Discourtesy does not spring merely from one bad quality, but from several - from foolish vanity, from ignorance of what is due to others, from indolence, from stupidity, from the distraction of thought, from contempt of others, from jealousy.
It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.
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There is no real elevation of mind in a contempt of little things; it is, on the contrary, from too narrow views that we consider those things of little importance which have in fact such extensive consequences.
What is called affluence - the consequence of the type of rapid economic development which occurred from about the middle of the nineteenth century - is in a real sense an abundance not just of serious problems which machines cannot solve, but of hopeless poverty: the physical insecurity, personal unhappiness, the intensified morality, the sense of being dwarfed by vast and uncontrollable physical, mechanical and corporate structures, the hatred and contempt of other peoples, the lack of opportunity for contemplation, the loss of community life.
Each age has its own characteristic depravity. Ours is perhaps not pleasure or indulgence or sensuality, but rather a dissolute pantheistic contempt for the individual man.
Keep the middle path of strength and virtue, lest you be overwhelmed by misfortune or corrupted by pleasant fortune. All that falls short or goes too far ahead, has contempt for happiness, and gains not the reward for labor done. It rests in your own hands what shall be the nature of the fortune which you choose to form for yourself. For all fortune which seems difficult, either exercises virtue, or corrects or punishes vice.
Among well-bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt of others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority.