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Commentaries by Tieman H. Dippel Jr.


Transcending Generations/Commentaries

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To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to always remain a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by records of history. “
Marcus Tullius Cicero

History tells the story of the cycles of societies and civilizations and it is wise to study them, but all societies are dependent upon the strength of the culture. To understand how the changes in the culture parallel the changes in the strength of the society and its political and economic environment is a goal of enlightened conservatism. Since the ultimate goal of enlightened conservatism is an environment of conscience, it is also worthwhile to consider the thoughts through history of leaders of this perspective.

1.Quotations on Society

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. The essential cause of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic desperatism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars... Rome was not destroyed by Christianity, anymore than by barbarian invasion; it was an empty shell when Christianity arose to influence and invasion came.
Will and Ariel Durant
Caesar and Christ (1944) Page 665

The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and govern itself... all the great laws of society are laws of nature.
Thomas Paine
The Rights of Man (1792)

I fully subscribe to the judgment of those writers who maintain that of all the differences between man and the lower animals, the moral sense of conscience is by far the most important.... It is the most noble of all of the attributes of man.
Charles (Robert) Darwin
The Descent of Man 1871, Chapter 4

The average of the world’s greatest civilizations has been about 200 years. The nations have progressed through the following sequence.

From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
From Courage to Liberty
From Liberty to Abundance
From Abundance to Selfishness
From Selfishness to Complacency
From Complacency to Apathy
From Apathy to Dependence
From Dependence back to Bondage.
Sir Alex Fraser Tyler
Scottish Historian, circa 1787 On Athens

Society’s Seven Deadly Sins:

Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Commerce without morality
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Work without sacrifice
Education without character

Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat
French Economist

2. Quotations on Life

This is the seal of the absolute and sublime destiny of man – that he knows what is good and what is evil; that his destiny is his very ability to will either good or evil.
-George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
The Philosophy of History

Always treat others as you would like them to treat you. This is the teaching of the laws of Moses in a nutshell.
-Jesus Christ
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:12)
Living Bible Paraphrase by Tyndale

He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.

When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty, there arises the recognition of ugliness. When they all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil.
The Way of Lao-tzu I

The people’s good is the highest law.
Marcus Tullius Ciciro
De Legibus, III

Tsze-Kung asked, saying “Is there one word which may serve as the rule of practice for all on one’s life” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such as word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
(BK Xv,23)

This is the noble Eightfold way: Namely right view, right intention, right speech, right action, self livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This monks, is a Middle Path, of which the Taghagata (the Buddha) has gained enlightenment, which provides insight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to higher knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana.
-Buddha (Siddhartha Butama) The Sermon at Benares

Wealth and children are the adornment of this present life: but good works, which are lasting are better in the sight of thy Lord as to recompense, and better as to hope
The Koran

I do not understand how someone can elevate himself by suppressing or denigrating another

Understanding is knowing what to do; wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is actually doing it.
Tristan Gylberd

Conscience works best at the individual level, convenience dominates the higher levels of power due to self-interest, ambition, competition and related powerful forces. Only by making conscience convenient can it reach power and dominate. That requires a culture that values conscience through character development and individual responsibility, and passes these values on to children. Civilization must not only transcend generations, but constantly be improved and strengthened for it almost automatically decays if it does not move forward.

Passing on knowledge to the next generation is necessary if values are to prevail. We must understand the three strategic drivers of power - economics, politics, and culutre / media - and how they affect each other to comprehend how civilization operates in a physical sense like computer hardware.

However, it is also necessary to understand the "software" of civilization which is the metaphysical balance. this can best be envisioned as a scale with the cultural ethics as the center point and the culutre of service and discipline within society as the baskets. As above, the more people work to furtherdeals that help each other (faith, courage, liberty, abundance) the more culture of service dominates and the less repression As selfishness (convience) begins to dominate a new trend follows (complacency, apathy, despondence, bondage). The cultural ethics whatever they become are but a concept weighed in one direction or the other by convenience on a grand scale. When they are seldom thought about, they show complacency and apathy have begun.

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