On virtue

I don’t know whether it was Plato or my uncle who said virtue is its own reward. I will insist it is my uncle. This being the case, can that which is serviceable to both ill and good, be virtuous or should we consider them as being neutral.

Only a man of courage can dare rob a police station. But it takes great courage to stop a thief or a rapist. It is a brave person who will attempt to stop a robbery in progress. It is an act of bravery- even if ill-advised to throw a shoe at governor Bush ( per George Carlin).

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Patriotism, they say is the last refuge of the scoundrel but so is nationalism, tribalism and racism. For how is one to be proud of something for which they have not done anything to be. Maybe those who change nationality could say they are proud of their new citizenship but I wonder whether it would be necessary.

What would be your reaction had you, after being deprived of human contact since birth, met another person? Would it be joy? Revulsion? Or anything in between?

Why are so many humans blockheads? Even the genius is to be found ignorant on something and even contemptible. Maybe intelligence is an accident. We were not meant to be intelligent. Human beings believe so many stupid things you pinch yourself and ask, do they think?

Have a restful evening, won’t you?

On vice and virtue

On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.

Albert Camus, The Plague

The only prayer you should be saying, if you must

I here below, teach you how to pray, if you must pray

O Nature: sovereign of all beings! and ye her adorable daughters, VIRTUE, REASON and TRUTH remain for ever our revered protectors: it is to you that belong the praises of the human race, to you appertains the homage of the earth. Shew, us, then, O Nature, that which man ought to do, in order to obtain the happiness which thou makest him desire. Virtue, animate him with they beneficent fire. Reason, conduct his uncertain steps through the paths of life. Truth, let they torch illumine his intellect, dissipate the darkness of his road. Unite, O assisting deities! your powers, in order to submit the hearts of mankind to your dominion. Banish error from our mind, wickedness from our hearts, confusion from our footsteps; cause knowledge to extend its salubrious reign, goodness to occupy our souls, serenity to dwell in our bosoms. Let imposture, confounded, never again dare to shew its head. Let our eyes, so long, either dazzled or blindfolded, be at length fixed upon those objects we ought to seek. Dispel for ever those mists of ignorance, those hideous phantoms, together with those seducing chimeras, which only serve to lead us astray, Extricate us from that dark abyss into which we are plunged by superstition, overthrow the fatal empire of delusion, crumble the throne of falsehood, wrest from their polluted hands the power they have usurped.

Command men, without sharing your authority with mortals, break the chains that bind them down in slavery, tear away the bandeau by which they are hoodwinked, allay the fury that intoxicates them, break in the hands of sanguinary, lawless tyrants, that iron sceptre with which they are crushed to exile, the imaginary regions, from whence fear has imported them, those theories by which they are afflicted.

Inspire the intelligent being with courage, infuse energy into his system, that, at length he may feel his own dignity, that he may dare to love himself, to esteem his own actions when they are worthy, that a slave only to your eternal laws, he may no longer fear to enfranchise himself from all other trammels, that blest with freedom, he may have the wisdom to cherish his fellow creature, and become happy by learning to perfection his own condition, instruct him in the great lesson, that the high road to felicity, is to prudently partake himself, and also cause others to enjoy, the rich banquet which thou, O Nature, has so bountifully set before him.

Console thy children from those sorrows to which their destiny submits them, by those pleasures which wisdom allows them to partake, teach them to be contended with their condition, to banish envy from their mind, to yield silently to necessity. Conduct them without alarm to that period which all beings must find, let them learn that time changes all things, that consequently, they are made neither to avoid it’s scythe nor to fear its arrival.

D’Holdbach in the System of Nature