Archive | June, 2020

(You Know) Who Said This

I won’t say “guess the author” on this one, because the author is unmistakable, even if the content will be somewhat surprising to many:

I believe that my statement of man’s proper morality does not contradict any religious belief, if that belief includes faith in man’s free will. … Christianity was the first school of thought that proclaimed the supreme sacredness of the individual. The first duty of a Christian is the salvation of his own soul. This duty comes above any he may owe to his brothers. This is the basic statement of true individualism. The salvation of one’s own soul means the preservation of the integrity of one’s ego. The soul is the ego. Thus Christianity did preach egoism in my sense of the word, in a high, noble and spiritual sense. Christ did say that you must love your neighbor as yourself, but He never said that you must love your neighbor better than yourself – which is the monstrous doctrine of altruism and collectivism. Altruism – the demand of self-immolation for others—contradicts the basic premise of Christianity, the sacredness of one’s own soul. Altruism introduced a basic contradiction into Christian philosophy, which has never been resolved. The entire history of Christianity in Europe has been a continuous civil war, not merely in fact, but also in spirit. I believe that Christianity will not regain its power as a vital spiritual force until it has resolved this contradiction. And since it cannot reject the conception of the paramount sacredness of the individual soul – this conception holds the root, the meaning and the greatness of Christianity – it must reject the morality of altruism.


Who Said This?

Guess the author:

For a wise man … a person’s character is as important as the color of his face in reaching a judgment.

See the answer here and here.


Who Said This?

Guess the author:

___________ asked what game he was hunting, and the old man replied: “The most dangerous of all beasts: men they are called ….”

See the answer here and here.


Who Said This?

Guess the author:

Margaret Mitchell, who in her popular novel Gone With the Wind (New York, 1936) eulogizes the South’s slavery system, is cautious enough not to enter into particulars concerning the plantation hands, and prefers to dwell upon the conditions of domestic servants, who even in her account appear as an aristocracy of their caste.

Click here to see the answer.


Qualis Spectator

Europe is a great place to attend artistic performances – plays, concerts, operas, etc., in the major cities there’s always a dizzying variety of options on offer. (I vividly recall the tantalising posters in the Prague metro advertising multiple different operas from each of Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner, plus many more, all in a single month.) Unfortunately, owing to limitations of time, money, or both, I’ve been to very few performances on my European trips. Here are the ones I recall (not counting street musicians, musicians performing in restaurants, etc. – although the Klezmer band in the main square in Kraków in 2007 was one of my very favourites):

1990, London: I really wanted to see Peter O’Toole in “Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell” at the Apollo Theatre, but tickets were sold out, so my King’s College London hosts suggested Denholm Elliott in Mamet’s “A Life in the Theatre” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which was fine. (Though not as exciting as seeing Patrick McGoohan in “Pack of Lies” in Boston in 1985 for my birthday.)

1997, Rome: As part of the ISIL conference package, we attended a performance of Verdi’s La Traviata; I don’t recall the venue, but it was a second-rate establishment (with a ninth-rate restroom, possibly the filthiest restroom I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot – plus it was just a hole in the floor third-world style, no commode, which is something I saw nowhere else in Italy), and most of the cast was merely competent, but the lead singer was excellent, and you can’t beat the music.

2004, London: Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theatre. Maligned by some as a tourist trap, but I found it thoroughly satisfying, even though I already knew the ending. (The theatre claims the play has never been published, but they lie. I have it on my bookshelf.)

2006, Edinburgh: We wandered into St. Giles Cathedral and listened to part of a free concert by some itinerant singing group; I don’t recall their name, if I even knew it, but they were lovely and the surroundings were charming.

2010, Vienna: This is the only one I planned in advance. Watching the New Year’s concert each year from the Golden Hall in the Musikverein is a long-standing family tradition, so when I was in Vienna (on a side trip from the PCPE in Prague) I was delighted to get a chance to attend a concert there. (Mozart and Schubert [in particular, the latter’s “Sanctus”] were featured, IIRC.)


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