The thing I got to thinking about, ' he said, 'is-what are the conditions that lead to larger portions of society being generous, humble, and selfless? While we have the conditions for economic opportunity here-and that is a blessing-do we have the conditions to learn how to self-regulate our own passions for the good of the whole?
Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness: first, that beliefs are the result of conditions; second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions; and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.
Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction It is already happening to some extent in our own society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual's internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.
We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.
Let us begin by giving all proper respect to what neuroscience can tell us about ourselves: it reveals some of the most important conditions that are necessary for behavior and awareness. What neuroscience does not do, however, is provide a satisfactory account of the conditions that are sufficient for behavior and awareness... The pervasive yet mistaken idea that neuroscience does fully account for awareness and behavior is neuroscientism, an exercise in science-based faith... This confusion between necessary and sufficient conditions lies behind the encroachment of 'neuroscientistic' discourse on academic work in the humanities...
If a single cell, under appropriate conditions, becomes a man in the space of a few years, there can surely be no difficulty in understanding how, under appropriate conditions, a cell may, in the course of untold millions of years, give origin to the human race.
I am tempted to find reason and justice in the fact that he died as violently and indecently as he lived. But that is too ingenuous a way out. It does not explain Dimitrios; it only apologizes for him. Special sorts of conditions must exist for the creation of the special sort of criminal that he typified... all I do know is that while might is right, while chaos and anarchy masquerade as order and enlightenment, those conditions will obtain.
All organisms vary. It is in the highest degree improbable that any given variety should have exactly the same relations to surrounding conditions as the parent stock. In that case it is either better fitted (when the variation may be called useful), or worse fitted, to cope with them. If better, it will tend to supplant the parent stock; if worse, it will tend to be extinguished by the parent stock. If (as is hardly conceivable) the new variety is so perfectly adapted to the conditions that no improvement upon it is possible, -it will persist, because, though it does not cease to vary, the varieties will be inferior to itself. If, as is more probable, the new variety is by no means perfectly adapted to its conditions, but only fairly well adapted to them, it will persist, so long as none of the varieties which it throws off are better adapted than itself. On the other hand, as soon as it varies in a useful way, i.e. when the variation is such as to adapt it more perfectly to its conditions, the fresh variety will tend to supplant the former.