RUSSELL, BERTRAND, Sceptical Essays, Unwin Publishers Ltd., London, 1935, pp. 23-24.
'Politeness is the practice of respecting that part of a man's beliefs which is specially concerned with his own merits or those of his group. Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day. Some of these convictions are personal to himself: they tell him of his virtues and excellencies, the affection of his friends and the respect of his acquaintances, the rosy prospect of his career, and his unflagging energy in spite of delicate health. Next come convictions of the superior excellence of his family; how his father had that unbending rectitude which is now so rare, and brought up his children with a strictness beyond what is to be found among modern parents; how his sons are carrying all before them in school games, and his daughter is not the sort of girl to make an imprudent marriage. Then there are beliefs about his class, which according to his station, is the best socially, or the most intelligent, or the most deserving morally, of the classes in the community - though all are agreed that the first of these merits is more desirable than the second, and the second than the third. Concerning his nation, also, almost every man cherishes comfortable delusions, 'Foreign nations, I am sorry to say, do as they do do.' So said Mr Podsnap, giving expression, in these words, to one of the deepest sentiments of the human heart. Finally we come to the theories that exalt mankind in general, either absolutely or in comparison with the 'brute creation'. Men have souls, though animals have not; Man is the 'rational animal'; any peculiarly cruel or unnatural action is called 'brutal' or 'bestial' (although such actions are in fact distinctively human) (1); God made Man in His own image, and the welfare of Man is the ultimate purpose of the universe.'
(1) Compare Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger
DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORNDEN, WILLIAM in The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics, School Edition, ed. Francis Turner Palgrave, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., London, 1941, pp. 40-41.
William Drummond, Lessons of Nature
Of this fair volume which we World do name
If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care,
Of him who it corrects, and did it frame,
We clear might read the art and wisdom rare:
Find out his power which wildest power doth tame,
His providence extenting everywhere,
His justice which proud rebels doth not spare,
In every page, no period of the same.
But silly we, like foolish children, rest
Well pleased with colour'd vellum, leaves of gold,
Fair dangling ribbands, leaving what is best,
On the great writer's sense ne'er taking hold;
Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught,
It is some picture on the margin wrought.
Doth then the world go thus, doth all thus move?
Is this the justice which on Earth we find?
Is that the firm decree which all doth bind?
Are these your influences, Powers above?
Those souls which vice's moody mists most blind,
Blind Fortune, blindly, most their friend doth prove;
And they who thee, poor idol Virtue! love,
Ply like a feather toss'd by storm and wind.
Ah! if a Providence doth sway this all
Why should best minds groan under most distress?
Or why should pride humility make thrall,
And injuries the innocent oppress?
Heavens! hinder, stop this fate; or grant a time
When good may have, as well as bad, their prime!
THE MATHNAWÍ OF JALÁLU'DDÍN RÚMÍ, Translation, Books I & II, R.A. Nicholson, E.I.W. Gibb Memorial Series (1926), New Series, IV, 2. London, 1960, pp. 15.
[...] 'Those loves which are for the sake of a colour (outward beauty) are not love: in the end they are a disgrace.
Would that he too had been disgrace (deformity) altogether, so that evil judgement might not have come to pass upon him!
Blood ran from his eye (that flowed with tears) like a river; his (handsome) face became the enemy of his life.
The peacocks's plumage is its enemy: O many the king who hath been slain by his magnificence!
He said. "I am the muskdeer on account of whose gland that hunter shed my pure (innocent) blood.
Oh, I am the fox of the field whose head they (the hunters springing forth) from the covert cut off for the sake of the fur.
Oh, I am the elephant whose blood was shed by the blow of the mahout for the sake of the bone (ivory).
He who hath slain me for that which is other than I (i.e. "on account of my beauty, which is not my real self.") does not he know that my blood sleepeth not (will not rest unavenged)?
To-day it lies on me and to-morrow it lies on him: when does the blood of one such as I am go to waste like this?
Although the wall casts a long shadow, (yet at last) the shadow turns back towards it.' [...]