Am I right in suggesting that ordinary life is a mean between these extremes, that the noble man devotes his material wealth to lofty ends, the advancement of science, or art, or some such true ideal; and that the base man does the opposite by concentrating all his abilities on the amassing of wealth?'Exactly; that is the real distinction between the artist and the bourgeois, or, if you prefer it, between the gentleman and the cad. Money, and the things money can buy, have no value, for there is no question of creation, but only of exchange. Houses, lands, gold, jewels, even existing works of art, may be tossed about from one hand to another; they are so, constantly. But neither you nor I can write a sonnet; and what we have, our appreciation of art, we did not buy. We inherited the germ of it, and we developed it by the sweat of our brows. The possession of money helped us, but only by giving us time and opportunity and the means of travel. Anyhow, the principle is clear; one must sacrifice the lower to the higher, and, as the Greeks did with their oxen, one must fatten and bedeck the lower, so that it may be the worthier offering.
Why are you not smarter? It's only the rich who can't afford to be smart. They're compromised. They got locked years ago into privilege. They have to protect their belongings. No one is meaner than the rich. Trust me. But they have to follow the rules of their shitty civilised world. They declare war, they have honour, and they can't leave. But you two. We three. We're free.
Then she added in a sort of childish delight: 'We'll be poor, won't we? Like people in books. And I'll be an orphan and utterly free. Free and poor! What fun!' She stopped and raised her lips to him in a delighted kiss.'It's impossible to be both together,' said John grimly. 'People have found that out. And I should choose to be free as preferable of the two...
Why are...poor people more ready to share their goods than rich people? The answer is easy: The poor have little to lose; the rich have more to lose and they are more attached to their possessions. Poverty provides a deeper motivation for understanding your neighbors, welcoming others and attending to those who are suffering. I would go so far as to say that poverty helps you understand what happiness is, what serenity is in life.
What I see especially among the Navajos and the Zunis and the Hopis is a culture of people who have been smart enough to learn a lesson that we're awfully slow to get... They know that being rich doesn't have any damn thing to do with how much money you've got. It's got to do with are you happy and are you content.
Somewhere, things must be beautiful and vivid. Somewhere else, life has to be beautiful and vivid and rich. Not like this muted palette -a pale blue bedroom, washed out sunny sky, dull green yellow brown of the fields. Here, I know ever twist of every road, every blade of grass, every face in this town, and I am suffocating.
In the past, humans hesitated when they took lives, even non-human lives. But society had changed, and they no longer felt that way. As humans grew stronger, I think that we became quite arrogant, losing the sorrow of 'we have no other choice.' I think that in the essence of human civilization, we have the desire to become rich without limit, by taking the lives of other creatures.
In the Blue Room, Cora Cash was trying to concentrate on her book. Cora found most novels hard to sympathise with -- all those plain governesses -- but this one had much to recommend it. The heroine was 'handsome, clever, and rich', rather like Cora herself. Cora knew she was handsome -- wasn't she always referred to in the papers as 'the divine Miss Cash'? She was clever -- she could speak three languages and could handle calculus. And as to rich, well, she was undoubtedly that. Emma Woodhouse was not rich in the way that she, Cora Cash, was rich. Emma Woodhouse did not lie on a lit ? la polonaise once owned by Madame du Barry in a room which was, but for the lingering smell of paint, an exact replica of Marie Antoinette's bedchamber at le petit Trianon. Emma Woodhouse went to dances at the Assembly Rooms, not fancy dress spectaculars in specially built ballrooms. But Emma Woodhouse was motherless which meant, thought Cora, that she was handsome, clever, rich and free.