Foremost among the barriers to equality is the system which ignores the mother’s service to Society in making a home and rearing children. The mother is still the uncharted servant of the future, who receives from her husband, at his discretion, a share in his wages.
Instinct gave place temporarily to a system of habits, each one of which became contingent, their convergence of which became contingent, their convergence towards the preservation of society being alone necessary, and this necessity bringing back instinct with it. The necessity of the whole, felt behind the contingency of the parts, is what we call moral obligation in general - it being understood that the parts are contingent in the eyes of society only; to the individual, into whom society inculcates its habits, the part is as necessary as the whole.
Inside the souls of wealthy men bleak famine lives while minds of stature struggle trapped in starving bodies. How then can man distinguish man, what test can he use? The test of wealth? That measure means poverty of mind; of poverty? The pauper owns one thing, the sickness of his condition, a compelling teacher of evil; by nerve in war? Yet who, when a spear is cast across his face, will stand to witness his companion’s courage? We can only toss our judgments random on the wind.
It is better to give love. Hatred is a low and degrading emotion and is so poisonous that no man is strong enough to use it safely. The hatred we think we are directing against some person or thing or system has a devilish way of turning back upon us. When we seek revenge we administer slow poison to ourselves. When we administer affection it is astonishing what magical results we obtain.
The whole history of science, art and morals proves that the mind that appears in individuals, is not as such individual mind. The former is in itself a system of belief, recognitions, and ignorances, of acceptances and rejections, of expectancies and appraisals of meanings which have been instituted under the influence of custom and tradition.
It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence.
There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world.
The best teacher is... the one who kindles an inner fire, arouses moral enthusiasm, inspires the student with a vision of what he may become and reveals the worth and permanency of moral and spiritual and cultural values.
We have in America the largest public school system on earth, the most expensive college buildings, the most extensive curriculum, but nowhere else is education so blind to its objectives, so indifferent to any specific outcome as in America. One trouble has been its negative character. It has aimed at the repression of faults rather than the creation of virtues.
What sort of philosophy one chooses depends, therefore, on what sort of man one is; for a philosophical system is not a dead piece of furniture that we can reject or accept as we wish; it is rather a thing animated by the soul of the person who holds it. A person indolent by nature or dulled and distorted by mental servitude, learned luxury, and vanity will never raise himself to the level of idealism.
Suffering is meant to benefit not only the individual who is personally suffering. It is meant as a teacher to anyone who sees it or hears about it. The suffering of anyone in the world can serve as a tool we can use to learn lessons that will elevate us.
The only difference betwixt the natural vices and justice lies in this, that the good, which results from the former, arises from every single act, and is the object of some natural passion: whereas a single act of justice, consider’d in itself, may often be contrary to the public good; and ‘tis only the concurrence of mankind, in a general scheme or system of action, which is advantageous.