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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
Number of countries thought to possess chemical weapons:
Placebos are more effective if the drugs for which they stand in are said to be more expensive.
In Torrance, California, an African grey parrot named Nigel, who once spoke English with a British accent and had returned home after a four-year absence, began asking for someone named “Larry” and speaking Spanish.
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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.”