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Showing posts from January, 2020

Against Ambition

NOTE: citations for this post can be found here.
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Robinson Crusoe begins with a disagreement. Eighteen-year-old Crusoe is full of ambition. He’s determined to leave home and set sail for some faraway continent: Africa, perhaps, or South America. After all, the year is 1650, and the seafaring life promises the quickest route to fame and fortune. But Crusoe’s father is set against it and he pleads with his son to remain at home. One morning, the elder Crusoe calls his son into his chamber. In a final attempt to dissuade his son, he sings the praises of a peaceful life, in which people are not enraged with the passion of envy, or secret burning lust of ambition for great things, but in easy circumstances sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter, feeling that they are happy, and learning by every day’s experience to know it more sensibly.
Crusoe is touched by this speech and he resolves to remain at home. But, al…

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