Ash Wednesday Reflection

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

The Theory of Moral SentimentsThe Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"And hence it is, that to feel much for others, and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent, affections constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety."

An enjoyable read--Smith is a clear thinker and good writer, even if he can go on too long about some points--mostly because it is a window on such a different age with quite different moral concerns. Propriety is the primary path to virtue. We should care deeply about how others think of us. The path to right behavior is to act in such a way that society approves of us. And while we should openly share our sentiments, we don't want to overreact because that is unseemly and unmanly. Reading this helps to explain aspects of the British character!

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