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Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief, and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another. Every man’s natural weight of afflictions is still made more heavy by the envy, malice, treachery, or injustice of his neighbour. At the same time that the storm beats upon the whole species, we are falling foul upon one another.
Half the misery of human life might be extinguished, would men alleviate the general curse they lie under, by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence and humanity. There is nothing therefore which we ought more to encourage in ourselves and others, than that disposition of mind which in our language goes under the title of good-nature.
–Joseph Addison, The Spectator, Sept. 13, 1711 in: The Works of Joseph Addison vol. 1, p. 251 (Harper’s ed. 1850).
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Jobs created by every billion dollars of U.S. government defense spending:
Artists tend to have twice as many sexual partners as noncreative people.
Swiss retailer Migros cut off ties with a collectible-creamer company following the distribution of 2,000 creamers whose lids bore images of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. “You cannot put Pol Pot or a terrorist on a milk creamer,” said a Migros spokesman.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”