Sunday, May 8, 2022


“From what we have already observed on the general characteristics of human nature, it has appeared that man is not made for repose.  In him every amiable and respectable quality, is an active power, and every subject of commendation an effort.  If his errors and his crimes are the movements of an active being, his virtues and his happiness consist likewise in the employment of his mind; and all the lustre which he casts around him, to captivate or engage the attention of his fellow creatures, like the flame of a meteor, shines only while his motion continues; the moments of rest and obscurity are the same.  We know, that the tasks assigned him frequently may exceed, as well as come short of, his powers; that he may be agitated too much, as well as too little; but cannot ascertain a precise medium between the situations in which he would be harassed, and those in which he would fall into languor.  We know that he may be employed on a great variety of subjects, which occupy different passions; and that, in consequence of habit, he becomes reconciled to very different scenes.  All we can determine in general is, that whatever be the subjects with which he is engaged, the frame of his nature requires him to be occupied, and his happiness requires him to be just.”

- Adam Ferguson, from An Essay on the History of Civil Society

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