;-) The Philosophy of Freaks ;-) – Social Philosophy and Social Reality

 

~ The Portrait by Rene Magritte

~

Never ask of money spent

Where the spender thinks it went

Nobody was ever meant

To remember or invent

What he did with every cent.

~ Robert Frost, The Hardship of Accounting, 1936

~

Useful definitions:

  1. Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don’t.[1]
  2. Contract: an agreement that is binding only on the weaker party.[2]
  3. What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.[3]
~

On the various professional professions:

  1. An accountant is a man hired to explain that you didn’t make the money you did.
  2. A banker is a man who lends you an umbrella when the weather is fair, and takes it away from you when it rains.
  3. A consultant is a man sent in after the battle to bayonet the wounded.
  4. A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.[4]
  5. An economist is someone who sees something that works in practice and wonders if it works in theory.[5]
  6. With regard to modern journalists, they always apologize to one in private for what they have written against one in public.[6]
  7. The public has an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.[7]
  8. I don’t want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do; I hired him to tell me how to do what I want to do.[8]
  9. I don’t think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature. You’ve got to work on his conscience. And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer.[9]
~

The realities of life:

  1. The world is divided into people who do things – and people who get the credit.[10]
  2. There are two kinds of people: those who don’t do what they want to do, so they write down in a diary about what they haven’t done, and those who haven’t time to write about it because they’ve out doing it.[11]
  3. By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s I mean.[12]
  4. When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.[13]
  5. Thieves respect property; they merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.[14]
  6. Some people will believe anything if you whisper it to them.[15]
  7. The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar.[16]
  8. What men value in the world is not rights but privileges.[17]
  9. People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.[18]
  10. The purpose of a funeral service is to comfort the living. It is important at a funeral to display excessive grief. This will show others how kind-hearted and loving you are and their improved opinion of you will be very comforting. As anyone familiar with modern fiction and motion pictures know, excessive grief cannot be expressed by means of tears or a mournful face. It is necessary to break things, hit people, and throw yourself on to the top of the coffin, at least.[19]
~

Advice to the young and vulnerable:

  1. Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.[20]
  2. In God we trust. All others pay cash.
  3. There is only one rule for being a good talker. Learn to listen.[21]
  4. Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.[22]
  5. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.[23]
  6. An archeologist is the best husband a woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.[24]
  7. To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.[25]
  8. There is no stronger craving in the world other than that of the rich for titles, except that of the titled for riches.[26]
  9. It is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is the proper judge of it.[27]
  10. Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of other persons.[28]

 ~

Advice for social events and social gatherings:

  1. I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time and prevents arguments.[29]
  2. One fifth of the people are against everything all the time.[30]
  3. New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.[31]
  4. Every effect that one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular one must be a mediocrity.[32]
  5. Manners are especially the need of the plain. The pretty can get away with anything.[33]
  6. Few of us can stand prosperity – another man’s I mean.[34]
  7. Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.[35]
  8. A gossip talks about others, a bore talks about himself – and a brilliant conversationalist talks about you.
  9. If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself.[36]
  10. There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.[37]
  11. Social tact is making your company feel at home, even though you wish they were.
  12. The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts – the less you know, the hotter you get.[38]
  13. One should respect public opinion in so far as it is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to unnecessary tyranny.[39]
~

On law and justice:

  1. Law and Order is like patriotism – anyone who comes on strong about patriotism has got something to hide; it never fails. They always turn out to be a crook or an asshole or a traitor or something.[40]
  2. The strictest justice is sometimes the greatest injustice.
  3. More laws less justice.
  4. Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.[41]
  5. An excess of law inescapably weakens the rule of law.[42]

 ~

On the importance of acting in a society:

  1. I love acting. It is so much more real than life.[43]
  2. Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.[44]
~

On economics:

  1. Economics is an entire scientific discipline of not knowing what you’re talking about.[45]
  2. The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.[46]
  3. Inflation is one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.[47]
  4. The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.[48]
~

On human civilization:

  1. Civilizations begin with religion and stoicism: they end with skepticism and unbelief, and the undisciplined pursuit of individual pleasure. A civilization is born stoic and dies epicurean.[49]
  2. The human race has improved everything except the human race.[50]
~

A little on relativity:

  1. A snail was crossing the road when he was run over by a tortoise. A policeman came along and asked him how it had happened. ‘I don’t remember,’ said the snail. ‘It all happened so fast!’
~

The law locks up both man and woman

Who steals the goose from off the common,

But lets the great felon loose

Who steals the common from the goose.

~ Anon

~

 
~ The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst
 

[1] Attributed to Lord Raglan.

[2] Attributed to Frederick Sawyer.

[3] Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1982.

[4] Attributed to H. L. Mencken.

[5] Ronald Reagan, Republic President, 1981-9.

[6] Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 1891.

[7] Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 1891.

[8] J. Pierpont Morgan, 1837-1913, American financier and philanthropist.

[9] Attributed to Will Rogers, 1927.

[10] Dwight Morrow, 1873 – 1931, US Senator and Ambassador to Mexico.

[11] Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster, The More the Merrier, screenplay, 1943.

[12] Mark Twain. Following the Equator, 1897.

[13] Eric Hoffer, Passionate State of Mind, 1955.

[14] G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908.

[15] Louis B. Nizer, Thinking on Your Feet, 1940.

[16] G. K. Chesterton, All Things Considered, 1908.

[17] H. L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956.

[18] W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage, 1915.

[19] P. J. O’Rourke, Modern Manners, 1983.

[20] Herbert Hoover, 1874–1964, Republican President.

[21] Christopher Morley, 1890-1957, American writer.

[22] Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, 1894.

[23] Attributed to Oscar Wilde.

[24] Agatha Christie, 1890 – 1976, English novelist.

[25] Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, 1954.

[26] Hesketh Pearson, The Marrying Americans, 1961.

[27] Oscar Wilde, The Critic As Artist, 1890.

[28] Mark Twain, Notebooks, 1935.

[29] Oscar Wilde, The Remarkable Rocket.

[30] Attributed to Robert Kennedy, 1964.

[31] Attributed to John Locke.

[32] Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891.

[33] Evelyn Waugh, quoted in the Observer, 1962.

[34] Attributed to Mark Twain.

[35] Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 1891.

[36] Attributed to Blaise Pascal.

[37] Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891.

[38] Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, British philosopher.

[39] Attributed to Bertrand Russell.

[40] Attributed to Bill Mauldin.

[41] Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883-92.

[42] Attributed to Laurence H. Tribe.

[43] Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891.

[44] Attributed to George Burns.

[45] P. J. O’Rourke, Eat the Rich, 1998.

[46] Attributed to John Maynard Keynes.

[47] Attributed to Milton Friedman.

[48] Attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

[49] Attributed to Will Durant.

[50] Attributed to Adlai Stevenson.

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