Benevolence is not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. It is a business with men as they are, and with human life as drawn by the rough hand of experience. It is a duty which you must perform at the call of principle; though there be no voice of eloquence to give splendor to your exertions, and no music of poetry to lead your willing footsteps through the bowers of enchantment. It is not the impulse of high and ecstatic emotion. It is an exertion of principle. :You must go to the poor man’s cottage, though no verdure flourish around it, the gentleness of its murmurs. If you look for the romantic simplicity of fiction you will be disappointed; but it is your duty to persevere in spite of every discouragement. Benevolence is not merely a feeling but a principle; not a dream of rapture for the fancy to indulge in, but a business for the hand to execute.
What can be the aim of withholding from children, or let us say from young people, this information about the sexual life of human beings? Is it a fear of arousing interest in such matters prematurely, before it spontaneously stirs in them? Is it a hope of retarding by concealment of this kind the development of the sexual instinct in general, until such time as it can find its way into the only channels open to it in the civilized social order? Is it supposed that children would show no interest or understanding for the facts and riddles of sexual life if they were not prompted to do so by outside influence? Is it regarded as possible that the knowledge withheld from them will not reach them in other ways? Or is it genuinely and seriously intended that later on they should consider everything connected with sex as something despicable and abhorrent from which their parents and teachers wish to keep them apart as long as possible? I am really at a loss so say which of these can be the motive for the customary concealment from children of everything connected with sex. I only know that these arguments are one and all equally foolish, and that I find it difficult to pay them the compliment of serious refutation.
Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact. Whatever, therefore, is not susceptible of this agreement or disagreement, is incapable of being true or false, and can never be an object of our reason. Now ‘tis evident our passions, volitions, and actions, are not susceptible of any such agreement or disagreement; being original facts and realities, complete in themselves, and implying no reference to other passions, volitions, and actions. ‘Tis impossible, therefore, they can be pronounced either true or false, and be either contrary or conformable to reason.
The great spiritual and political viewpoint of the West is that we are all equal and are all capable of developing into the same end product. Anybody who bothers to examine the facts can easily see we are not all equal. What we really are is not so much equal as unique. None of us is the same as anybody else. In this uniqueness is a profound Spiritual Realization: Life is infinitely creative and requires uniqueness for creativity.
Life is sufficiently miraculous already - only we do not notice it. If we catch a glimpse of its mystery, we border momentarily on new emotions and thoughts, but this comes from within, as a momentary, individual awakening of the spirit. Eckhart says that we are at fault as long as we see God in what is outside us... All the liberating inner truth and vision that we need, apart from outer truth and facts about things is... ‘native within us.’
While an open mind is priceless, it is priceless only when its owner has the courage to make a final decision which closes the mind for action after the process of viewing all sides of the question has been completed. Failure to make a decision after due consideration of all the facts will quickly brand a man unfit for a position of responsibility. Not all of your decisions will be correct. None of us is perfect. But if you get into the habit of making decisions, experience will develop your judgment to a point where more and more of your decisions will be right. After all, it is better to be right 51 percent of the time and get something done, than it is to get nothing done because you fear to reach a decision.
Action | Better | Consideration | Courage | Decision | Experience | Failure | Fear | Habit | Judgment | Man | Mind | Nothing | Position | Question | Responsibility | Right | Time | Will | Wisdom | Failure |
"Point of view" must mean more than the mere prejudice; it should express conclusions reached by the painful process known as thinking. And when new facts or factors are presented, free men should be as vigilant to change their viewpoints as to confirm them.
Words are not (except in their own little corner) facts or things: we need therefore to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and against it, so that we can realize their inadequacies and arbitrariness, and can re-look at the world without blinkers.
The general conclusion is that all the objects of science, including minds and goods, are things occurring in space and time... and that we can study them in virtue of the fact that we come into spatial and temporal relations with them. And therefore all ideals, ultimates, symbols, agencies and the like are to be rejected, and no such distinction as that of facts and principles, or facts and values, can be maintained. There are only facts, i.e., occurrences in space and time.
Finding facts in actuality is less rewarded than developing a theory of law that explains the facts, and herein lies an enticement. In making sense out of the unruly substance of nature, and in trying to get there first, a scientist is sometimes tempted to play fast and loose with the facts in order to make a theory look more compelling than it really is.
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.