sâmbătă, 30 martie 2013

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (III)

"Every mode of religion, to make a deep and lasting impression on the human mind, must exercise our obedience by enjoining practices of devotion, for which we can assign no reason; and must acquire our esteem, by inculcating moral duties analogous to the dictates of our heart."

"... the use of letters is the principal circumstance that distinguishes a civilised people from a heard of savages, incapable of knowledge or reflection. Without that artificial help the human memory soon dissipates or corrupts the ideas entrusted to her charge; and the nobler faculties of the mind, no longer supplied with models or with materials, gradually forget their powers: the judgment becomes feeble and lethargic, the imagination languid or irregular. Fully to apprehend this truth, let us attempt, in an improved society, to calculate the immense distance between the man of learning and the illiterate peasant. The former, by reading and reflection, multiplies his own experience, and lives in distant ages and remote countries; whilst the later, rooted to a single spot, and confined to a few years of existence, surpasses but very little his fellow-labourer the ox in the exercise of his mental faculties."

"The value of money has been settled by general consent to express our wants and our property, as letters were invented to express our ideas, and both these institutions, by giving more active energy to the powers and passions of human nature, have contributed to multiply the objects they were designed to represent."

"If we contemplate a savage nation in any part of the globe, a supine indolence and a carelessness of futurity will be found to constitute their general character. In a civilised state every faculty of man is expanded and exercised; and the great chain of mutual dependence connects and embraces the several members of society. The most numerous portion of it is employed in constant and useful labour. The select few, placed by fortune above the necessity, can, however, fill up their time by the pursuits of interest and glory, by the improvement of their estate or of their understanding, by the duties, the pleasures, and even the follies, of social life."

luni, 25 martie 2013

vineri, 22 martie 2013


Not planning for this level of mastery but I recently folded my first crane from a book I bought for my friends' kids. It seems humans are the only animals that enjoy playing throughout adulthood.