91: For Your Consideration (2)

As fors would have it, this morning, while reading a bit in Ruskin’s Lectures in Art, a series of talks which, like The Eagle’s Nest, he wrote for delivery at Oxford in the 1870s, I came across another sentence which I thought might be worthy to designate as “For Your Consideration.” What struck me was the fact that, in just 17 words, he was able, as he well knew when he spoke them, to offer a definition of human nature that was radically opposed to the definition most of his students, living in their brave new Darwinian world, would have been taught, the same Darwinian world, of course, in which we still live today.

Ruskin always held that you should read a book not because you know its author agrees with you, but because you know that she or he may very well disagree with you or offer you unfamiliar ways to think about important things. Such reading, if you take it seriously, forces you to rethink your own thoughts, especially when the discordant ideas or images arrive from the thoughts of someone whom you respect as a serious person, someone whom you know, before saying what she or he says, has given very serious thought to such saying.

And so, “For Your Consideration,” here’s another marvelous sentence (for another, see our previous post):

There are two essential instincts of humanity: the love of order and the love of kindness.


Until next time!


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