The Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776)

The Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776) All men by nature are free & independent. They have certain inherent right, which can’t be taken away in society – enjoyment of life & property, acquiring & possessing property, & pursuing & obtaining happiness All the power of representatives are vested in magistrates who are the… Read more The Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776)

“A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country” by Jonathan Swift (1729)

“A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country” by Jonathan Swift (1729) Everywhere you go in Ireland, you see female beggars with up to 6 kids, dressed in rags & asking for money Instead of doing honest work, they’re out on the street to beg… Read more “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country” by Jonathan Swift (1729)

“How Should One Read a Book?” by Virginia Woolf (1925)

“How Should One Read a Book?” by Virginia Woolf (1925) I can only answer for myself because you really ought not take advice from others. Just follow your instincts, use reason & come up with your own conclusions These are merely suggestions – don’t give up your independence Difficult to say what is a better… Read more “How Should One Read a Book?” by Virginia Woolf (1925)

“The Sphinx” by Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“The Sphinx” by Francis Bacon (1561-1626) The Sphinx was a mythological creature – part woman, part bird, part griffin, living on a mountain near Thebes She ambushed travelers forcing them to answer riddles she got from the muses If they didn’t answer correctly, she’d rip them to pieces If one did, he’d be king of… Read more “The Sphinx” by Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Declaration of Rights of Man & Citizen” (1789)

“Declaration of Rights of Man & Citizen” (1789) The Representatives of France in a National Assembly Because of past ignorance, neglect & contempt of human rights are the cause of public misfortune & corruption of government Trying to make natural & inalienable rights always in the mind of the public so that they protect them… Read more “Declaration of Rights of Man & Citizen” (1789)

“On Swift” by William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

“On Swift” by William Hazlitt (1778-1830) Swift’s ability as a poet is often overlooked because of his ability to write prose If he had never written “Tale of a Tub” or “Gulliver’s Travels”, he’d still be known as a poet Dry humor, agreeable morality, exquisite tone of irony, touching pathos blended with satire “Description of… Read more “On Swift” by William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

“What Is a Classic?” by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869)

“What Is a Classic?” by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) It all depends… if someone I trust recommends it to me, I’ll give it a whirl – all my attention & give my honest opinion The English have been writing essays for non-personal opinions – abstract & moral – should be moderate & leisurely – not… Read more “What Is a Classic?” by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869)

“An Essay on Modern Education” by Jonathan Swift (c. 1720)

“An Essay on Modern Education” by Jonathan Swift (c. 1720) After a lot careful reflection, I’ve come to conclusion that the wealthier you are, the worse your education is & if the whole world were under just one king, his son would be the dumbest person to have ever lived It wasn’t always this way… Read more “An Essay on Modern Education” by Jonathan Swift (c. 1720)

“Of Studies” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Studies” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626) Studies are for 3 different purposes Delight – in privateness &retiring Ornament – in discourse Ability – in the judgment & disposition of business Expert men can execute & judge particulars – but generally speaking, the best advice & plans come from learned men Spending too much time with… Read more “Of Studies” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Beauty” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Beauty” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626) Virtue looks best in a nice body, not too delicate, but dignified in presence rather than aspect Virtue is more in practice than in great spirit There are many famous men held in high regard but also very good-looking: Augustus, Philip le Bel, Edward IV, etc. Beauty of favor… Read more “Of Beauty” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“The Art of Life” by Walter Horatio Pater (1839-1894)

“The Art of Life” by Walter Horatio Pater (1839-1894) We tend to think of things & principles as inconstant modes & fashions Let’s examine physical life… Look at the floods of summer rain We don’t see anything but a combination of elements from the periodic table They’re in our bodies as well as outside of… Read more “The Art of Life” by Walter Horatio Pater (1839-1894)

“Lucretius” by George Santayana (1910)

“Lucretius” by George Santayana (1910) We don’t know much about Lucretius other than what St. Jerome said about him He’d been given a love potion & went nuts. In between the psychotic episodes, he wrote the poem & it was edited by Cicero. At the age of 44, he killed himself George doesn’t trust an… Read more “Lucretius” by George Santayana (1910)

“Measurement” by Norman Robert Campbell (1880-1949)

“Measurement” by Norman Robert Campbell (1880-1949) Measurement is important because so many sciences are math-based & require it for measurement But explaining what it is is harder – its use, its rationale & this is an attempt at that What is measurement? wasn’t around until a high degree of civilization appeared but today we’re all… Read more “Measurement” by Norman Robert Campbell (1880-1949)

“Contentment” by Plutarch (46-120 AD)

“Contentment” by Plutarch (46-120 AD) How can money, reputation or power contribute to happiness & an untroubled life unless men find their presence agreeable & don’t always miss their absence What other than reason can restrain the irrational from getting out of control? Xenophon told us to be mindful of & honor the gods when… Read more “Contentment” by Plutarch (46-120 AD)

“Of Love” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Love” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626) Love is best kept to the stage instead of real life It’s usually best for comedies but once in a while for tragedies Of all great men in history only Marcus Antonius & Appius Claudius were not able to keep love in check Epicurus said “We are each for… Read more “Of Love” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Followers and Friends” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Of Followers and Friends” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626) Costly followers are not good The more you take on, the less free you are They’re not so much costly as they are wearing & annoying Followers should only expect acceptance, recommendation & protection from wrongs Followers in factions are even worse because they don’t even particularly… Read more “Of Followers and Friends” by Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

“Resolutions when I Come to Be Old” by Jonathan Swift (1709)

“Resolutions when I Come to Be Old” by Jonathan Swift (1709) Don’t marry a young woman Don’t keep company unless they really want it Don’t be angry, sad, envious or suspicious Don’t complain about the modern area Don’t like children Don’t tell the same story over & over Don’t neglect decency or hygiene Don’t be… Read more “Resolutions when I Come to Be Old” by Jonathan Swift (1709)

“A Meditation upon a Broomstick” by Jonathan Swift (1701)

“A Meditation upon a Broomstick” by Jonathan Swift (1701) The broomstick propped up in the corner was once a tree flowing with life Now everyone who touches it does so out of drudgery Supposed to make other things clean & makes itself dirty in the process It’ll either be thrown out or in the fire… Read more “A Meditation upon a Broomstick” by Jonathan Swift (1701)

“Enchiridion” by Epictetus (c.125)

“Enchiridion” by Epictetus (c.125) Things you can control: opinion, aim, desire, aversion all of your own affairs by nature free & unrestricted if you confuse them with things you can’t control, you’ll be sad & disappointed if you focus purely on these, you won’t do anything against your will, won’t be harmed or have enemies… Read more “Enchiridion” by Epictetus (c.125)

“The Character of Socrates” by Xenophon

“The Character of Socrates” by Xenophon Socrates always said what was on his mind to friends Also made sure that they were independent enough to pursue the avenues they were suited for He knew all his friends very well – often probing their minds w/ questions He taught his friends w/ all his heart the… Read more “The Character of Socrates” by Xenophon