In Romania, to be Minister of Education is the privilege of the unlettered.
The State and Property are the great embodiments of possessiveness; it is for this reason that they are against life, and that they issue in war. Possession means taking or keeping some good thing which another is prevented from enjoying; creation means putting into the world a good thing which otherwise no one would be able to enjoy. Since the material goods of the world must be divided among the population, and since some men are by nature brigands, there must be defensive possession, which will be regulated, in a good community, by some principle of impersonal justice. But all this is only the preface to a good life or good political institutions, in which creation will altogether outweigh possession, and distributive justice will exist as an uninteresting matter of course. The supreme principle, both in politics and in private life, should be to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish the impulses and desires that center round possession.
The noblest and most fruitful work of the human intelligence is to make a clean sweep of every enforced idea — of advantages or meanings — and to go right through appearances in search of the eternal bases. Thus you will clearly see the moral law at the beginning of all things, and the conception of justice and equality will appear to you beautiful as daylight.
It is a callous age; we have seen so many marvels that we are ashamed to marvel more; the seven wonders of the world have become seven thousand wonders.
Pleasure's fun. It's great, but you can't keep it going forever; just accept the fact that it's here and it's gone, and maybe then again, it will come back, and you'll get to do it again. Joy lasts forever. Pleasure is purely self-centered. It's all about your pleasure: it's about you. It's a selfish, self-centered emotion, that is created by a self-centered motive of greed. Joy is compassion. Joy is giving yourself to somebody else, or something else. And it's a kind of thing that is, in its subtlety and lowness, much more powerful than pleasure. You gethung up on pleasure; you're doomed. If you pursue joy, you will find everlasting happiness.
Perhaps it is not true to speak of God as a judge at all, or of his judgements. There does not seem to be really any evidence that His worlds are places of trial but rather schools, places of training, or that He is a judge but rather a Teacher, a Trainer, not in the imperfect sense in which men are teachers, but in the sense of His contriving and adapting His whole universe for one purpose of training every intelligent being to be perfect. … I think God would not be the Almighty, the All-Wise, the All-Good, if he were the judge, in the sense that the evangelical and Roman Catholic Christians impute judgement to him. … Our business is, I think, to understand, not to judge. What He does is, as far as we know, to rule by law down to the most infinitesimally small portion of His universe, not to judge.
As we are — the world is. That is, if we are greedy, envious, competitive, our society will be competitive, envious, greedy, which brings misery and war. The State is what we are. To bring about order and peace, we must begin with ourselves and not with society, not with the State, for the world is ourselves … If we would bring about a sane and happy society we must begin with ourselves and not with another, not outside of ourselves, but with ourselves.
I know idealism is not playing on the radio right now, you don't see it on TV, irony is on heavy rotation, the knowingness, the smirk, the tired joke. I've tried them all out but I'll tell you this, outside this campus — and even inside it — idealism is under siege — beset by materialism, narcissism and all the other isms of indifference. Baggism, Shaggism. Raggism. Notism, graduationism, chismism, I don't know. Where's John Lennon when you need him?
Nationalism is always an effort in a direction opposite to that of the principle which creates nations. The former is exclusive in tendency, the latter inclusive. In periods of consolidation, nationalism has a positive value, and is a lofty standard. But in Europe everything is more than consolidated, and nationalism is nothing but a mania, a pretext to escape from the necessity of inventing something new, some great enterprise.
Passion is the genesis of genius.