Many men who spend an hour a day in physical exercises to keep fit refuse to spend an hour a week in the cultivation of their morals and their ethics. We have put so little emphasis on developing our souls that our children are beginning to doubt if we have any souls at all.
It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal.
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.
Happiness is fundamental in morals only because happiness is not something to be sought for, but is something now attained, even in the midst of pain and trouble, whenever recognition of our ties with nature and with fellow-men releases and informs our action.
The only moral virtue of war is that it compels the capitalist system to look itself in the face and admit it is a fraud. It compels the present society to admit that it has no morals it will not sacrifice for gain.
When the taste is purified, the morals are not easily corrupted. Whatever injures the body, the morals, or the mind, will lessen or vitiate taste; thus, disorders of the body and violent passions of the mind, will do this, and so will also excessive care or covetousness; but above all, a habit of intemperance, and keeping low company will greatly deprave that which was once a good taste.
Without doubt the greatest injury of all was done by basing morals on myth. For, sooner or later, myth is recognized for what it is, and disappears. Then morality loses the foundation on which it has been built.
Wherever there is lost the consciousness that every man is an object of concern for us just because he is a man, civilization and morals are shaken, and the advance to fully developed inhumanity is only a question of time.
If your morals make you dreary, depend on it that they are wrong.
The great task of peace is to work morals into it. The only sort of peace that will be real is one in which everybody takes his share or responsibility. World organizations and conferences will be of no value unless there is improvement in the relation of men to men.
Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to beat the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name.