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John Locke

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The beauty or uncomeliness of many things, in good and ill breeding, will be better learnt, and make deeper impressions on them, in the examples of others, than from any rules or instructions can be given about them.
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Sec. 82

 
John Locke

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Rules of grammar can not give us a mastery of language, rules of rhetoric can not make us eloquent, rules of conduct can not make us good.

 
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Only the bad artists of the nineteenth century were frightened by the invention of photography; the good ones all welcomed it and used it. Degas liked it not only because it provided an accurate record, but because the snapshot showed him a means of escape from the classical rules of design. Through it he learnt to make a composition without the use of formal symmetry.

 
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Let them have what instructions you will, and ever so learned lectures of breeding daily inculcated into them, that which will most influence their carriage will be the company they converse with, and the fashion of those about them.

 
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Of course if we make good things, it is not only to the credit of science; it is also to the credit of the moral choice which led us to the good work. Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad but it does not carry instructions on how to use it. Such power has evident value even though the power may be negated by what one does.
I learned a way of expressing this common human problem on a trip to Honolulu. In a Buddhist temple there, the man in charge explained a little about the Buddhist religion for the tourists, and then ended his talk by telling them he had something to say to them that they would never forget and I have never forgotten it. It was a proverb of the Buddhist religion:
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell."
What, then, is the value of the key to heaven? It is true that if we lack clear instructions to determine which is the gate to heaven and which the gate to hell, the key may be a dangerous object to use, but it obviously has value. How can we enter heaven without it?

 
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