Monday, November 1, 2010

Expanding the Circle

"Man is always inclined to regard the small circle in which he lives as the center of the world and to make his particular, private life the standard of the universe. But he must give up this vain pretense, this petty provincial way of thinking and judging."
- Michel de Montaigne

"Diogenes the Cynic declared himself to be the citizen not of one country but of the whole world. Stoic philosophers like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius also argued that our loyalty should be to the world community, not to the state in which we happen to be born. Voltaire, Goethe, and Schiller espoused similar ideals of world, rather than national, citizenship. Yet patriotism has proved difficult to dislodge from its high place among the conventionally accepted virtues. The explanation for this could be that patriotism rests, at least in part, on a biological basis; but the explanation could also be cultural. Culture can itself be a factor in the evolutionary process, those cultures prevailing which enhance the group's prospect of survival."
Philosopher Peter Singer

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
- Albert Einstein

"To a person who thinks, all the civil distinctions disappear."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

No comments: