Saint Thomas Aquinas says, wisely, that the only way to drive out a bad passion is by a stronger good passion. The same is true of thoughts as of passions. When your mind wanders, like a child, your will must bring it back, like a mother. [... ] The will-parent must discipline the mind-child, avoiding both the opposite extremes commonly made in disciplining either children or thoughts: tyranny or permissiveness.
Music is more powerful than reason in the soul. That is also why Plato made music the very first step in his long educational curriculum: good music was to create the harmony of soul that would be a ripe field for the higher harmony of reason to take root in later. And that is also why he said that the decay of the ideal state would begin with a decay in music. In fact, one of your obscure modern scholars has shown that social and political revolutions have usually been preceded by musical revolutions, and why another sage said, 'Let me write the songs of a nation and I care not who writes its laws.
What did 'good government' really mean? Langlie and his brotherhood promised an end to political corruption. (There's no evidence that Langlie ever even took a drink, much less a bribe.) The days of 'honest graft' were over, at least for a while. But seen from another perspective-that of ordinary citizens without access to Langlie and Abram's elite network-Langlie didn't so much end corruption as legalize it. Langlie wasn't opposed to a government organized around the interests of the greedy; he just didn't want to have to break the law to serve them.
It was 1976. It was one of the darkest days of my life when that nurse, Mrs. Shimmer, pulled out a maxi pad that measured the width and depth of a mattress and showed us how to use it. It had a belt with it that looked like a slingshot that possessed the jaw-dropping potential to pop a man's head like a gourd. As she stretched the belt between the fingers of her two hands, Mrs. Shimmer told us becoming a woman was a magical and beautiful experience. I remember thinking to myself, You're damn right it had better be magic, because that's what it's going to take to get me to wear something like that, Tinkerbell! It looked like a saddle. Weighed as much as one, too. Some girls even cried. I didn't. I raised my hand. "Mrs. Shimmer, " I asked the cautiously, "so what kind of security napkins do boys wear when their flower pollinates? Does it have a belt, too?" The room got quiet except for a bubbling round of giggles. "You haven't been paying attention, have you?" Mrs. Shimmer accused sharply. "Boys have stamens, and stamens do not require sanitary napkins. They require self control, but you'll learn that soon enough." I was certainly hoping my naughty bits (what Mrs. Shimmer explained to us was like the pistil of a flower) didn't get out of control, because I had no idea what to do if they did.
And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
When it comes down to it, government is simply an abandonment of responsibility on the assumption that there are people, other than ourselves, who really know how to manage things. But the government, run ostensibly for the good of the people, becomes a self-serving corporation. To keep things under control, it proliferates law of ever-increasing complexity and unintelligibility, and hinders productive work by demanding so much accounting on paper that the record of what has been done becomes more important than what has actually been done. [... ] The Taoist moral is that people who mistrust themselves and one another are doomed.