Thursday, August 17, 2006

Inspirational thoughts #2

In the spirit of a post I wrote about Plato in June, a few motivational words from Locke (who is surely the least inspirational philosopher imaginable, though when he's in physician mode he falls very comfortably into advice-giving of the "let your child run around with holes in his shoes in the winter so that he becomes inured to cold by way of a soaking in icy water, and do not by any measure let him eat summer fruit" type--he sounds pretty bossy here too, come to think of it, though of course I like it very much indeed):

How Men, whose plentiful Fortunes allow them leisure to improve their Understandings, can satisfy themselves with a lazy Ignorance, I cannot tell: But methinks they have a low Opinion of their Souls, who lay out all their Incomes in Provisions for the Body, and employ none of it to procure the Means and Helps of Knowledge; who take great care to appear always in a neat and splendid outside, and would think themselves miserable in coarse Cloaths, or a patched Coat, and yet contentedly suffer their Minds to appear abroad in a pie-bald Livery of coarse Patches, and borrowed Shreds, such as it has pleased Chance, or their Country-Tailor, (I mean the common Opinion of those they have conversed with,) to cloath them in.

All I can think, though, is that Swift so had been reading Locke. . . .

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