Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people's lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it.
. . . a hermitage, which is about an acre of ground - an island, planted with all variety of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in this country, abundance of little winding walks, differently embellished with little seats and banks; in the midst is place a hermit's cell, made of the roots of trees, the floor is paved with pebbles, there is a couch made of matting, and little wooden stools, a table with a manuscript on it, a pair of spectacles, a leathern bottle; and hung up in different parts, an hourglass, a weatherglass and several mathematical instruments, a shelf of books, another of wood platters and bowls, another of earthen ones, in short everything that you might imagine necessary for a recluse.
Mrs. Delany (? - 1788)
Source: Caroline Gearey, Royal Friendships; The Story of Two Royal Friendships . . . London, 1898
Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, converses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated.
In all places where there is a Summer and a Winter, and where your Gardens of pleasure are sometimes clothed with their verdant garments, and bespangled with variety of Flowers, and at other times wholly dismantled of all these; here to recompense the loss of past pleasures, and to buoy up their hopes of another Spring, many have placed in their Gardens, Statues, and Figures of several Animals, and great variety of other curious pieces of Workmanship, that their walks might be pleasant at any time in those places of never dying pleasures.
Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers of the modern era, also presaged the feasibility of an evolutionary theory: The agreement of so many kinds of animals in a certain common structure, which seems to be fundamental not only in their skeletons, but also in the arrangement of the other parts - so that a wonderfully simple typical form, by the shortening and lengthening of some parts, and by the suppression and development of others, might be able to produce an immense variety of species - allows a ray of hope, however faint, to enter our minds, that here perhaps some result may be obtained, by the application of the principle of the mechanism of nature (without which there can be no natural science in general). This analogy of forms, which with all their differences seem to have been produced in accordance with a common prototype, strengthens our suspicions of an actual blood-relationship between them in their derivation from a common parent through the gradual approximation of one class of animals to another - beginning with the one in which the principle of purposiveness seems to be best authenticated, ie. man, and extending down to the polyps, and from these even down to mosses and lichens, and arriving finally at raw matter, the lowest stage of nature observable by us.
It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that ensures your growth.
Fact of the matter is, there is no hip world, there is no straight world. There's a world, you see, which has people in it who believe in a variety of different things. Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence.