Equality is a disorganizing concept in so far as human relations mean order.
The leader may be chosen by the people, but he is guided by the right; and, in the same way, we may say that the worker may be employed by anyone, but that he is directed by the autonomous ideal in the task.
Man is an organism, not a mechanism; and the mechanical pacing of his life does harm to his human responses, which naturally follow a kind of free rhythm.
The whole tendency of empiricism and democracy in speech, dress and manners has been toward a plainness which is without symbolic significance. The power of symbolism is greatly feared by those who wish to expel from life all that is nonrational in the sense of being nonutilitarian
The realization that just as no action is really indifferent, so no utterance is without its responsibility introduces, it is true, a certain strenuosity into life.
Life without prejudice, were it ever to be tried, would soon reveal itself to be a life without principle. For prejudices, as we have seen earlier, are often built-in principles. They are the extract which the mind has made of experience.
The discipline of poetry may be expected first to teach the evocative power of words, to introduce the student, if we may so put it, to the mighty power of symbolism, and then to show him that there are ways of feeling about things which are not provincial either in space or time.
Drill in exact translation is an excellent way of disposing the mind against that looseness and exaggeration with which the sensationalists have corrupted our world. If schools of journalism knew their business, they would graduate no one who could not render the Greek poets.
In Greek fable, as in Christian, it is asserted that there is a forbidden knowledge which brings nothing into world but woe. Our generation has had ample demonstration of what that knowledge is. It is knowledge of the useful rather than the true and the good, of techniques rather than of ends.
The word is a sort of deliverance from the shifting world of appearances. The central teaching of the New Testament is that those who accept the word acquire wisdom and at the same time some identification with the eternal.
We cannot be too energetic in reminding our nihilists and positivists that this is a world of action and history.
All of us have had the experience of finding a particularly felicitous phrase in poetry and of feeling: This is what the world really means; he has hit it closer than anyone has ever hit it before.
The man of culture finds the whole past relevant; the bourgeois and the barbarian find relevant only what has some pressing connection with their appetite.
In proportion as man approaches the outer rim, he becomes lost in details, and the more he is preoccupied with details, the less he can understand them.
It is an ancient belief, going back to classical antiquity, that specialization of any kind is illiberal in a freeman. A man willing to bury himself in the details of some small endeavor has been considered lost to these larger considerations which must occupy the mind of the ruler.
The former distrust of specialization has been supplanted by its opposite, a distrust of generalization. Not only has man become a specialist in practice, he is being taught that special facts represent the highest form of knowledge.
The complete man, then, is the lover added to the scientist; the rhetorician to the dialectician.
Man... feels lost without the direction-finder provide by progress.
When masses of men reach a point at which egotism reigns so blandly, can their political damnation be far off? They have rejected their only guaranty against external control, which is self-discipline, taught and practiced.
The eloquent Lysias, posing as a non-lover, had concealed designs upon Phaedrus, so that his fine speech was really a sheep's clothing. Socrates discerned in him a peculiar craftiness. One must suspect the same today of many who ask us to place our faith in the neutrality of their discourse.
Now, with the general decay of religious faith, it is the scientists who must speak ex cathedra, whether they wish to or not.
The prevailing conception is that education must be such as will enable one to acquire enough wealth to live on the plane of the bourgeoisie. That kind of education does not develop the aristocratic virtues. It neither encourages reflection nor inspires reverence for the good.
Most see education only as the means by which a person is transported from one economic plane to a higher one.
One of the most important revelations about a period comes in its theory of language, for that informs us whether language is viewed as a bridge to the noumenal or as a body of fictions convenient for grappling with transitory phenomena.
Any utterance is a major assumption of responsibility, and the assumption that one can avoid that responsibility by doing something to language itself is one of the chief considerations of the Phaedrus.