Axidava

The Flying Authority

It happened one day that an atheist and a man were standing together on a doorstep; and the atheist said, “It is raining.” To which the man replied, “What is raining?”: which question was the beginning of a violent quarrel and a lasting friendship.

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A Free Man’s Worship

To Dr. Faustus in his study Mephistopheles told the history of the Creation, saying:

“The endless praises of the choirs of angels had begun to grow wearisome; for, after all, did he not deserve their praise? Had he not given them endless joy? Would it not be more amusing to obtain undeserved praise, to be worshipped by beings whom he tortured? He smiled inwardly, and resolved that the great drama should be performed.

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Schopenhauer On Education

The nature of our intellect is such that ideas are said to spring by abstraction from observations, so that the latter are in existence before the former. If this is really what takes place, as is the case with a man who has merely his own experience as his teacher and book, he knows quite well which of his observations belong to and are represented by each of his ideas; he is perfectly acquainted with both, and accordingly he treats everything correctly that comes before his notice. We might call this the natural mode of education.

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The Insurrection Of The Vertebrates

It is well known how the spiritualists tried to capture Pasteur, because his theories, denying spontaneous generation, seemed to them his consecration of the old dogma of a Creator. Pasteur never professed such ideas; he limited himself to pursuing brilliantly his profession as a scientist. It was not without a feeling of sadness that, pestered by the admiration of a too pious gentry, he wrote to Sainte-Beuve, I believe: “Let us continue our labors, without giving heed to the philosophic or religious deductions that may be drawn from them.”

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The Pleasures Of Friendship

Life has no pleasure higher or nobler than that of friendship. It is painful to consider that this sublime enjoyment may be impaired or destroyed by innumerable causes, and that there is no human possession of which the duration is less certain.

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Minorities Versus Majorities

If I were to give a summary of the tendency of our times, I would say, Quantity. The multitude, the mass spirit, dominates everywhere, destroying quality.

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Decivilised

The difficulty of dealing—in the course of any critical duty—with decivilised man lies in this: when you accuse him of vulgarity—sparing him no doubt the word—he defends himself against the charge of barbarism. 

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The Question Of Free Will

Those physicians were wise who, at a recent congress, voted to refuse making any statement upon the problems of responsibility propounded to them by the courts. What does responsibility mean? Where does it begin? What are its boundaries?

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The Emptiness Of Existence

This emptiness finds its expression in the whole form of existence, in the infiniteness of Time and Space as opposed to the finiteness of the individual in both; in the flitting present as the only manner of real existence; in the dependence and relativity of all things; in constantly Becoming without Being; in continually wishing without being satisfied; in an incessant thwarting of one’s efforts, which go to make up life, until victory is won.

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Everlasting Youth

Old age, in some of its aspects, is a most interesting and solemn mystery, though to the outward eye it is merely the gradual waning and extinction of existence.

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A Modest Proposal

It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms.

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The Advantages Of Having One Leg

A friend of mine who was visiting a poor woman in bereavement and casting about for some phrase of consolation that should not be either insolent or weak, said at last, “I think one can live through these great sorrows and even be the better. What wears one is the little worries.”

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Friendship

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many persons we meet in houses whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honour, and who honour us; how many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language of these wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth.

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The Lunatic And The Law

The modern evil, we have said, greatly turns on this: that people do not see that the exception proves the rule. Thus it may or may not be right to kill a murderer; but it can only conceivably be right to kill a murderer because it is wrong to kill a man.

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The Power Of Clothes

One cannot always tell by a man’s coat what kind of a heart he has under it; still, his dress is apt to be the out-blossoming of his character, and is not to be disregarded.

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The Pleasure Of Patriotism

In the way of rulers there is nothing quite so nice as a king. A king focuses one’s patriotism, and being above everybody in his kingdom is probably the only person in it who arouses no envy. The fact is he inspires in us a sense of proud proprietorship. We rejoice that he has the loveliest of queens, and the lovelier she looks the more we are gratified, just as if she were one of the family. So when the king’s diplomacy wins a bloodless victory we are as proud as if most of the credit belonged to us.

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Niagara Falls

Samuel Butler has a lot to answer for. But for him, a modern traveler could spend his time peacefully admiring the scenery instead of feeling himself bound to dog the simple and grotesque of the world for the sake of their too-human comments.

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Keep Fit

Ford, the automobile man, stated in his testimony before the Industrial Commission that he gets more and better work out of men at eight hours a day than at ten.

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Justice

There are many earnest souls occupied in trying to do people good.

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The Fall Of Days

There is a fall of days as there is a fall of leaves. I do not know what wind, blowing from the infinite, shakes the years, and sends falling from them one by one the sere and yellow days.

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The Supreme Moment

“But Leonardo,” says one writing upon the genius of the incomparable da Vinci, “will never work till the happy moment comes—that moment of bien-etre (feeling just fit) which to imaginative men is a moment of invention. On this moment he waits; other moments are but a preparation or after-taste of it.”

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What Is Eugenics?

The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt.

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The Ethics Of Controversy

Everything is disputable. I am willing to entertain arguments in support of any proposition whatsoever.

If you want to defend theft, mayhem, adultery, or murder, state your case, bring on your reasons; for in endeavoring to prove an indefensible thing you discover for yourself how foolish is your thesis.

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The Ideal Woman

The ideal woman is lovable. She may not be beautiful of face, but she has charm.

She is attractive to men, not repellent.

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The Beyond

Much is being said of the beyond in these days, perhaps because people no longer believe in it. Then there is Eusapia Palladino, whose performances, it seems, favor mysterious beliefs. Tables dance and tilt, violins play by themselves, and this puts perspicacious folk on the road to the beyond. Huysmans was converted in just this way. It is far easier to confuse the human reason than the laws of gravity.

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Once There Was A King

When we were children there was no need to know who the king in the fairy story was. It didn’t matter whether he was called Shiladitya or Shaliban, whether he lived at Kashi or Kanauj. The thing that made a seven-year-old boy’s heart go thump, thump with delight was this one sovereign truth; this reality of all realities: “Once there was a king.”

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Bugaboo

All of the Great Thinkers of the world, East, West, North and South, have been alarming their customers, for two or three years past, with the same bugaboo.

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A Meditation Upon A Broom-Stick

This single stick, which you now behold ingloriously lying in that neglected corner, I once knew in a nourishing state in a forest: it was full of sap, full of leaves, and full of boughs: but now, in vain does the busy art of man pretend to vie with nature, by tying that withered bundle of twigs to its sapless trunk.

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The Character Of A Small Poet

The Small Poet is one that would fain make himself that which nature never meant him; like a fanatic that inspires himself with his own whimsies. He sets up haberdasher of small poetry, with a very small stock and no credit.

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In Praise Of Old Ladies

It is everywhere the custom, in life, in literature, to celebrate the young girl; to praise her pink cheeks, her shining hair, her innocence, her gayeties—her muslins, even, and blue ribbons. She has become in these latter days a proverb, a type—la jeune fille.

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Impressions Of America

I fear I cannot picture America as altogether an Elysium—perhaps, from the ordinary standpoint I know but little about the country. I cannot give its latitude or longitude; I cannot compute the value of its dry goods, and I have no very close acquaintance with its politics. These are matters which may not interest you, and they certainly are not interesting to me.

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