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Note For "Anarchist Morality" This study of the origin and function of what we call "morality" was written for pamphlet publication as a result of an amusing situation. An anarchist who ran a store in England found that his comrades in the movement regarded it as perfectly right to take his goods without paying for them. "To each according to his need" seemed to them to justify letting those who were best able foot the bills. Kropotkin was appealed to, with the result that he not only condemned such doctrine, but was moved to write the comrades this sermon. Its conception of morality is based on the ideas set forth in Mutual Aid and later developed in his Ethics. Here they are given special application to "right and wrong" in the business of social living. The job is done with fine feeling and with acute shafts at the shams of current morality. Kropotkin sees the source of all so-called moral ideas in primitive superstitions. The re...

Before the end of the course of drinking the waters, Prince Shtcherbatsky, who had gone on from Carlsbad to Baden and Kissingen to Russian friends—to get a breath of Russian air, as he said—came back to his wife and daughter. The views of the prince and of the princess on life abroad were completely opposed. The princess thought everything delightful, and in spite of her established position in Russian society, she tried abroad to be like a European fashionable lady, which she was not—for the simple reason that she was a typical Russian gentlewoman; and so she was affected, which did not altogether suit her. The prince, on the contrary, thought everything foreign detestable, got sick of European life, kept to his Russian habits, and purposely tried to show himself abroad less European than he was in reality. The prince returned thinner, with the skin hanging in loose bags on his cheeks, but in the most cheerful frame of mind. His goo...

If the empirical. philosophers have hitherto failed to prove the progress of moral conceptions (which may be inciple of evolution), the fault lies to a great extent with the speculative, i.e., the . nonscientific philosophers. They have so strongly denied the empirical origin of man's moral feelings; they have gone to such subtle reasoning in order to assign a supernatural origin to the moral sense; and they have spoken so much about "the destination of man," the "way of his existence," and "the aim of Nature," that a reaction against the mythological and metaphysical conceptions which had risen round this question was unavoidable. Moreover, the modern evolutionists, having established the presence in the animal world of a keen struggle for life among different species, could not accept such a brutal process, which entails so much suffering upon sentient beings, as the expression of a Supreme Being; and they consequently denied that any ethical principle could...

FLEETWOOD; or, THE NEW MAN OF FEELING. by WILLIAM GODWIN. CHAPTER XI I HAD for about three months frequented the lessons of my instructors, when one morning the elder of Vaublanc's sons came to my bed-side at about six o'clock, and bade me rise immediately, for his father wanted to speak to me. I obeyed. " ' My little lad,' said Vaublanc, 'you are not to go to school to-day.' No, sir? What, is it red-letter day ?' Your uncle has written to me to put you into a different berth.' " ' Ah, I am very sorry ! Ours is a sweet school, and I like the masters and every body that belongs to it." "' William Mouchard,' said my host, ' I know very little of you or your uncle either; but that is nothing to me. While he requires of me nothing that it is contrary to my notions, or out of my way to do, I intend to be his fair and punctual correspondent. All that he said to me, wh...


William Godwin [Herbert Read MS from University of Victoria] In the history of English poetry, no name is more secure than that of Shelley: he ranks with the greatest -- with Spenser, Shakespear, Milton and Wordsworth, and the years only add to the depth of our appreciation of his genius. But Shelley's name is indisociably linked with another name -- the name of a man to whom he owed not only his philosopy of life, but even his personal happiness, for he ran away with the philosopher's daughter. This philosopher was William Godwin, and in his day no man was more famous. His fame rested on one book, though he wrote many others, and this book, Political Justice, was not only what we would now call a "best-seller", but, if we take account of t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Speaking of Puritanism in relation to American art, Mr. Gutzon Borglum said: "Puritanism has made us self-centered and hypocritical for so long, that sincerity and reverence for what is natural in our impulses have been fairly bred out of us, with the result that there can be neither truth nor individualility in our art." Mr. Borglum might have added that Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

PÚSHKIN: Beauty of form -- Púshkin and Schiller -- His youth; his exile; his later career and death -- Fairy tales: Ruslán and Ludmíla -- His lyrics -- "Byronism" -- Drama -- Evghéniy Onyéghin -- LÉRMONTOFF:Púshkin or Lérmontoff? -- His life -- The Caucasus -- Poetry of Nature -- Influence of Shelley -- The Demon -- Mtzyri -- Love of freedom -- His death -- Púshkin and Lérmontoff as prose-writers -- Other poets and novelists of the same epoch.PÚSHKIN Púshkin is not quite a stranger to English readers. In a valuable collection of review articles dealing with Russian writers which Professor Coolidge, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, put at my disposal, I found that in 1832, and...


Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind from "Unpopular Essays" by Bertrand Russell . The misfortunes of human beings may be divided into two classes: First, those inflicted by the non-human environment and, second, those inflicted by other people. As mankind have progressed in knowledge and technique, the second class has become a continually increasing percentage of the total. In old times, famine, for example, was due to natural causes, and although people did their best to combat it, large numbers of them died of starvation. At the present moment large parts of the world are faced with the threat of famine, but although natural causes have contributed to the situation, the principal causes are human. For six years the civilized nations of the wo... (From : http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2528/br_ide....)

From: William Godwin . Imogen: A Pastoral Romance From the Ancient British. PREFACE If we could allow ourselves in that license of conjecture, which is become almost inseparable from the character of an editor, we should say: That Milton having written it upon the borders of Wales, might have had easy recourse to the manuscript whose contents are now first given to the public: And that the singularity of preserving the name of the place where it was first performed in the title of his poem, was intended for an ingenuous and well-bred acknowledgment of the source from whence he drew his choicest materials. But notwithstanding the plausibility of these conjectures, we are now inclined to give up our original opinion, and to ascribe the performance to a gentleman of Wales, who lived so late as the reign of king William the third. The name of this amiable person was Rice ap Thomas. The romance was certainly at one time in his cust...


Chapter 1 "When ignorance reigns in society and disorder in the minds of men, laws are multiplied, legislation is expected to do everything, and each fresh law being a fresh miscalculation, men are continually led to demand form it what can proceed only from themselves, from their own education and their own morality." It is no revolutionist who says this, nor even a reformer. It is the jurist, [Joseph] Dallois, author of the Collection of French law known as “Repertoire de la Legislation.” And yet, though these lines were written by a man who was himself a maker and admirer of law, they perfectly represent the abnormal condition of our society. In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themsel... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Few writers have established their reputation so rapidly as Maxím Górky. His first sketches (1892-95), were published in an obscure provincial paper of the Caucasus, and were totally unknown to the literary world, but when a short tale of his appeared in a widely-read review, edited by Korolénko, it at once attracted general attention. The beauty of its form, its artistic finish, and the new note of strength and courage which rang through it, brought the young writer immediately into prominence. It became known that Maxím Górky was the pen-name of quite a young man, A. Pyeshkoff, who was born in 1868 in Nizhni Novgorod, a large town on the Volga; that his father was a merchant, or an artisan, his mother a ... (From : University of Virginia Library.)

An Essay
• "Individual property and the principle of authority, in the new disguises of capitalism and parliamentarism, were in that program and had to lead, as has always been the case, to oppression, misery and the dehumanization of the masses."
• "...if one closely examines what happens deep down, in the intimate daily lives of the mass of humanity, one finds that as well as the struggle to snatch better working conditions, the thirst for domination, rivalry, envy and all the unhealthy passions which set man against man, is also valuable work, mutual aid, unceasing and voluntary exchange of services, affection, love, friendship and all that which draws people closer together in brotherhood. And human collectivizes advance or decay, live or die, depending on whether solidarity and love, or hatred and struggle, predominate in the community's affairs; indeed, the very existence of any community would not be possible if the social feelings, which I would call the good passions, were not stronger than the bad."
• "...­human history is full of violence, wars, carnage (besides the ruthless exploitation of the labor of others) and innumerable tyrannies and slavery."

A Factor of EvolutionMutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 INTRODUCTION Two aspects of animal life impressed me most during the journeys which I made in my youth in Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria. One of them was the extreme severity of the struggle for existence which most species of animals have to carry on against an inclement Nature; the enormous destruction of life which periodically results from natural agencies; and the consequent paucity of life over the vast territory which fell under my observation. And the other was, that even in those few spots where animal life teemed in abundance, I failed to find -- although I was eagerly looking for it -- that bitter struggle for the means of existence, among animals belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists (though not always by Darwin himself) as the dominant characteristic of struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution. The terribl...


Note: Godwin wrote this piece, according to a note in the manuscript, "while the Enquirer was in the press, under the impression that the favor of the public might have demanded another volume." The study of history may well be ranked among those pursuits which are most worthy to be chosen by a rational being. The study of history divides itself into two principal branches; the study of mankind in a mass, of the progress the fluctuations, the interests and the vises of society; and the study of the individual. The history of a nation might be written in the first of these senses, entirely in terms of abstraction, and without descending so much as to name one of those individuals to which the nation is composed. It is curious, and it is impo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


[SECOND NOTICE.] Are Prisons Necessary? is the title of the concluding chapter of Kropotkin's account of his prison experiences. "Unhappily, hitherto," he goes on to remark, "our penal institutions have been nothing but a compromise between the old ideas of revenge, of punishment of the 'bad will' and 'sin,' and the modern ideas of 'deterring from crime,' both softened to a very slight extent by some notions of philanthropy." But is it not time that we fully recognized the fact that crime, like bodily disease, is capable of scientific investigation, and of that scientific treatment which considers prevention the best of cures? An energetic school of scientific students of crime has sprung up of late years in Italy and Germany, who have devo... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


There is no question with which Anarchists are more commonly met than, "What is to be done with criminals in a society where there is no government? You say that the present system of coercion is a cruel wrong to human nature; you say that the masses, when they rise to overthrow the economic tyranny of the property owners, will destroy all this elaborate machinery of law-court and prison, and indeed it is a fact that the opening of prison doors has been a prominent feature of popular revolts; but surely you cannot wish and intend to let the criminal class loose upon society?" And the most selfish and brutal of respectable objectors will go on discoursing about the "criminal class" in the tone of the Pharisee of all ages when be has occasion... (From : AnarchyArchives.)

CHAPTER I APPEARANCE AND REALITY IS there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked. When we have realized the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy -- for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we do in ordinary life and even in the sciences, but critically after exploring all that makes such questions puzzling, and after realizing all the vagueness and confusion that underlie our ordinary ideas. In daily life, we assume as certain many things which, on a closer scrutiny, are found to be so full of apparent contradictions that only a great amount of thought enables us to know what it is that we really may believe. In the search for cert...

PREFACE The following narrative is intended to answer a purpose, more general and important than immediately appears upon the face of it. The question now afloat in the world respecting THINGS AS THEY ARE, is the most interesting that can be presented to the human mind. While one party pleads for reformation and change, the other extols, m the warmest terms, the existing constitution of society. It seemed as if something would be gained for the decision of this question, if that constitution were faithfully developed in its practical effects. What is now presented to the public, is no refined and abstract speculation; it is a study and delineation of things passing in the moral world. It is but of late that the inestimable importance of political principles has been adequately apprehended. It is now known to philosophers, that the spirit and character of the government intrudes itself into every rank of society. But this is a truth, highly worthy to be c...


This work is part of the International Institute for Social History collection and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. Thoughts Occasioned By The Perusal Of Dr. Parr's Spital Sermon, Preached At Christ Church, April 15, 1800: Being A Reply to the Attacks of Dr. Parr, Mr. Mackintosh, the Author of an Essay On Population, and Others. by William Godwin LONDON: Printed by Taylor and Wilks, Chancery-Lane; and sold by G.G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row. 1801. I HAVE now continued for some years a silent, not an inattentive, spectator of the flood of ribaldry, invective and intolerance which has been poured out against me and my writings. The work which has principally afforded a topic for the exercise of this malignity has been... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

ESSAY I OF BODY AND MIND THE PROLOGUE There is no subject that more frequently occupies the attention of the contemplative than man: yet there are many circumstances concerning him that we shall hardly admit to have been sufficiently considered. Familiarity breeds contempt. That which we see every day and every hour, it is difficult for us to regard with admiration. To almost every one of our stronger emotions novelty is a necessary ingredient. The simple appetites of our nature may perhaps form an exception. The appetite for food is perpetually renewed in a healthy subject with scarcely any diminution and love, even the most refined, being combined with one of our original impulses, will sometimes for that reason withstand a thousand trials, and perpetuate itself for years. In all other cases it is required, that a fresh impulse should be given, that attention should anew be excited, or we cannot admire. Things often see...


'Thou shalt not kill.' -EXOD. xx. 13. 'The disciple is not above his master: but every one when he is perfected shall be as his master.' -LUKE vi. 40 'For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.' -MATT xxvi. 52. 'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.' - MATT. vii. 12. When Kings are executed after trial, as in the case of Charles L, Louis XVI., and Maximilian of Mexico; or when they are killed in Court conspiracies, like. Peter Ill., Paul, and various Sultans, Shahs, and Khans-little is said about it; but when they are killed without a trial and without a Court conspiracy- as in the case of Henry IV. of France, Alexander ll., the Empress of Austria, the late Shah of Pers... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

A Critical Essay on ShakespeareMr. Crosby's article on Shakespeare's attitude toward the working classes suggested to me the idea of also expressing my own long-established opinion about the works of Shakespeare, in direct opposition, as it is, to that established in all the whole European world. Calling to mind all the struggle of doubt and self-deceit,—efforts to attune myself to Shakespeare—which I went through owing to my complete disagreement with this universal adulation, and, presuming that many have experienced and are experiencing the same, I think that it may not be unprofitable to express definitely and frankly this view of mine, opposed to that of the majority, and the more so as the conclusions to which I came, when examining the causes of my disagreement with the universally established opinion, are, it seems to me, not without interest and significance. My disagreement with the established opinion about Shakespeare is not the result of an accidental frame of mind, nor o...

With these and other disjointed impressions in my mind, I returned to the divannaia. As soon as every one had reassembled, the priest rose and prepared to read the prayer before confession. The instant that the silence was broken by the stern, expressive voice of the monk as he recited the prayer—and more especially when he addressed to us the words: “Reveal thou all thy sins without shame, concealment, or extenuation, and let thy soul be cleansed before God: for if thou concealest aught, then great will be thy sin”—the same sensation of reverent awe came over me as I had felt during the morning. I even took a certain pleasure in recognizing this condition of mine, and strove to preserve it, not only by restraining all other thoughts from entering my brain, but also by consciously exerting myself to feel no other sensation than this same one of reverence. Papa was the first to go to confession. He remained a long, long time in the room which had bel...

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