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Sobald die Menschen über Recht und Unrecht zu reflectiren anfingen, in einer Zeit, wo sie über die Zweckmäßigkeit der Natur noch gleichgültig wegsahen, sie nützten, ohne sich dabei etwas Anderes als den gewohnten Lauf der Natur zu denken, mußte sich das Urtheil unvermeidlich einfinden: daß es im Ausgange nimmermehr einerlei sein könne, ob ein Mensch sich redlich oder falsch, billig oder gewaltthätig verhalten habe, wenn er gleich bis an sein Lebensende, wenigstens sichtbarlich, für seine Tugenden kein Glück, oder für seine Verbrechen keine Strafe angetroffen habe. Es ist: als ob sie in sich eine Stimme wahrnähmen, es müsse anders zugehen! mithin mußte auch die, obgleich dunkle, Vorstellung von Etwas, dem sie nachzustreben sich erbunden fühlten, verborgen liegen, womit ein solcher Ausschlag sich gar nicht zusammenreimen lasse, oder womit, wenn sie den Weltlauf einmal als die einzige Ordnung der Dinge ansahen, sie wiederum jene innere Zweckbestimmung ihres Gemüths nicht zu vereinigen wußten.
As soon as people begin to contemplate right and wrong, even at a time in which they look indifferently upon the utility of Nature, they contemplate it, even without pausing to consider precisely why, and thus inevitably they come to this judgment: that in the end it must make a difference whether a person acts honestly or deceitfully, fairly or violently, even if to the end of his life he derives no benefit from his virtues and no punishment for his crimes, or at least none that we can see. It is as if they hear an inner voice that says: It cannot be like this! And thus over time they evolve dark concepts of something which lies concealed, after which they feel compelled to quest, something decisive which they hardly can begin to fathom, and even if they should at one point recognize in it the sole order of things, they would hardly know how to reconcile it with the purpose of their own nature.
–Immanuel Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, pt ii, sec ii, Anhang. § 88 – Beschränkung der Gültigkeit des moralischen Beweises (1790) in: Sämtliche Werke in sechs Bänden, vol. 6, p. 366 (Großherzog Wilhelm Ernst ed. 1921)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”