stands in the sharpest possible contrast to freedom,
A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.
Opposed elements stand to each other in mutual requirement. In their unity, they inhibit or contrast. God and the World stand to each other in this opposed requirement. God is the infinite ground of all mentality, the unity of vision seeking physical multiplicity. The World is the multiplicity of finites, actualities, seeking a perfected unity. Neither God, nor the World, reaches static completion. Both are in the grip of the ultimately metaphysical ground, the creative advance into novelty. Either of them, God and the World, is the instrument of novelty for the other.
A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.
The whole record of civilization is a record of the failure of money as a higher incentive. The enormous majority of men never make any serious effort to get rich. The few who are sordid enough to do so easily become millionaires with a little luck, and astonish the others by the contrast between their riches and their stupidity... The belief in money as an incentive is founded on the observation that people will do for money what they will not do for anything else.
The notion that there is and can be but one time, and that half of it is always intrinsically past and the other half always intrinsically future, belongs to the normal pathology of an animal mind: it marks the egoistical outlook of an active being endowed with imagination. Such a being will project the moral contrast produced by his momentary absorption in action upon the conditions and history of that action, and upon the universe at large. A perspective of hope and one of reminiscence divide for him a specious eternity; and for him the dramatic centre of existence, though always a different point in physical time, will always be precisely in himself.
As satisfying as pleasure is, it is also transitory and superficial. Pleasure is an event. In contrast, happiness is a process. Pleasure is material. Happiness is spiritual. Pleasure is self-involved. Happiness involves others.
Creative people have always felt separated from their societies. It’s as if they see too well the contrast between what is and what could be.
No poet, no artist, of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere, is not one-sided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them.
Philosophy is concerned with that which is, in contrast with that which seems to be. Its aim is to reveal the reality which underlies appearance.
In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
Among most Christians the Old Testament is little read in comparison to the New Testament. Furthermore, much of what is read is often distorted by prejudice. Frequently the Old Testament is believed to express exclusively the principles of justice and revenge, in contrast to the New Testament, which represents those of love and mercy; even the sentence, "Love your neighbor as yourself,” is thought by many to derive from the New, not the Old Testament. Or the Old Testament is believed to have been written exclusively in the spirit of narrow nationalism and to contain nothing of supranational universalism so characteristic of the New Testament.
Wisdom is passionless. But faith by contrast is what Kierkegaard calls a passion.
As society is only possible if everyone, while living his own life, at the same time helps others to live; if every individual is simultaneously means and end; if each individual's well-being is simultaneously the condition necessary to the well-being of others, it is evident that the contrast between I and thou, means and end, automatically is overcome.
But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.
We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.
Mysticism intends a state of "possession," not action, and the individual is not a tool but a "vessel" of the divine. Action in the world must thus appear as endangering the absolutely irrational and other-worldly religious state. Active asceticism operates within the world; rationally active asceticism, in mastering the world, seeks to tame what is creatural and wicked through work in a worldly "vocation" (inner-worldly asceticism). Such asceticism contrasts radically with mysticism, if the latter draws the full conclusion of fleeing from the world (contemplative flight from the world). The contrast is tempered, however, if active asceticism confines itself to keeping down and to overcoming creatural wickedness in the actor's own nature. For then it enhances the concentration on the firmly established God-willed and active redemptory accomplishments to the point of avoiding any action in the orders of the world (asceticist flight from the world). Thereby active asceticism in external bearing comes close to contemplative flight from the world. The contrast between asceticism and mysticism is also tempered if the contemplative mystic does not draw the conclusion that he should flee from the world, but, like the inner-worldly asceticist, remain in the orders of the world (inner-worldly mysticism).
In both cases the contrast can actually disappear in practice and some combination of both forms of the quest for salvation may occur. But the contrast may continue to exist even under the veil of external similarity. For the true mystic the principle continues to hold: the creature must be silent so that God may speak.
The contrast between Leonardo and Michelangelo is an allegory of the arts of modern times. Leonardo left copious notes of his observations on nature and the world around him, but little about his feelings or his inner life. Michelangelo, in his letters, his poetry, in biographies by his friends and students Vasari and Condivi, in conversations with Francisco de Hollanda and others, left us vivid revelations and eloquent chronicles of himself. Leonardo, the self-styled "disciple of experience," was a hero of the effort to re-create the world from the shapes and forms and sensations out there. But Michelangelo, prophet of the sovereign self, found mysterious resources within. These two greatest figures of Italian Renaissance art dramatized a modern movement from craftsman to artist. If Leonardo could be called the Aristotle—practical-minded organizer and surveyor of experience—Michelangelo would be the Plato, seeker after the perfect idea.
I do not cite the contrast between the world of ideas and the world of practice as a reason for either dismay or pessimism; on the contrary…there always is and always has been a long lag between a change in the climate of opinion and a change in actual policy.
We do not have to construct elaborate rationales to explain why human beings ought to treat one another as positively as our situation permits. Ethical life is not separate from and alien to the physical world. Because we human beings are in the world, not mere spectators watching from outside it, our social instincts and the reflective elaboration of them are also in the world. Pragmatists and care theorists agree on this. The ought – better, the “I ought” – arises directly in lived experience. “Oughtness,” one might say, is part of our “isness.”… In contrast “ethical” caring does have to be summoned. The “I ought” arises but encounters conflict: An inner voice grumbles, “I ought but I don’t want to,” or “Why should I respond?” or “This guy deserves to suffer, so why should I help?” On these occasions we need not turn to a principle; more effectively we turn to our memories of caring and being cared for and a picture or ideal of ourselves as carers… Ethical caring’s great contribution is to guide action long enough for natural caring to be restored and for people once again to interact with mutual and spontaneous regard.
My whole life is woven of threads which are in blatant contrast to my principles. … I love self-chosen poverty, and live among rich people; I avoid all honors, and yet some have come to me. … I believe that illusions are necessary to man, yet live without illusion; I believe that the passions are more profitable than reason, and yet no longer know what passion is.