. . .

Highlights from Lessons of History: “Probably every vice was once a virtue”

Highly recommended if you’re interested in the broader sweep of human history and seeing patterns and cycles in our behavior as a species.

Netherlands 2020. Best selling cars ranking
Friday October 02, 2020

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Tabella normale”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin-top:0cm;mso-para-margin-right:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;mso-para-margin-left:0cm;line-height:115%;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Netherlands best selling cars ranking in August 2020 was the Kia Niro with 3.4% of market share, followed closely by the Volkswagen Polo with 3.2%. The Opel Corsa registered incredible growth, jumping from 36th position to 5th. The new […]

The post Netherlands 2020. Best selling cars ranking appeared first on Celadon Saigon.

Amazon clocks it at 128 pages, and you can skim most of it, dipping in whenever a particular topic or perspective peaks your interest. Below are some of my favorite excerpts.

Michael Saylor is a bull bull bull – a bunch of notes from his podcast appearances
Tuesday October 20, 2020

Here are some news stories if you’re not familiar with Saylor’s background and recent actions: MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor on His $425M Bitcoin Bet MicroStrategy buys $250M in Bitcoin as CEO says it’s superior to cash MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor Issues Statement He’s even re-directed one of his domains, hope.com, to Microstrategy’s list of curated resources […]

The post Michael Saylor is a bull bull bull – a bunch of notes from his podcast appearances appeared first on Celadon Saigon.

Derek Sivers also shares a bunch of great highlights from the book.


some quirk of character or circumstance may upset national equations, as when Alexander drank himself to death and let his new empire fall apart (323 B.C.), or as when Frederick the Great was saved from disaster by the accession of a Czar infatuated with Prussian ways (1762).

Congo 2020. Auto sales plummet over 50%, all brands report double-digit losses
Monday September 28, 2020

Democratic Republic of Congo vehicles market in 2020 reports a sharp drop in an already suffering market as the pandemic influences sales even further. Indeed, 438 units were sold Year To Date until August, losing 51.9% compared to last year. Toyota  (-45.5%) maintains the leadership, while Hyundai registered the top 10 hold, losing “only” 21.7%. […]

The post Congo 2020. Auto sales plummet over 50%, all brands report double-digit losses appeared first on Celadon Saigon.

When sea power finally gives place to air power in transport and war, we shall have seen one of the basic revolutions in history.

Co-operation is real, and increases with social development, but mostly because it is a tool and form of competition;

Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization.

Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire.

Only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way.

If existing agricultural knowledge were everywhere applied, the planet could feed twice its present population.

Even the children of Ph.D.s must be educated and go through their adolescent measles of errors, dogmas, and isms; nor can we say how much potential ability and genius lurk in the chromosomes of the harassed and handicapped poor.

It is amusing to find Julius Caesar offering (59 B.C.) rewards to Romans who had many children, and forbidding childless women to ride in litters or wear jewelry. Augustus renewed this campaign some forty years later, with like futility.

So the birth rate, like war, may determine the fate of theologies;

American civilization is still in the stage of racial mixture.

by and large the poor have the same impulses as the rich, with only less opportunity or skill to implement them. Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed.

If he is a prophet like Mohammed, wise in the means of inspiring men, his words may raise a poor and disadvantaged people to unpremeditated ambitions and surprising power. A Pasteur, a Morse, an Edison, a Ford, a Wright, a Marx, a Lenin, a Mao Tse-tung are effects of numberless causes, and causes of endless effects.

History in the large is the conflict of minorities; the majority applauds the victor and supplies the human material of social experiment.

So for sixteen centuries the Jewish enclaves in Christendom maintained their continuity and internal peace by a strict and detailed moral code, almost without help from the state and its laws.

If we divide economic history into three stages—hunting, agriculture, industry—we may expect that the moral code of one stage will be changed in the next.

Probably every vice was once a virtue

For fifteen hundred years this agricultural moral code of continence, early marriage, divorceless monogamy, and multiple maternity maintained itself in Christian Europe and its white colonies.

The city offered every discouragement to marriage, but it provided every stimulus and facility for sex.

After the wars of Marius and Sulla, Caesar and Pompey, Antony and Octavius, “Rome was full of men who had lost their economic footing and their moral stability: soldiers who had tasted adventure and had learned to kill; citizens who had seen their savings consumed in the taxes and inflation caused by war;… women dizzy with freedom, multiplying divorces, abortions, and adulteries…. A shallow sophistication prided itself upon its pessimism and cynicism.”

Even our generation has not yet rivaled the popularity of homosexualism in ancient Greece or Rome or Renaissance Italy.

Prostitution has been perennial and universal, from the state-regulated brothels of Assyria to the “night clubs” of West-European and American cities today. In the University of Wittenberg in 1544, according to Luther, “the race of girls is getting bold, and run after the fellows into their rooms and chambers and wherever they can, and offer them their free love.”

We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting—because it is exceptional.

Farinelli providing for the children of Domenico Scarlatti, divers people succoring young Haydn, Conte Litta paying for Johann Christian Bach’s studies at Bologna, Joseph Black advancing money repeatedly to James Watt, Puchberg patiently lending and lending to Mozart. Who will dare to write a history of human goodness?

Politically Rome was at nadir when Caesar came (60 B.C.); yet it did not quite succumb to the barbarians till A.D. 465. May we take as long to fall as did Imperial Rome!

Though the Church served the state, it claimed to stand above all states, as morality should stand above power.

the Church offered itself as an international court to which all rulers were to be morally responsible.

No reconciliation is possible between religion and philosophy except through the philosophers’ recognition that they have found no substitute for the moral function of the Church

If history supports any theology this would be a dualism like the Zoroastrian or Manichaean: a good spirit and an evil spirit battling for control of the universe and men’s souls.

Nature and history do not agree with our conceptions of good and bad; they define good as that which survives, and bad as that which goes under; and the universe has no prejudice in favor of Christ as against Genghis Khan.

The replacement of Christian with secular institutions is the culminating and critical result of the Industrial Revolution. That states should attempt to dispense with theological supports is one of the many crucial experiments that bewilder our brains and unsettle our ways today.

Colleges once allied to churches have been captured by businessmen and scientists. The propaganda of patriotism, capitalism, or Communism succeeds to the inculcation of a supernatural creed and moral code.

One lesson of history is that religion has many lives, and a habit of resurrection. How often in the past have God and religion died and been reborn!

Atheism ran wild in the India of Buddha’s youth, and Buddha himself founded a religion without a god; after his death Buddhism developed a complex theology including gods, saints, and hell.

In our time the strength of the state has united with the several forces listed above to relax faith and morals, and to allow paganism to resume its natural sway. Probably our excesses will bring another reaction; moral disorder may generate a religious revival

Joseph de Maistre answered: “I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be; I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible.”

There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.

Only a few Communist states have not merely dissociated themselves from religion but have repudiated its aid; and perhaps the apparent and provisional success of this experiment in Russia owes much to the temporary acceptance of Communism as the religion

“As long as there is poverty there will be gods.”

The French Revolution came not because Voltaire wrote brilliant satires and Rousseau sentimental romances, but because the middle classes had risen to economic leadership, needed legislative freedom for their enterprise and trade, and itched for social acceptance and political power.

Agriculture becomes an industry, and soon the farmer must choose between being the employee of a capitalist and being the employee of a state.

“the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.”

all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation.

Other factors equal, internal liberty varies inversely as external danger.

but if the Hegelian formula of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is applied to the Industrial Revolution as thesis, and to capitalism versus socialism as antithesis, the third condition would be a synthesis of capitalism and socialism; and to this reconciliation the Western world visibly moves.

Since men love freedom, and the freedom of individuals in society requires some regulation of conduct, the first condition of freedom is its limitation; make it absolute and it dies in chaos.

If we were to judge forms of government from their prevalence and duration in history we should have to give the palm to monarchy; democracies, by contrast, have been hectic interludes.

The complexity of contemporary states seems to break down any single mind that tries to master it.

Aristocracy is not only a nursery of statesmanship, it is also a repository and vehicle of culture, manners, standards, and tastes, and serves thereby as a stabilizing barrier to social fads, artistic crazes, or neurotically rapid changes in the moral code. See what has happened to morals, manners, style, and art since the French Revolution.

Only three generations intervened between “L’état c’est moi” and “Après moi le déluge.”

As the sanity of the individual lies in the continuity of his memories, so the sanity of a group lies in the continuity of its traditions

The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionists are philosophers and saints.

Plato’s reduction of political evolution to a sequence of monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, and dictatorship found another illustration in the history of Rome.

A government that governed least was admirably suited to liberate those individualistic energies that transformed America from a wilderness to a material utopia, and from the child and ward to the rival and guardian of Western Europe. And while rural isolation enhanced the freedom of the individual, national isolation provided liberty and security within protective seas.

Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign.

…though men cannot be equal, their access to education and opportunity can be made more nearly equal.

In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.

The state has our instincts without our restraints. The individual submits to restraints laid upon him by morals and laws, and agrees to replace combat with conference,

“…soon thereafter there will be interplanetary war. Then, and only then, will we of this earth be one.”

History repeats itself in the large because human nature changes with geological leisureliness, and man is equipped to respond in stereotyped ways to frequently occurring situations and stimuli like hunger, danger, and sex.

Probably most states (i.e., societies politically organized) took form through the conquest of one group by another, and the establishment of a continuing force over the conquered by the conqueror

Greek civilization is not really dead; only its frame is gone and its habitat has changed and spread…Homer has more readers now than in his own day and land.

We double, triple, centuple our speed, but we shatter our nerves in the process, and are the same trousered apes at two thousand miles an hour as when we had legs.

We frolic in our emancipation from theology, but have we developed a natural ethic—a moral code independent of religion—strong enough to keep our instincts of acquisition, pugnacity, and sex from debasing our civilization?

Have we really outgrown intolerance, or merely transferred it from religious to national, ideological, or racial hostilities?

Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew;

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.