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John Locke

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Covetousness, and the desire of having in our possession, and under our dominion, more than we have need of, being the root of all evil, should be early and carefully weeded out, and the contrary quality of a readiness to impart to others, implanted. This should be encourag'd by great commendation and credit, and constantly taking care that he loses nothing by his liberality.
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Sec. 110

 
John Locke

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Another thing wherein they shew their love of dominion, is, their desire to have things to be theirs: They would have propriety and possession, pleasing themselves with the power which that seems to give, and the right that they thereby have, to dispose of them as they please. He that has not observ's these two humours working very betimes in children, has taken little notice of their actions: And he who thinks that these two roots of almost all the injustice and contention that so disturb human life, are not early to be weeded out, and contrary habits introduc'd, neglects the proper season to lay the foundations of a good and worthy man.

 
John Locke
 

A thought is an upshot of the desire. When someone thinks about what he wants, he does not think of something undesirable. For example, a person never thinks about the day of his death. On the contrary, he will always contemplate his perpetuity, for this is his desire. Thus, one always thinks of what is desirable (...) It turns out that thought serves desire, and desire is the “self” of the person. Now, there is a great self, or a small self. A great self dominates the small selves. He who is a small self has no dominion whatsoever, and the advice is to magnify the self through the diligence of the thought on the desire, since it grows to the extent that one thinks of it.

 
Yehuda Ashlag
 

I was involuntarily struck by the aptitude which the Russian displays for accommodating himself to the customs of the people in whose midst he happens to be living. I know not whether this mental quality is deserving of censure or commendation, but it proves the incredible pliancy of his mind and the presence of that clear common sense which pardons evil wherever it sees that evil is inevitable or impossible of annihilation.

 
Mikhail Lermontov
 

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

 
Augustine of Hippo
 

Further, it will not be amiss to distinguish the three kinds and, as it were, grades of ambition in mankind. The first is of those who desire to extend their own power in their native country, a vulgar and degenerate kind. The second is of those who labor to extend the power and dominion of their country among men. This certainly has more dignity, though not less covetousness. But if a man endeavor to establish and extend the power and dominion of the human race itself over the universe, his ambition (if ambition it can be called) is without doubt both a more wholesome and a more noble thing than the other two. Now the empire of man over things depends wholly on the arts and sciences. For we cannot command nature except by obeying her.

 
Francis Bacon
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