relations

The first real mental illumination I remember to have experienced was when I saw that the universe exists in each of its individual atoms - that is, the universe is the result of a few simple processes infinitely repeated. When a drop of water has been mathematically measured, every principle will have been used which would be called form in the measurement of the heavens. All life on the globe is sustained by digestion and assimilation; when by voluntary and traumatic action these stop death follows. The history of an individual mind is the history of the race. Know one thing in its properties and relations and you will know all things.

The domestic relations precede, and in our present existence are worth more than all our other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart, and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtue. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interest of human life.

Ultimately there can be no freedom for self unless it is vouchsafed for others; there can be no security where there is fear, and democratic society presupposes confidence and candor in the relations of men with one another and eager collaboration for the larger ends of life instead of the pursuit of petty, selfish or vainglorious aims.

Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact. Whatever, therefore, is not susceptible of this agreement or disagreement, is incapable of being true or false, and can never be an object of our reason. Now ‘tis evident our passions, volitions, and actions, are not susceptible of any such agreement or disagreement; being original facts and realities, complete in themselves, and implying no reference to other passions, volitions, and actions. ‘Tis impossible, therefore, they can be pronounced either true or false, and be either contrary or conformable to reason.

The distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceiv’d by reason.

The rationalist’s dilemma: either the free act is possible, or it is not - either the event originates in me or is imposed on me from outside, does not apply to our relations with the world and with our past. Our freedom does not destroy our situation, but gears itself to it: as long as we are alive, our situation is open, which implies both that it calls up specially favoured modes of resolution, and also that it is powerless to bring one into being by itself.

What is then liberty? To be born is at once to be born in the world and to the world. The world is already constituted, but never completely. Under the first rapport, we are solicited, under the second we are open to an infinity of possibilities. But this analysis is still abstract, because we exist under these two relations at once. There is therefore never determinism and never absolute choice; I am never a thing and never naked consciousness.

Love hates people to be attached to each other except by himself, and takes a laggard part in relations that are set up and maintained under another title, as marriage is. Connections and means have, with reason, as much weight in it as graces and beauty, or more. We do not marry for ourselves, whatever we say; we marry must as much or more for our posterity, for our family. The practice and benefit of marriage concerns our race very far beyond us. Therefore I like this fashion of arranging it rather by a third hand than by our own, and by the sense of other rather than by our own. How opposite is all this to the conventions of love!

Lying is an ugly vice... Since mutual understanding is brought about solely by way of words, he who breaks his word betrays human society. It is the only instrument by means of which our wills and thoughts communicate, it is the interpreter of our soul. If it fails us, we have no more hold on each other, no more knowledge of each other. If it deceives us, it breaks up all our relations and dissolves all the bonds of our society.

The foundation of good human relations is friendliness and good will.

The super-businessmen have to a large extent failed to see that the need for morality in the people they practically govern is greater than ever, because social relations are infinitely more delicate and complex in adjustment than heretofore.

The general conclusion is that all the objects of science, including minds and goods, are things occurring in space and time... and that we can study them in virtue of the fact that we come into spatial and temporal relations with them. And therefore all ideals, ultimates, symbols, agencies and the like are to be rejected, and no such distinction as that of facts and principles, or facts and values, can be maintained. There are only facts, i.e., occurrences in space and time.

Beliefs about particular matters of fact (including beliefs whose content is an unrestricted existentially quantified proposition) are structures in the mind of the believer which represent or ‘map’ reality, including the believer’s own mind and belief-states. The fundamental representing elements and relations of the map represent the sorts of thing they represent because they spring from capacities of the believer to act selectively towards things of that sort.

It is good... to try in imagination to give to any one species an advantage over another. Probably in no single instance should we know what to do. This ought to convince us of our ignorance on the mutual relations of all organic beings; a conviction as necessary as it is difficult to acquire. All that we can do, is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase in a geometrical ration; that each at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation or at intervals, has to struggle for life and to suffer great destruction. When we reflect on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.

The true opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Hate, bad as it is, at least treats a neighbor as a thou, whereas indifference turns the neighbor into an it, a thing. That is why we may say there is actually one thing worse than evil itself and that is indifference to evil. In human relations the nadir of morality, the lowest point as far as Christian ethics is concerned, is manifest in the phrase, 'I could care less.'

In the pioneer days of our history it was easy to love one's neighbor and respect his rights, when possibly the neighbor lived at a distance of four or five miles and the relations were not intimate enough to occasion a clash of interests. Now one finds that society rather than another individual is his neighbor.

Never was there a time, in the history of the world, when moral heroes were more needed. The world waits for such, the providence of God has commanded science to labor and prepare the way for such. For them she is laying her iron tracks, and stretching her wires and bridging the oceans. But where are they? Who shall breathe into our civil and political relations the breath of a higher life? Who shall touch the eyes of a paganized science, and of a pantheistic philosophy, that they may see God? Who shall consecrate to the glory of God the triumphs of science? Who shall bear the life-boat to the stranded and perishing nations.

The relations of all living end in separation.

Life is a system of relations rather than a positive and independent existence; and he who would be happy himself and make others happy must carefully preserve these relations. He cannot stand apart in surly and haughty egotism; let him learn that he is as much dependent others as others are on him.

My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine... Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.