Man’s Duty to Society

From Meingast’s notebook circa 1880:

“For many a man, the totality of social connexions is at bottom nothing but a grumpily dignified scheme—a dull procession that one joins in, reluctantly and without zest, once in a while. Such a relation between ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ assumes instead of creating and forces into the foreground something entirely secondary and dependent. The individual shrinks to a vanishingly small point. But the true bearer of collectivity is ultimately the individual. To counteract this stupefying tendency, one must find within oneself the power to react to one’s fellow human beings in some vehement way, flowing into them and creating constellations with them that are rich in inner inventiveness.”

1 Comment

  1. Or, as Ibn Khaldun put it, “Man is the child of his customs, not the child of his ancestors.”

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