"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!

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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