You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.
Action is the activity of the rational soul, which abhors irrationality and must combat it or be corrupted by it. When it sees the irrationality of others, it must seek to correct it, and can do this either by teaching or engaging in public affairs itself, correcting through its practice. And the purpose of action is to enable philosophy to continue, for if men are reduced to the material alone, they become no more than beasts.
Renouncing false beliefs will not usher in the millennium. Few things about the strategy of contemporary apologists are more repellent than their frequent recourse to spurious alternatives. The lesser lights inform us that the alternative to Christianity is materialism, thus showing how little they have read, while the greater lights talk as if the alternative were bound to be a shallow and inane optimism. I don't believe that man will turn this earth into a bed of roses either with the aid of God or without it. Nor does life among the roses strike me as a dream from which one would not care to wake up after a very short time.
For, from the time that the Bishop of Rome had gotten to be acknowledged for bishop universal, by pretence of succession to St. Peter, their whole hierarchy, or kingdom of darkness, may be compared not unfitly to the kingdom of fairies; that is, to the old wives' fables in England concerning ghosts and spirits, and the feats they play in the night. And if a man consider the original of this great ecclesiastical dominion, he will easily perceive that the papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof: for so did the papacy start up on a sudden out of the ruins of that heathen power.
On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis.
Our lives are mere flashes of light in an infinitely empty universe. In 12 years of education the most important lesson I have learned is that what we see as normal living is truly a travesty of our potential. In a society so governed by superficiality, appearances, and petty economics, dreams are more real than anything anything in the real world. Refuse normalcy. Beauty is everywhere, love is endless, and joy bleeds from our everyday existence. Embrace it. I love all of you, all my friends, family, and community. I am ceaselessly grateful from the bottom of my heart for everyone. The only thing I can ask of you is to stay free of materialism. Remember that every day contains a universe of potential; exhaust it. Live and love so immensely that when death comes there is nothing left for him to take. Wealth is love, music, sports, learning, family and freedom. Above all, stay gold.
Japan likewise put her hopes of victory on a different basis from that prevalent in the United States. (...) Even when she was winning, her civilian statesmen, her High Command, and her soldiers repeated that this was no contest between armaments; it was pitting of our faith in things against their faith in spirit.
We are tempted to believe that certain achievements and possessions will give us enduring satisfaction. We are invited to imagine ourselves scaling the steep cliff face of happiness in order to reach a wide, high plateau on which we will live out the rest of our lives; we are not reminded that soon after gaining the summit, we will be called down again into fresh lowlands of anxiety and desire.
I think at the heart of so much restlessness of the day is a spiritual vacuum. There is a yearning for meaningful lives, a yearning for values we can commonly embrace. I hear an almost inaudible but pervasive discontent with the price we pay for our current materialism. And I hear a fluttering of hope that there might be more to life than bread and circuses.
If we were to gain God's perspective, even for a moment, and were to look at the way we go through life accumulating and hoarding and displaying our things, we would have the same feelings of horror and pity that any sane person has when he views people in an asylum endlessly beating their heads against the wall.