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I'm not interested in absolute moral judgments. Just think of what it means to be a good man or a bad one. What, after all, is the measure of difference? The good guy may be 65 per cent good and 35 per cent bad—that's a very good guy. The average decent fellow might be 54 per cent good, 46 per cent bad—and the average mean spirit is the reverse. So say I'm 60 per cent bad and 40 per cent good—for that, must I suffer eternal punishment? "Heaven and Hell make no sense if the majority of humans are a complex mixture of good and evil. There's no reason to receive a reward if you're 57/43—why sit around forever in an elevated version of Club Med? That's almost impossible to contemplate.
(What Jim had seen tallied with studies conducted after the Second World War by the military historian General S.L.A. Marshall. He interviewed thousands of American infantrymen and concluded that only 15-20 per cent of them had actually shot to kill. The rest had fired high or not fired at all, busying themselves however else they could. And 98 per cent of the soldiers who did shoot to kill were later found to have been deeply traumatized by their actions. The other 2 per cent were diagnosed as ‘aggressive psychopathic personalities’, who basically didn’t mind killing people under any circumstances, at home or abroad. The conclusion—in the words of Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman of the Killology Research Group—was: ‘there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 per cent of all men insane, and the other 2 per cent were crazy when they got there’.)
Here's the truth. The proposed top rate of income tax is not 50 per cent. It is 50 per cent plus 1.5 per cent national insurance paid by employees plus 13.3 per cent paid by employers. That's not 50 per cent. Two years from now, Britain will have the highest tax rate on earned income of any developed country.
The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
Consider that in 1800 Western powers claimed 55 percent but actually held approximately 35 percent of the earth's surface, and that by 1874 the proportion was 67 percent, a rate of increase of 83,000 square miles per year. By 1914, the annual rate had risen to an astonishing 240,000 square miles [per year], and Europe held a grand total of roughly 85 percent of the earth as colonies, protectorates, dependencies, dominions, and commonwealths. No other associated set of colonies in history was as large, none so totally dominated, none so unequal in power to the Western metropolis." Culture and Imperialism, pg. 8
When I was born, humanity was 95 per cent illiterate. Since I've been born, the population has doubled and that total population is now 65 per cent literate. That's a gain of 130-fold of the literacy. When humanity is primarily illiterate, it needs leaders to understand and get the information and deal with it. When we are at the point where the majority of humans them-selves are literate, able to get the information, we're in an entirely new relationship to Universe. We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.
How can a person deal with anxiety? You might try what one fellow did. He worried so much that he decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to be his hired worrier for a salary of $200,000 per year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, "Where are you going to get $200,000 per year?" To which the man responded, "That's your worry.
The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is “secret,” i. e., known only through vague hints but essentially unknown. The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. In seeking to explore it he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it. In order to explain the mystery of matter he projected yet another mystery - his own psychic background -into what was to be explained: Obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius! This procedure was not, of course, intentional; it was an involuntary occurrence.
A scientist places an ad in a Paris newspaper offering a free horoscope. He receives about 150 replies, each, as requested, detailing a place and time of birth. Every respondent is then sent the identical horoscope, along with a questionnaire asking how accurate the horoscope had been. Ninety-four per cent of the respondents (and 90 per cent of their families and friends) reply that they were at least recognizable in the horoscope. However, the horoscope was drawn up for a French serial killer. If an astrologer can get this far without even meeting his subjects, think how well someone sensitive to human nuances and not overly scrupulous might do.
Similarly, though the United States is one of the world’s richest economies by per capita income, it ranks only around seventeenth in reported life satisfaction. It is superseded not only by the likely candidates of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all rank above the United States but also by less likely candidates such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Indeed, one might surmise that it is health and longevity rather than income that give the biggest boost to reported life satisfaction. Since good health and longevity can be achieved at per capita income levels well below those of the United States, so too can life satisfaction. One marketing expert put it this way, with only slight exaggeration: Basic Survival goods are cheap, whereas narcissistic self-stimulation and social-display products are expensive. Living doesn’t cost much, but showing off does.