Cumulative Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 25 quotes )
It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
There was a time in the ancient world - a very long time - in which the central cultural problem must have seemed an inexhaustible outpouring of books. Where to put them all? How to organize them on the groaning shelves? How to hold the profusion of knowledge in one's head? The loss of this plenitude would have been virtually inconceivable to anyone living in its midst. Then, not all at once but with the cumulative force of a mass extinction, the whole enterprise came to an end. What looked stable turned out to be fragile, and what had seemed for all time was only for the time being.
An ad that pretends to be art is -- at absolute best -- like somebody who smiles warmly at you only because he wants something from you. This is dishonest, but what's sinister is the cumulative effect that such dishonesty has on us: since it offers a perfect facsimile or simulacrum of goodwill without goodwill's real spirit, it messes with our heads and eventually starts upping our defenses even in cases of genuine smiles and real art and true goodwill. It makes us feel confused and lonely and impotent and angry and scared. It causes despair.
Imagine how our own families, let alone the world, would change if we vowed to keep faith with one another, strengthen one another, look for and accentuate the virtues in one another, and speak graciously concerning one another. Imagine the cumulative effect if we treated each other with respect and acceptance, if we willingly provided support. Such interactions practiced on a small scale would surely have a rippling effect throughout our homes and communities and, eventually, society at large.
We were never promised precision in this life... With the gift of agency to mankind, life cannot possibly present a perfectly tidy picture. The ambiguities of circumstances are partly, if not largely, the cumulative result of our varied use of our moral agency, but also of the structure of life itself.