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    Quotables: Ideas Have Consequences

    July 13, 2012 by Brandy Vencel
    Ideas Have Consequences
    by Richard Weaver

    We begin our other affirmations after a categorical statement that life and the world are to be cherished. {p. 19}

    [Culture’s] most splendid flourishing stands often in proximity with the primitive phase of a people, in which there are powerful feelings of “oughtness” directed toward the world, and before the failure of nerve has begun. {p. 19}

    [A] true culture cannot be content with a sentiment which is sentimental with regard to the world. There must be a source of clarification, of arrangement and hierarchy, which will provide grounds for the employment of the rational faculty. {p. 19-20}

    The most important goal for one to arrive at is this imaginative picture [{i.e., a view of the world}]…His rational faculty will then be in the service of a vision which can preserve his sentiment from sentimentality. {p. 20}

    [L]ogic depends upon the dream, and not the dream upon it. {p. 21}

    Here, indeed, lies the beginning of self-control, which is a victory of transcendence. When a man chooses to follow something which is arbitrary as far as the uses of the world go, he is performing a feat of abstraction; he is recognizing the noumenal, and it is this, and not that self-flattery which takes the form of a study of his own achievements, that dignifies him. {p. 22}

    In the same way that our cognition passes from a report of particular details to a knowledge of universals, so our sentiments pass from a welter of feeling to an illumined concept of what one ought to feel. This is what is known as refinement. {p. 22}

    The man of self-control is he who can consistently perform the feat of abstraction. He is therefore trained to see things under of eternity, because form is the enduring part. {p. 23}

    The statement really means that it does not matter what a man believes as long as he does not take his beliefs seriously….But suppose he does take his beliefs seriously? Then what he believes places a stamp upon his experience, and he belongs to a culture, which is a league founded on on exclusive principles. {p. 23}

    [C]ulture is sentiment refined and measured by intellect… {p. 23}

    It is characteristic of the barbarian, whether he appears in a precultural stage or emerges from below into the waning day of a civilization, to insist upon seeing a thing “as it is.”…[He] insists upon starkness of materiality, suspecting rightly that forms will mean restraint. {p. 24}

    Today over the entire world there are dangerous signs that culture, as such, is marked for attack because its formal requirements stand in the way of expression of the natural man.

    Many cannot conceive why form should be allowed to impeded the expression of honest hearts. The reason lies in one of the limitations imposed upon man: unformed expression is ever tending toward ignorance. {p. 25}

    Every group regarding itself as emancipation is convinced that its predecessors were fearful of reality. {p. 26}

    No education is worthy of the name which fails to make the point that the world is best understood from a certain distance or that the most elementary understanding requires a degree of abstraction. {p. 27}

    Our age provides many examples of the ravages of immediacy, the clearest of which is the failure of the modern mind to recognize obscenity…The word is employed here in its original sense to describe that which should be enacted off-stage because it is unfit for public exhibition. {p. 28}

    The area of privacy has been abandoned because the definition of person has been lost; there is no longer a standard by which to judge what belongs to the individual man. {p. 29}

    It is inevitable that the decay of sentiment should be accompanied by a deterioration of human relationships, both those of the family and those of friendly association, because the passion for immediacy concentrates upon the presently advantageous. After all, there is nothing but sentiment to the very old or to the very young. {p. 30}

    When people set the highest value on relationships to one another, it does not take them long to find material accommodations for these. {p. 30}

    To one brought up in a society spiritually fused…the idea of a campaign to win friends must be incomprehensible. Friends are attracted by one’s personality, if it is of the right sort, and any conscious attempt is inseparable from guile. And the art of manipulating personalities obviously presumes a disrespect for personality. {p. 31}

    [T]he disappearance of the heroic ideal is always accompanied by the growth of commercialism. {p. 32}

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