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      • South Korea
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    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 225

    What does it mean?

    Hi, please help my reading. I have two sentences I don't understand..

    I would appreciated if you explain the meaning. Thank You.

    1. Nothing can be great, the contempt of which is great .

    2. There remain some truths too ephemeral to be captured in the cold pages of a court transcript” (Irving R. Kaufman).

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: What does it mean?

    The first quote Nothing can be great, the contempt of which is great. [It is great to despise riches. These cannot therefore be great] is from Longinus, and it's used in Modern Chivalry by Hugh Henry Brackenridge:
    There is nothing that a wise man need fear, but dishonor, founded on the charge of a want of virtue; on that which all men, of all places, and of all times, will acknowledge to be disreputable. Under this head, will not be found the refusal of a challenge. Nothing can be great, the contempt of which, is great. Is it not great to despise prejudice, and false opinion?

    Samuel Johnson on virtue, using the same quote from Longinus, explains:
    Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing which reason condemns can be suitable to the dignity of the human mind. To be driven by external motives from the path which our heart approves, to give way to any thing but conviction, to suffer the opinion of others to rule our choice or overpower our resolves, is to submit tamely to the lowest and most ignominious slavery, and to resign the right of directing our own lives.

    Hope that helps.


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