Shame

There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.

What the public does is not to express its opinions but to align itself for or against a proposal. If that theory is accepted, we must abandon the notion that democratic government can be the direct expression of the will of the people. We must abandon the notion that the people govern. Instead we must adopt the theory that, by their occasional mobilizations as a majority, people support or oppose the individuals who actually govern. We must say that the popular will does not direct continuously but that it intervenes occasionally.

Vast tribes of savages, who had always been idolaters, who were perfectly incapable, from their low state of civilization, of forming any but anthropomorphic conceptions of the Deity, or of concentrating their attention steadily on any invisible object, and who for the most part were converted not by individual persuasion but by the commands of their chiefs, embraced Christianity in such multitudes that their habits of mind soon became the dominating habits of the Church. From this time the tendency to idolatry was irresistible. The old images were worshipped under new names, and one of the most prominent aspects of the Apostolical teaching was in practice ignored.

I recall one particular sunset. It lent an ember to my bicycle hell. Overhead, above the black music of telegraph wires, a number of long, dark-violet clouds lined with flamingo pink hung motionless in a fan-shaped arrangement; the whole thing was like some prodigious ovation in terms of color and form! It was dying, however, and everything else was darkening, too; but just above the horizon, in a lucid, turquoise space, beneath a black stratus, the eye found a vista that only a fool could mistake for the square parts of this or any other sunset. It occupied a very small sector of the enormous sky and had the peculiar neatness of something seen through the wrong end of a telescope. There it lay in wait, a brilliant convolutions, anachronistic in their creaminess and extremely remote; remote but perfect in every detail; fantastically reduced but faultlessly shaped; my marvelous tomorrow ready to be delivered to me.

You know, I still feel in my wrists certain echoes of the pram-pusher’s knack, such as, for example, the glib downward pressure one applied to the handle in order to have the carriage tip up and climb the curb. First came an elaborate mouse-gray vehicle of Belgian make, with fat autoid tires and luxurious springs, so large that it could not enter our puny elevator. It rolled on sidewalks in a slow stately mystery, with the trapped baby inside lying supine, well covered with down, silk and fur; only his eyes moved, warily, and sometimes they turned upward with one swift sweep of their showy lashes to follow the receding of branch-patterned blueness that flowed away from the edge of the half-cocked hood of the carriage, and presently he would dart a suspicious glance at my face to see if the teasing trees and sky did not belong, perhaps to the same order of things as did rattles and parental humor. There followed a lighter carriage, and in this, as he spun along, he would tend to rise, straining at his straps; clutching at the edges; standing there less like the groggy passenger of a pleasure boat than like an entranced scientist in a spaceship; surveying the speckled skeins of a live, warm world; eyeing with philosophic interest the pillow he had managed to throw overboard; falling out himself when a strap burst one day. Still later he rode in one of those small contraptions called strollers; from initial springy and secure heights the child came lower and lower, until, when he was about one and a half, he touched ground in front of the moving stroller by slipping forward out of his seat and beating the sidewalk with his heels in anticipation of being set loose in some public garden. A new wave of evolution started to swell, gradually lifting him again from the ground, when, for his second birthday, he received a four-foot-long, silver-painted Mercedes racing car operated by inside pedals, like an organ, and in this he used to drive with a pumping, clanking noise up and down the sidewalk of the Kurfurstendamm while from open windows came the multiplied roar of a dictator still pounding his chest in the Neander valley we had left far behind.

Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.

Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, "I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction".

It is not disgraceful to ask, it is disgraceful no to know. (Used to encourage people to be inquisitive.)

The one who burns his mouth for drinking milk too hot, eats even yogurt carefully. (Used to make the point that life's bad experiences teach people to be cautious.)

You can proclaim the truth also in a friendly way.

So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that's where you will find success. On the far side of failure.

The mind of Caesar. It is the reverse of most men's. It rejoices in committing itself. To us arrive each day a score of challenges; we must say yes or no to decisions that will set off chains of consequences. Some of us deliberate; some of us refuse the decision, which is itself a decision; some of us leap giddily into the decision, setting our jaws and closing our eyes, which is the sort of decision of despair. Caesar embraces decision. It is as though he felt his mind to be operating only when it is interlocking itself with significant consequences. Caesar shrinks from no responsibility. He heaps more and more upon his shoulders.

All is lost! This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me: my fleet hath yielded to the foe, and yonder they cast their caps up and carouse together like friends long lost. Triple-turned whore! 'tis thou has sold me to this novice, and my heart makes only wars on thee. Bid them all fly; for when I am revenged upon my charm, I have done all. Bid them all fly, begone. O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more. Fortune and Antony part here, even here do we shake hands. All come to this? The hearts that spanieled me at heels, to whom I gave their wishes, do discandy, melt their sweets on blossoming Caesar; and this pine is barked, that overtopped them all. Betrayed I am. O this false soul of Egypt! this grave charm, whose eye becked forth my wars, and called them home, whose bosom was my crownet, my chief end, like a right gypsy hath at fast and loose beguiled me to the very heart of loss. What, Eros, Eros! [Enter Cleopatra.] Ah, thou spell! Avaunt! Vanish, or I shall give thee thy deserving and blemish Caesar's triumph. Let him take thee and hoist thee up to the shouting plebeians; follow his chariot, like the greatest spot of all thy sex. Most monster-like be shown for poor'st diminitives, for dolts, and let patient Octavia plough thy visage up with her preparèd nails. [Exit Cleopatra.] 'Tis well th' art gone, I it be well to live; but better 'twere thou fell'st into my fury, for one death might have prevented many. Eros, ho! The shirt of Nessus is upon me; teach me, Alcides, thou mine ancestor, thy rage. Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' th' moon and with those hands that grasped the heaviest club subdue my worthiest self. The witch shall die. To the young Roman boy she hath sold me, and I fall under his plot: she dies for 't. Eros, ho! Antony and Cleopatra, Act iv, Scene 12

And I could laugh; I am light and heavy.

By a divine instinct men's minds distrust ensuing danger, as by proof we see the waters swell before a boisterous storm.

Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night, give me my Romeo; and when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun. Romeo and Juliet, Act iii, Scene 2

Misfortune does not always wait on vice; nor is success the constant guest of virtue.

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.

I am tired of the position of the dried-up critic and doubter. The believer is the true full man.

The war-party is assuredly right in affirming and reaffirming that the martial virtues, although originally gained by the race through war, are absolute and permanent human goods. Patriotic pride and ambition in their military form are, after all, only specifications of a more general competitive passion. They are its first form, but that is no reason for supposing them to be its last form. Men are now proud of belonging to a conquering nation, and without a murmur they lay down their persons and their wealth, if by so doing they may fend off subjection. But who can be sure that other aspects of one's country may not, with time and education and suggestion enough, come to be regarded with similarly effective feelings of pride and shame? Why should men not someday feel that is it worth a blood-tax to belong to a collectivity superior in any respect? Why should they not blush with indignant shame if the community that owns them is vile in any way whatsoever? Individuals, daily more numerous, now feel this civic passion. It is only a question of blowing on the spark until the whole population gets incandescent, and on the ruins of the old morals of military honor, a stable system of morals of civic honor builds itself up. What the whole community comes to believe in grasps the individual as in a vise. The war-function has grasped us so far; but the constructive interests may someday seem no less imperative, and impose on the individual a hardly lighter burden.