Friday, August 31, 2007


More from Mary Midgley, Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature:
Certainly some people are natural recluses, but--leaving aside the difficulty of finding out whether they are actually pleased with their lives--they do seem somewhat abnormal. I am not criticizing them, but pointing out that they can hardly provide an escape for the rest of us from the dilemma endemic to a social species; awful though other people may be, most of the activities that we really care about must involve them. Solitude is necessary for many parts of our life, but it cannot be the climate of the whole. Nor do we need other people merely as scratching-posts, means to the adjusting of our own states of consciousness. Our nature demands for its fulfillment ends to aim at which lie outside ourselves

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