blue bits. red rocks.


If Plato were to come back today I think he would have a lot to say about so many things but crowdsourcing would be of great interest to him. He’s quite interested in this idea, but he’s very down on it. He’s very much against it because, you know, he doesn’t – he didn’t have much faith in the ethical opinions of the masses. He thought that ethics was a kind of knowledge that is extremely hard to attain. He’s right. Rebecca Goldstein

A nihilist is not one who believes in nothing, but one who does not believe in what exists. Albert Camus

The divergent Greek and Hebrew approaches went into the mix that is Western culture, often clashing but sometimes also tempering one another. Over the centuries, philosophy, perhaps aided by religion, learned to abandon entirely the flawed Greek presumption that only extraordinary lives matter. This was progress of the philosophical variety, subtler than the dazzling triumphs of science, but nevertheless real. Philosophy has laboriously put forth arguments that have ever widened the sphere of mattering. It was natural for the Greeks to exclude their women and slaves, not to mention non-Greeks, whom they dubbed barbarians. Such exclusions are unthinkable to us now. Being inertial creatures, we required rigorous and oft-repeated arguments that spearheaded social movements that resulted, at long last, in the once quixotic declaration of human rights. We’ve come a long way from the kleos of Greeks, with its unexamined presumption that mattering is inequitably distributed among us, with the multireplicated among us mattering more. What Would Plato Tweet?

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. Plato

All the time you live you steal from life; living is at life’s expense. The constant work of your life is to build death. You are in death while you are in life, for you are after death when you are no longer in life. Or, if you prefer it this way, you are dead after life, but during life you are dying; and death affects the dying much more roughly than the dead, and more keenly and essentially. Michel de Montaigne

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. Immanuel Kant

Fundamentalists correctly perceive that universal moral standards are required for the proper functioning of society. But they erroneously believe that God is the only possible source of such standards. Philosophers as diverse as Plato, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, George Edward Moore, and John Rawls have demonstrated that it is possible to have a universal morality without God. Contrary to what the fundamentalists would have us believe, then, what our society really needs is not more religion but a richer notion of the nature of morality. Theodore Schick

This much I ask of them: when my sons grow up, avenge yourselves by causing them the same kind of grief that I caused you, if you think they care for money or anything else more than they care for virtue, or if they think they are somebody when they are nobody. Reproach them as I reproach you, that they do not care for the right things and think they are worthy when they are not worthy of anything. If you do this, I shall have been justly treated by you, and my sons also. Socrates

Every calamity that befalls them [the great and powerful], every injury that is done them, excites in the breast of the spectator ten times more compassion and resentment than he would have felt, had the same things happened to other men. Adam Smith

Equality (outside mathematics) is a purely social conception. It applies to man as a political and economic animal. It has no place in the world of the mind. Beauty is not democratic; she reveals herself more to the few than to the many, more to the persistent and disciplined seekers than to the careless. Virtue is not democratic; she is achieved by those who pursue her more hotly than most men. Truth is not democratic; she demands special talents and special industry in those to whom she gives her favours. C.S. Lewis

Think of a hospital. The patients are dying like flies. The methods are altered in one way and another. It’s no use. What does it come from? It comes from the building, the whole building is full of poison. That the patients are registered as dead, one of this disease, and that one of another, is not true; for they are all dead from the poison that is in the building. So it is in the religious sphere. That the religious situation is lamentable, that religiously men are in a pitiable state, nothing is more certain. So one man thinks that it would help if we got a new hymnal, another a new altar-book, another a musical service, etc., etc. In vain—for it comes from…the building… Let it collapse, this lumber room, get rid of it, shut all these shops and booths… And let us again serve God in simplicity, instead of treating him as a fool in magnificent buildings. Soren Kierkegaard

The nationalist is by definition an ignoramus. Nationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, that’s to say national, that’s to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hell—it’s other people (other nations, another tribe). They don’t even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own images—as nationalists. Danilo Kiš

A GNT creation ©2007–2014