"As close to electrifying as one could imagine”           Meche Kroop/Voce di Meche (NYC)

Welcome to Philosophical Reflections.  I appreciate the opportunity to share

ideas with you that have been particularly meaningful in my readings.

Please... share your thoughts with me in the form below.  They will be most welcome!

DEMOSTHENES The Public Orations of Demosthenes, Vol. 2 "The Third Philippic"

(Print on Demand from Monee, IL; Translated by Arthur Wallace Pickard)

“…As it is, Philip has conquered your indolence and your indifference; but he has not conquered Athens.  You have not been vanquished – you have never even stirred…"                                              ¶5

“…you will be wise if you resist him at once... if you let him be, you will find that, when you wish to resist, resistance itself is impossible.”                                                                                                       ¶19

"…though all but ourselves give way and become slaves, we at least must contend for freedom."           ¶70
"…That is the policy for a city with a reputation such as yours."                                                             73
"…The task is yours.  It is the prerogative that your forefathers won, and through many a great peril bequeathed to you."                                                                                                                                   
¶74

DEMOSTHENES The Public Orations of Demosthenes, Vol. 2 "The Third Philippic"

(Print on Demand from Monee, IL; Translated by Arthur Wallace Pickard)

"There was a spirit… in the minds of the people in those days, which is absent today – the spirit which vanquished the wealth of Persia, which led Hellas in the path of freedom, and never gave way in the face of battle by sea or land; a spirit whose extinction today has brought universal ruin and turned Hellas upside down.  What was this spirit?                                                                                               ¶36

 

"It meant that men who took money from those who aimed at dominion or at the ruin of Hellas were execrated by all; that it was then a very grave thing to be convicted of bribery; that the punishment for the guilty man was the heaviest that could be inflicted; that for him there could be no plea for mercy, nor hope of pardon."                                                                                                                      ¶37

"Where are such sentiments now?  They have been sold in the market and are gone… pardon granted to those whose guilt is proved..."                                                                                                             ¶39

HENRY DAVID THOREAU Walden and Civil Disobedience "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

(Mint Editions)

There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."                                                                                                   Pg. 214

JOHN F. KENNEDY "Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Voice of America"

(Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, February 26, 1962)

(https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2276-we-are-not-afraid-to-entrust-the-american-people-with)

 

“...a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER "Farewell Address to the American People"

(https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/eisenhower001.asp)

NOTE: 

Eisenhower's "Farewell Address to the American People" is often referred to as his

"Military-Industrial Complex Speech."  As you read below, you can see in no uncertain terms that

President Eisenhower was warning the American people, not only about the military-industrial

complex, but also about becoming "the captive of a scientifictechnological elite."


President Eisenhower gave his Military-Industrial Complex Speech on January 17, 1961

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963
(For the full speech, please follow the Yale link above.)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower:

 

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience."

"The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

"Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

 

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

"In this revolution, research has become central..."

 

"Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite."

(emphases mine)

JOHN F. KENNEDY "Profiles in Courage"

(A Cardinal Edition published by arrangement with Harper & Brothers)

“Our political life is becoming so expensive, so mechanized and so dominated by professional politicians and public relations men that the idealist who dreams of independent statesmanship is rudely awakened by the necessities of election and accomplishment…

"And thus, in the days ahead, only the very courageous will be able to take the hard and unpopular decisions necessary for our survival in the struggle with a powerful enemy – an enemy with leaders who need give little thought to the popularity of their course, who need pay little tribute to the public opinion they themselves manipulate… "                                                                                               Pg. 16

 

"Only the strength and progress and peaceful change that come from independent judgment and individual ideas – and even from the unorthodox and the eccentric – can enable us to surpass that foreign ideology that fears free thought more than it fears hydrogen bombs."                               Pg. 17

WILLIAM PENN "Some Fruits of Solitude"

(Print on Demand by Wilma Baltus)

“244.  The greatest Understandings doubt most, are readiest to learn, and least pleas'd with themselves; this, with no Body else.

"245.  For tho' they stand on higher Ground, and so see farther than their Neighbors, they are yet humbled by their Prospect, since it shews them something, so much higher and above their Reach.

"246.  And truly then it is, that Sense shines with the greatest Beauty, when it is set in Humility."                                                                                                                                                                    Pg. 86

H. L. MENCKEN "A Mencken Chrestomathy [Choice Works]"

(Published by Vintage Books, a Division of Random House)

​​"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblin taboos, all of them imaginary."       Pg. 29

WILLIAM PENN "Some Fruits of Solitude"

(Print on Demand by Wilma Baltus)

“51.  It is a Reproach to Religion and Government to suffer so much Poverty and Excess."             Pg. 13

 

"127. Fear and Gain are great Perverters of Mankind, and where either prevail, the judgment is violated.”                                                                                                                                                   Pg. 22

“257.  An able bad Man is an ill Instrument, and to be shunned as the Plague.”                               Pg. 35

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"

(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Based on the 1791 Edition, New York)

​​"...we see how cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the human race, and how absurd distinguished men can be..."                                                                                                                                           Pg. 50

"Observations on my reading history... May 19th, 1731"                                                                      Pg. 62

"That few in public affairs act from a mere view of the good of their country, whatever they may pretend...

"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind."                                      Pg. 63

LAO TZU "Tao Te Ching"

(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

“In the Kingdom the multiplication of prohibitive enactments increases the poverty of the people; the more implements to add to their profit that the people have, the greater disorder is there in the state and clan; the more acts of crafty dexterity that men possess, the more do strange contrivances appear; the more display there is of legislation, the more thieves and robbers there are."           No. 57

IMMANUEL KANT "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals"

(Cambridge University Press; Translated by Mary Gregor)

“It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will.  Understanding, wit, judgment and the like, whatever such talents of mind may be called, or courage, resolution, and perseverance in one’s plans, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable for many purposes, but they can also be extremely evil and harmful if the will which is to make use of these gifts of nature, and whose distinctive constitution is therefore called character, is not good.  It is the same with gifts of fortune.  Power, riches, honor, even health and that complete well-being and satisfaction with one’s condition called happiness, produce boldness and thereby often arrogance as well unless a good will is present which corrects the influence of these on the mind and, in so doing, also corrects the whole principle of action and brings it into conformity with universal ends…"                                                                                                          Pg. 7

IMMANUEL KANT "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals"

(Cambridge University Press; Translated by Mary Gregor)

“…what counts is not actions, which one sees, but those inner principles of actions that one does not see."                                                                                                                                                                 Pg. 20

“One need not be an enemy of virtue... to become doubtful at certain moments (especially with increasing years, when experience has made one’s judgment partly more shrewd and partly more acute in observation) whether any true virtue is to be found in the world.”                                                     Pg. 20

“…he who transgresses the rights of human beings intends to make use of the person of others merely as means, without taking into consideration that, as rational beings, they are always to be valued at the same time as ends... "                                                                                                                                    Pg. 38

“Autonomy is therefore the ground of dignity of human nature..."                                                          Pg. 43

THIRUVALLUVAR "Thirukkural"

(First published by W.H. Allen, & Co., 1886; Translation and Commentary by Rev. George Uglow Pope)

980. "Greatness will hide a neighbor's shame;
         Meanness his [neighbor's] faults to all the world proclaim."

         The great hide the faults of others; the base only divulge them.                                                        Pg. 118

PUBLILIUS SYRUS "The Moral Sayings of Piblius Syrus: A Roman Slave"

(Reprint; Translated by D. Lyman, Jr.)

70.   "Money does not sate Avarice, but stimulates it."                                                                              Pg. 17

237. "Even when there is no law, there is conscience."                                                                              Pg. 29

306. "The evil that visits us with a smiling countenance, is the hardest to bear."                                   Pg. 34

463. "One man’s wickedness may easily become all men’s curse."                                                           Pg. 44

473. "The vicious are most to be feared, when they pretend to be good."                                              Pg. 45

588. "To control a man against his will, is not to correct him, but injure him."                                       Pg. 53

692. "Freedom alone is the source of noble action."                                                                                  Pg. 60

785. "It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are."                                                       Pg. 66

946. "When liberty has fallen, no one dares to open his mouth."                                                            Pg. 78

FERDINAND HILLER "Beethoven's Hair"

(Russell Martin, Author; Broadway Books of Random House, Inc.)

(Letter to Berthold Auerbach, ca. 1881)

“A lot of water will flow down the Rhine before a Jew is given a fine funeral in Germany.  I find the political and religious circumstances everywhere to be worthy of the strongest criticism… I wonder whether you and I will really miss taking part in the next fifty years.  I don’t think so.  We will be able to travel more comfortably – maybe we will even eat and drink better – but a lot of blood will flow and men will not be human anymore."                                                                                                         Pg. 53

ARISTOTLE "Nicomachean Ethics"

(Hackett Publishing Company; Translated by Terence Irwin)

“…for though we love both the truth and our friends, reverence is due to the truth first.”                                                                                                                                                                             Pg. 5

MARY BEATRICE MIDGLEY "Wickedness"

(Routledge & Kegan Paul Edition)

“Fatalism is the superstitious acceptance of unnecessary evil, based on a false belief in human impotence to do anything about it.  As a practice, it means taking no steps to cure that evil.  As a temper, it is the tendency to take up false beliefs in order to excuse inaction.”                                                   Pg. 94

BENEDICTUS de SPINOZA "The Ethics"

(Dover Reprint, of Bohn (Chief Works) Edition; Translated by R. H. M. Elwes)

“There is no individual thing in nature, which is more useful to man, than a man who lives in obedience to reason.                                                                                                                     Pg. 209-210

“Yet it rarely happens that men live in obedience to reason, for things are so ordered among them, that they are generally envious and troublesome one to another.”                                                 Pg. 210

GAIUS MUSONIUS RUFUS "Musonius Rufus"

(Published by William B. Irvine; Translated by Cynthia King)

“A wicked man does not befriend a wicked man and does not get along with him.  And a wicked man finds it even harder to get along with a good man."                                                                                  Pg. 58

"…none but the blessed do we envy."                                                                                                          Pg. 69

HIS HOLINESS, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA "Ethics for the New Millennium"

(Published by The Berkeley Publishing Group)

“…the fact that our actions may appear to be gentle does not mean that they are positive or ethical if our intentions are selfish.  On the contrary, if, for example our intention is to mislead, then to pretend kindness is a most unfortunate deed.  Though force may not be involved, such an act is certainly violent.  It does violence not only insofar as the end is harmful to the other but also in that it injures that person’s trust and expectation of truth."                                                                          Pg. 29

FRIEDRICH SCHILLLER "Aesthetical Essays" On the Sublime

(Anodos Books; Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole)

“...there is nothing more inconsistent with the dignity of man than to suffer violence, for violence effaces him.  He who does violence to us disputes nothing less than our humanity; he who submits in a cowardly spirit to the violence abdicates his quality of man."                                                                  Pg. 85

BENEDICTUS de SPINOZA "The Ethics"

(Dover Reprint, of Bohn (Chief Works) Edition; Translated by R. H. M. Elwes)

“Further, what can there be more clear, and more certain, than a true idea as a standard of truth?  Even as light displays both itself and darkness, so is truth a standard both of itself and of falsity.

"—in other words… truth is its own standard.  We may add that our mind, in so far as it perceives things truly, is part of the infinite intellect of God"                                                                           Pg. 115

DANIEL BARENBOIM "Daniel Barenboim, Everything is Connected"

(Phoenix, an imprint of Orion Books, Ltd.)

“The more one is able to determine one’s own thoughts – in fact, causing one’s own thoughts, thereby creating one’s own experience of reality – the more it is possible to become self-determined, to be truly free.”                                                                                                                                                                Pg. 45

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Pamphlet of a Philosopher

("Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life"; Edited and Translated by Robert Spaethling; W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.)

“It is not suitable for everybody to be modest; but it is appropriate for great men."                         Pg. 377

SEXTUS THE PYTHAGOREAN "Select Sentences of Sextus the Pythagorean"

(Forgotten Books; Translated by Thomas Taylor)

47. “Use lying like poison.

48. "Nothing is so peculiar to wisdom, as truth.

49. "When you preside over men, remember that divinity also presides over you."                             Pg. 48

59. "You are permitted to refuse matrimony, in order that you may live incessantly adhering to God.  If,

       however, as one knowing the battle, you are willing to fight, take a wife, and beget children."    Pg. 49

75. "You will not possess intellect, till you understand that you have it.

76. "Think that your body is the garment of your soul; and therefore preserve it pure.

84. "It is better to have nothing, than to possess much and impart it to no one."                                 Pg. 50

91. "It is not death, but a bad life, that destroys the soul.

93. "It is not possible for a man to live conformable to divinity, unless he acts modestly, well, and justly."

                                                                                                                                                                          Pg. 51

XENOPHON "Cyropaedia"

(Delphi Complete Works of Xenophon, Kindle Edition; Translated by Walter Miller)

“...the good and noble, I think, try to lead only to what is good and noble, and the vicious to what is vicious.”                                                                                                                                             Location 4922

 

"...that enemy of gods and men, who cherishes an implacable hatred not so much toward the man who does him wrong as toward the one whom he suspects of being better than himself.”           Location 6807

DEMOPHILUS / PYTHAGORAS "The Pythagorean Sentences of Demophilus"

(Forgotten Books; Translated by Thomas Taylor)

“It is impossible to receive from Divinity any gift greater than virtue."                                                    Pg. 27

HIS HOLINESS, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA "Ethics for the New Millennium"

(Published by The Berkeley Publishing Group)

“When we bring up our children to have knowledge without compassion, their attitude toward others is likely to be a mixture of envy of those in positions above them, aggressive competitiveness toward their peers, and scorn for those less fortunate."                                                                               Pg. 174

DANIEL BARENBOIM "Daniel Barenboim, Everything is Connected"

(Phoenix, an imprint of Orion Books, Ltd.)

"In times of totalitarian or autocratic rule, artists have often been able to remain true to themselves under otherwise very restrictive circumstances.  Culture, in this context, has frequently been the only avenue of independent thought.  It is the only way people can meet as equals and exchange ideas freely; it becomes the primary voice of the oppressed and takes over from politics as a driving force for change.  Often, in societies suffering from political oppression, or from a vacuum in leadership, culture takes a dynamic lead, changing external circumstances by influencing the collective consciousness of the people."                                                                                                                                                    Pgs. 62-63

SCHOPENHAUER The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics "On the Basis of Morals"

(Oxford World Classics, of Oxford University Press; Translated by David E. Cartwright & Edward E. Erdmann)

"…it is the intention alone which determines the moral worth or worthlessness of a deed, for which reason the very same deed, depending on the intention, can be reprehensible or praiseworthy."  Pg. 148

EPICTETUS "The Discourses"

(Walter J. Black, Inc. edition; Translated by Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

“You are a distinct portion of the essence of God, and contain a certain part of him in yourself.  Why then are you ignorant of your own kinship?  Why do you not consider the source from which you came?  Why do you not remember, when you are eating, who you are who eat, and whom you feed?  When you are in the company of women, when you are conversing, when you are exercising, when you are disputing, do you not know that it is the Divine you feed, the Divine you exercise?  You carry a God about with you”                                                                                                                                                       Pg. 42

MARY BEATRICE MIDGLEY "Wickedness"

(Routledge & Kegan Paul Edition)

“Injustice and oppression can be worse forms of wickedness than violence.”                                      Pg. 75

HIS HOLINESS, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA "Beyond Religion"

(Mariner Books of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual.  If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate.  So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, corruption, inequality, intolerance and greed – all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values – will persist.”                                                           Pgs. xii-xiii  

FRIEDRICH SCHILLER "On the Aesthetic Education of Man"

(Dover Edition, Translated by Reginald Snell)

"State and Church, law and customs, were now torn asunder; enjoyment was separated from labour, means from ends, effort from reward.  Eternally chained to only one single little fragment of the whole, Man himself grew to be only a fragment; with the monotonous noise of the wheel he drives everlastingly in his ears, he never develops the harmony of his being, and instead of imprinting humanity upon his nature he becomes merely the imprint of his occupation, of his science.  But even the meagre fragmentary association which still links the individual members to the whole, does not depend on forms which present themselves spontaneously (for how could such an artificial and clandestine piece of mechanism be entrusted to their freedom?), but is assigned to them with scrupulous exactness by a formula in which their free intelligence is restricted.  The lifeless letter takes the place of the living understanding, and a practiced memory is a surer guide than genius and feeling.”                                                                                                                                                    Pg. 40

BENEDICTUS de SPINOZA "The Ethics"

(Dover Reprint, of Bohn (Chief Works) Edition; Translated by R. H. M. Elwes)

“...men who are governed by reason – that is, who seek what is useful to them in accordance with reason, – desire for themselves nothing which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind, and, consequently, are just, faithful, and honourable in their conduct.”                                                  Pg. 202

HIS HOLINESS, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA "Ethics for the New Millennium"

(Published by The Berkeley Publishing Group)

“All human endeavor is potentially great and noble... But when concern for others’ feelings and welfare is missing, our activities tend to become spoiled.  Through lack of basic human feeling, religion, politics, economics, and so on can be rendered dirty.  Instead of serving humanity, they become agents of its destruction."                                                                                                      Pg. 174

FRIEDRICH SCHILLER "On the Aesthetic Education of Man"

(Dover Edition, Translated by Reginald Snell)

But how does the artist secure himself against the corruptions of his time, which everywhere encircle him? …let him strive, through the union of the possible with the necessary, to produce the Ideal.”     Pg. 52

“Give the world on which you are acting that direction towards the good, and the quiet rhythm of time will bring about its development.  You have given it this direction, if by your teaching you elevate its thoughts to the necessary and the eternal, if by your actions or your creations you transform the necessary and eternal into the object of its impulses.”                                                                       Pg. 53

“Drive away lawlessness, frivolity and coarseness from their pleasure, and you will imperceptibly banish them from their actions, and finally from their dispositions.  Wherever you find them surround them with noble, great and ingenious forms, enclose them all round with the symbols of excellence, until actuality is overpowered by appearance and Nature by Art.”                                                     Pg. 54

LONGINUS "On the Sublime"
(from the collection Classical Literary Criticism by Penquin Classics; Translated by Penelope Murray & T.S. Drucker)

“Other attributes prove their possessors to be men, but sublimity carries one up to where one is close to the majestic mind of God.”                                                                                                     Pg. 156

 

“For vast and unlimited wealth is closely followed – step by step, as they say – by extravagance, and no sooner has the one opened the gates of cities and houses than the other comes in and joins it in setting up house there.  With the passing of time, according to the philosophers, they build nests in our lives, and soon set about getting offspring, giving birth to pretentiousness, vanity, and luxury – no bastards these, but very much their true-born issue.  And if these children of wealth are allowed to reach maturity they soon breed in our hearts implacable masters, insolence and lawlessness and shamefulness.  This will inevitably happen, and then men will no longer lift up their eyes nor take any thought for their future good name; the ruin of their lives will gradually be completed as their grandeur of soul withers and fades until it sinks into contempt, when they become lost in admiration of their mortal capabilities and neglect to develop the immortal.”                                                  Pg. 165

MARY BEATRICE MIDGLEY "Wickedness"

(Routledge & Kegan Paul Edition)

“To gain great popular power, you must either be a genuinely creative genius, able to communicate new ideas very widely, or you must manage to give a great multitude permission for things it already wants, but for which nobody else is currently prepared to give that permission.”                                         Pg. 128

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