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Herbert Spencer

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A clever theft was praiseworthy amongst the Spartans; and it is equally so amongst Christians, provided it be on a sufficiently large scale.
--
Pt. II, Ch. 16, The Rights of Women.

 
Herbert Spencer

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Apocalypses, apparently, are subject to fashion like everything else. What terrifies one generation can seem obsolete and trivial to the next. Take our modern attitude toward war. Most anthropologists now think this activity was based originally on theft and rape—perhaps rewarding enterprises for some caveman or Viking, but no longer either sexy or profitable in the context of nuclear holocaust! Today, we look back on large-scale warfare as an essentially silly enterprise.

 
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We will indulge in all those miscellaneous commercial operations, which when conducted on a small scale are called thieving, but a large scale, financing.

 
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It is easier to make people appear equally stupid than to make them equally clever, so teaching methods are adopted which make it practically impossible for anyone to learn anything.

 
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This has been a long personal endeavor of mine. Twenty-five years ago ... I just fell in love with brains. ... I decided to dedicate my life to it. It has been a long road, it's up and down, it's actually not an easy thing to do, to say I'm going to work on large-scale theories of brain function. It was not something you could do in the 1980s. There was no place you could go. ... Nobody was doing the large-scale theory. That's changed in only recent years and I started my institute, the Redwood Neuroscience Institute, to create a place where you could focus on this problem. And, I think, that's really all it took.

 
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Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what there is particularly immortal about yours?

 
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
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