As an artist, I identify with Sandro Botticelli. We know him as the man who painted Primavera and The Birth Of Venus. The goddesses and ancient subjects he chose represented virtues which were meant to inspire people. Then he went through a dark phase when he was listening to the sermons of Savonarola, who preached against the worldly pleasures of the Renaissance. But Botticelli's works live on, inspiring people to this day. Five hundred years after his death, he still has thousands of fans!
Neither the circle without the line, nor the line without the point, can be artificially produced. It is, therefore, by virtue of the point and the Monad that all things commence to emerge in principle. That which is affected at the periphery, however large it may be, cannot in any way lack the support of the central point.
Diligence means to be keen in matters of virtue and justice, but worldly people use diligence to solve their economic difficulties. Frugality means to have little desire for material goods, but worldly people use frugality as a cover for stinginess. Thus do watchwords of enlightened life turn into tools for the private business of small people. What a pity!
There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone...In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay. Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.
Happiness is something final and complete in itself, as being the aim and end of all practical activities whatever .... Happiness then we define as the active exercise of the mind in conformity with perfect goodness or virtue.
Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues--constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness--are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence; and in their excess all these virtues very easily fall into it.