People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value. Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice - which means: self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction - which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.
We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.
The argument of this book is that we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes. Like successful Chicago gangsters, our genes have survived, in some cases for millions of years, in a highly competitive world. This entitles us to expect certain qualities in our genes. I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior. However, as we shall see, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the level of individual animals. 'Special' and 'limited' are important words in the last sentence. Much as we might wish to believe otherwise, universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are concepts that simply do not make evolutionary sense.
In London, my associates and I planned two great expeditions--that to invade the Mediterranean and later that to cross the Channel. London's hospitality to the Americans, her good-humored acceptance of the added inconvenience we brought, her example of fortitude and quiet confidence in the final outcome--all these helped to make the Supreme Headquarters of the two Allied expeditions the smooth-working organizations they became.
I take great comfort in having people around who can walk in my office and tell me what's on their mind. Part of my job is -- they say, what's your job? My job is decision-maker. I make a lot of decisions. Obviously, some of which you've seen, and a lot of them you don't. And they're big ones and little ones. But you make a lot of decisions. And if you don't -- if you're uncertain about all the facts surrounding a decision, you've got to rely upon people. And you've then got to create an environment in which people are willing to come in and say, here's what's on my mind.It's important at the presidential level. It's important in business. You've got to have people comfortable about saying, Here's what I think you ought to do, Mr. CEO. You've got to listen and have a -- I've always believed in a flat organizational chart. I think the worst thing that can happen for decision-makers is to get a filtered point of view.
We think very little of time present; we anticipate the future, as being too slow, and with a view to hasten it onward, we recall the past to stay it as too swiftly gone. We are so thoughtless, that we thus wander through the hours which are not here, regardless only of the moment that is actually our own.
Money, yes, it is the new religion. And the moguls of the Money Monarchy have become the priests and popes of this irrational age of corporate planetary domination and destruction. Yes, world bankers and trans-national corporate executives are the true religious leaders. Why? Because the highest, most esteemed calling is high finance. Whole nations are caught up in it. It has become the wishful will of the world and money, the worshipped god. The Wall Street Journal is the Bible, the bank is the cathedral and the people are the parish
The Artist, the free-flyer, the person that dares to be mad can always go back to that madness. You cannot corner that person. That person has an instrument, has a piece of paper, has a pencil, has two dollars worth of dime store paint, has some sand on the beach... That person can always go for Truth. You cannot corner that person. You can lock them in solitary and they'll scratch it on the wall, and if you cut off their hands, they will scratch it in their mind.
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way. That was a true proverb of the wise man, rely upon it; Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith.
The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment's hesitation to crush beauty and life out of them, molding them into money.
To walk in money through the night crowd, protected by money, lulled by money, dulled by money, the crowd itself a money, the breath money, no least single object anywhere that is not money. Money, money everywhere and still not enough! And then no money, or a little money, or less money, or more money but money always money . and if you have money , or you don't have money, it is the money that counts, and money makes money, but what makes money make money?
As to the sufferers, whose sole inheritance was labour, and who had lost that inheritance - who could not get work, and consequently could not get wages, and consequently could not get bread - they were left to suffer on, perhaps inevitably left. It would not do to stop the progress of invention, to damage science by discouraging its improvements; the war could not be terminated; efficient relief could not be raised. There was no help then; so the unemployed underwent their destiny - ate the bread and drank the waters of affliction.Misery generates hate. These sufferers hated the machines which they believed took their bread from them; they hated the buildings which contained those machines; they hated the manufacturers who owned those buildings.
Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.
Some reformers may urge that in the ages distant future, patriotism, like the habit of monogamous marriage, will become a needless and obsolete virtue; but just at present the man who loves other countries as much as he does his own is quite as noxious a member of society as the man who loves other women as much as he loves his wife. Love of country is an elemental virtue, like love of home.
War is the great scavenger of thought. It is the sovereign disinfectant, and its red stream of blood is the Condy's Fluid that cleans out the stagnant pools and clotted channels of the intellect. We have awakened from an opium-dream of comfort, of ease, of that miserable poltroonery of the sheltered life. Our wish for indulgence of every sort, our laxity of manners, our wretched sensitiveness to personal inconvenience, these are suddenly lifted before us in their true guise as the specters of national decay; and we have risen from the lethargy of our dilettantism to lay them, before it is too late, by the flashing of the unsheathed sword.