There’s a common notion that dealing in abstractions is the hallmark of the intellectual, but that puts things almost exactly backwards; it’s the ordinary unreflective person who thinks in abstractions most of the time, while the thinker’s task is to work back from the abstract category to the raw sensory data on which it’s based.
John Michael Greer, The Prosthetic Imagination
Moral people are the most revengeful of mankind, they employ their morality as the best and most subtle weapon of vengeance. They are not satisfied with simply despising and condemning their neighbour themselves, they want the condemnation to be universal and supreme: that is, that all men should rise as one against the condemned, and that even the offender’s own conscience shall be against him. Then only are they fully satisfied and reassured. Nothing on earth but morality could lead to such wonderful results.
Some sorcerers are charlatans, but most sincerely believe in the existence of gods and demons. Most millionaires sincerely believe in the existence of money and limited liability companies (corporations). Most human rights activists sincerely believe in the existence of human rights.
Yuval Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force—against all right and reason—a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation—and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands.
Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History
When the value of complexity turns negative, a society plagued by an inability to react remains as complex as ever, right up to the moment where it becomes suddenly and dramatically simpler, which is to say right up to the moment of collapse. Collapse is simply the last remaining method of simplification.
That patriotism which is not a carnal adhesion to specific landscapes, is rhetoric designed by semi-educated men to spur the illiterate on towards the slaughterhouse.
There is no great need for answers. Solutions are the cheapest commodity of our day. They are the medicine show tonic of the rational elites.
John Ralston Saul
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw