The enduring assumption that human behaviour is governed by innate morality and reason is at odds with the persistence of human deprivation, inequality, injustice, misery, brutality and conflict.
Human beings are emotional amoral egoists, driven above all by emotional self-interest. All of our thoughts, beliefs and motivations are neurochemically mediated, some predetermined for survival, others alterable.
A good governance paradigm that limits excesses of human nature and ensures an atmosphere of happiness and productivity by promoting reason and dignity is required.
After these matters we ought perhaps next to discuss pleasure. For it is thought to be most intimately connected with our human nature, which is the reason why in educating the young we steer them by the rudders of pleasure and pain; it is thought, too, that to enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought has the greatest bearing on virtue of character. For these things extend right through life, with a weight and power of their own in respect both to virtue and to the happy life, since men choose what is pleasant and avoid what is painful; and such things, it will be thought, we should least of all omit to discuss, especially since they admit of much dispute.
Do not blame a man who delays in securing what are his just rights but blame lies on him who grasps the rights which do not belong to him.
What actions are the most excellent? Those, certainly, which most powerfully appeal to the great primary human affections: to those elementary feelings which subsist permanently in the race, and which are independent of time. These feelings are permanent and the same; that which interests them is permanent and the same also.
I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.
I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It's by the
nature of his deep inner soul ... we're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.
Simple, sincere people seldom speak much of their piety. It shows itself in acts rather than in words, and has more influence than homilies or protestations. Beth could not reason upon or explain the faith that gave her courage and patience to give up life, and cheerfully wait for death. Like a confiding child, she asked no questions, but left everything to God and nature, Father and Mother of us all, feeling sure that they, and they only, could teach and strengthen heart and spirit for this life and the life to come. She did not rebuke Jo with saintly speeches, only loved her better for her passionate affection, and clung more closely to the dear human love, from which our Father never means us to be weaned, but through which He draws us closer to Himself. She could not say, "I'm glad to go," for life was very sweet for her. She could only sob out, "I try to be willing," while she held fast to Jo, as the first bitter wave of this great sorrow broke over them together.
Everything that can be found in the universe on a large scale is reflected in a human being on a small scale.
Fundamentally, however, there is neither good nor evil; this is all based on human concepts. In the universe there exists neither good nor evil, because everything has been created in accordance with immutable laws. the divine principles are reflected in these laws, and only through knowing these laws will we be able to get close to the divine.
To accomplish the majestically practical work, to shape the whole architecture like a statue, base nothing on impossible modifications of human nature; await nothing from pity.
Tenderness is greater than love. I do not admire carnal love when it is by itself and bare. I do not admire its disorderly selfish paroxysms, so grossly short-lived. And yet without love the attachment of two human beings is always weak. Love must be added to affection. The things it contributes to a union are absolutely needed exclusiveness, intimacy, and simplicity.
We do not die. Each human being is alone in the world. It seems absurd, contradictory to say this, and yet it is so. But there are many human beings like me. No, we cannot say that. In saying that, we set ourselves outside the truth in a kind of abstraction. All we can say is: I am alone.
And that is why we do not die.
Where are the words that will light the way? What is humanity in the world, and what is the world?
Everything is within me, and there are no judges, and there are no boundaries and no limits to me. The de profundis, the effort not to die, the fall of desire with its soaring cry, all this has not stopped. It is part of the immense liberty which the incessant mechanism of the human heart exercises (always something different, always!).
Structures of lines, surfaces, forms, colours. They try to approach the eternal, the inexpressible above men. They are a denial of human egotism. They are the hatred of human immodesty, the hatred of images, of paintings... Wisdom (is) the feeling for the coming reality, the mystical, the definite indefinite, the greatest definite.
The ever-present impulse is to push against restriction and, in so doing, to feel intolerably hemmed in. Thus in practice, every liberation increases the sense of oppression. Nor is the paradox merely in the mind: the laws enacted to secure the rights of every person and group, by creating protective boundaries, create new barriers.
Peace is never long preserved by weight of metal or by an armament race. Peace can be made tranquil and secure only by understanding and agreement fortified by sanctions. We must embrace international cooperation or international disintegration. Science has taught us how to put the atom to work. But to make it work for good instead of for evil lies in the domain dealing with the principles of human dignity. We are now facing a problem more of ethics than of physics.
Generalities would have been soon forgotten. But the story that had its roots in everyday human existence and need, lives and will live forever. It condensed the philosophy of Christianity into half a dozen unforgettable paragraphs. The parable of the Good Samaritan is the greatest advertisement of all times.
When attempts were later made to speak systematically about God and to describe His nature, men became more talkative. They spoke of God's aseity , His being grounded in Himself; they spoke of God's infinity in space and time, and therefore of God's eternity. And men spoke on the other hand of God's holiness and righteousness, mercifulness and patience. We must be clear that whatever we say of God in such human concepts can never be more than an indication of Him; no such concept can really conceive the nature of God. God is inconceivable.
He is the One who stands above us and also above our highest and deepest feelings, strivings, intuitions, above the products, even the most sublime, of the human spirit. God in the highest means first of all He who is in no way established in us, in no way corresponds to a human disposition and possibility, but who is in every sense established simply in Himself and is real in that way; and who is manifest and made manifest to us men, not because of our seeking and finding, feeling and thinking, but again and again, only through Himself. It is this God in the highest who has turned as such to man, given Himself to man, made Himself knowable to him God in the highest, in the sense of the Christian Confession, means He who from on high has condescended to us, has come to us, has become ours.
There is no way from us to God not even via negativa not even a via dialectica nor paradoxa. The god who stood at the end of some human way even of this way would not be God.
God, the pure limit and pure beginning of all that we are, have, and do, standing over in infinite qualitative difference to man and all that is human, nowhere and never identical with that which we call God, experience, surmise, and pray to as God, the unconditioned Halt as opposed to all human rest, the Yes in our No and the No in our Yes, the first and last and as such unknown, but nowhere and never a magnitude amongst others in the medium known to us, God the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer . . . that is the living God.
Physician of the Iron Age,
Goethe has done his pilgrimage.
He took the suffering human race,
He read each wound, each weakness clear
And struck his finger on the place,
And said Thou ailest here, and here.
Beware of sluggishness, annoyance and impatience, since they are the keys of all the evils. The person who commits sluggishness and slackness never at all discharges any rights (obligations); and the one who gets annoyed and restless, does never at all remain patient over the right (God's decree on him).