Random Glory

“Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else.”
— Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

(Source: bookgeekconfessions, via booklover)

Last week at Belk. Things are getting GOOD!

Last week at Belk. Things are getting GOOD!

(Source: zoo-monkey, via socratic-thinker)

The Tale of the Slave

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

  1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
  2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
  3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
  4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
  5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
  6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

    Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

  7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
  8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
  9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

—- Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 290-292.

"I don’t do drugs, I am drugs." —- Salvador Dali

"I don’t do drugs, I am drugs." —- Salvador Dali

Currently reading…

“If a man knows not his own soul, which is the nearest thing to him, what is the use of his claiming to know others?”
— Al-Ghazali
“Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

(Source: thusspokefriedrichnietzsche)

“Maturity: knowing where you’re crazy, trying to warn others of the fact and, striving to keep yourself under control.”
— Alain de Botton
“If you are really sincere in your advice, you address it in privacy. If it’s private, it’s easier to achieve the truth. But when you are in a large group, the ego takes over. And then there’s the chance that it’s not sincere, it’s for achieving the upper hand.”
Shaykh Ḥamza Yūsuf translating Imām al-Ghazālī’s Kitāb al-‘Ilm

(Source: theconsciousmuslim, via thebeautyofislam)

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
— Miguel de Cervantes, Man of La Mancha

(Source: whyallcaps.us, via tierradentro)

“You must, in order that it shall speak to you, take a thing during a certain time as the only one that exists, as the only phenomenon which through your diligent and exclusive love finds itself set down in the center of the universe… Don’t be frightened at the expression “fate”… I call fate all external events (illnesses, for example, included) which can inevitably step in to interrupt and annihilate a disposition of mind and training that is by nature solitary… That went through me like an arrow, when I learned it, but like a flaming arrow that, while it pierced my heart through, left it in a conflagration of clear sight. There are few artists in our day who grasp this stubbornness, this vehement obstinacy. But I believe that without it one remains always at the periphery of art, which is rich enough as it is to allow us pleasant discoveries, but at which, nevertheless, we halt only as a player at the green table who, while he now and again succeeds with a “coup”, remains none the less at the mercy of chance, which is nothing but the docile and dexterous ape of the law.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke