doing good to the poor. Nay, you do more good to them by spending it in luxury than by giving; you make them exert industry, whereas, by giving it, you keep them idle.
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
The uprooting of human beings from the land, the concentration in cities, the breakdown of the authority of family, of tradition, and of moral conventions, the complexity and the novelty of modern life, and finally the economic insecurity of our industrial system have called into being the modern social worker. They perform a function in modern society which is not a luxury but an absolute necessity.
Luxury is... absolutely necessary in monarchies; as it is also in despotic states. In the former, it is the use of liberty; in the latter, it is the abuse of servitude. A slave appointed by his master to tyrannize over other wretches of the same condition, uncertain of enjoying tomorrow the blessings of today, has no other felicity that that of glutting the pride, the passions, and the voluptuousness of the present moment.
Luxury is the first, second and third cause of the ruin of republics. It is the vampire which soothes us into a fatal slumber while it sucks the life-blood out of our veins.
What pleasure can those over-happy persons know, who, from their affluence and luxury, always eat before they are hungry and drink before they are thirsty?
Luxury... corrupts at once rich and poor, the rich by possession and the poor by covetousness.
They must know but little of mankind who imagine that, having once been seduced by luxury, they can ever renounce it.
The purpose of food is to relieve hunger and thirst, not to minister to caprice and luxury.
On the soft bed of luxury most kingdoms have expired.
The man whom neither riches nor luxury nor grandeur can render happy may, with a book in his hand, forget all his troubles under the friendly shade of every tree, and may experience pleasures as infinite as they are varied, as pure as they are lasting, as lively as they are unfading, and as compatible with every public duty as they are contributory to private happiness.
Pessimism about man serves to maintain the status quo. It is a luxury for the affluent, a sop to the guilt of the politically inactive, a comfort to those who continue to enjoy the amenities of privilege.
Is not hope of being one day able to purchase and enjoy luxuries a great spur to labor and industry? May not luxury, therefore, produce more than it consumes, if without such a spur people would be, as they are naturally enough inclined to be, lazy and indolent?
So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from its foundation, and every new story but hastens the final catastrophe.
When princes think more of luxury than of arms, they lose their state.
Luxury either comes of riches or makes them necessary; it corrupts at once rich and poor, the rich by possession and the poor by covetousness; it sells the country to softness and vanity, and takes away from the state all its citizens, to make them slaves one to another, and one and all to public opinion.