First Blood

It was a day like any other, but I was abnormally happy. I was around ten years old at the time, and my mom had agreed to buy me a set of ping-pong racquets and ball. I wasn’t so sure who I’d play with, because I’ve never had many friends and the ones I had didn’t have a table for playing it. But I was indeed happy.

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Letter to a Friend: On Family

My friend,

I never got a chance to tell you this, but I do it now because I think you should listen. I’ve thought about it because of my mother, who is dying in a hospital. I’ve thought about it because of my daughter, who is starting her life. And I write to you because of your wife and your son — because of you. I write to you because of your family.

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The Story of Civilization: Moral Elements – Marriage

“Marriage was a profitable partnership, not a private debauch; it was a way whereby a man and a woman, working together, might be more prosperous than if each worked alone. Wherever, in the history of civilization, woman has ceased to be an economic asset in marriage, marriage has decayed; and sometimes civilization has decayed with it.”
Will Durant, “Our Oriental Heritage”, page 44.
(A family composed of the father, the mother, and their children: a rare institution today.)

SUMMARY: Civilization needs morals as well as marriage, an institution that went a long way from the nationalization of women and the prevailing property-motivated polygamy, up to our current fashion of romantic monogamy.

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Damn you, Epictetus!

I watch my mother lying in the hospital bed and I curse Epictetus. He says we have to be indifferent to indifferent things. He says indifferent things are pain, disease, death, and all that are beyond our control, all that don’t stem from our own actions and deeds. It is useless to fight God’s designs, so all we should do is behave and go with the flow, setting down into a serene resignation toward life’s hardships. We are supposed to think objectively about all that happen in our lives, striving to be just in our actions, performing our duties as rational men, fulfilling our role as divine creatures. In sum, he wants me to not give a fuck about my own mother’s approaching death — and that enrages me.

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The Story of Civilization: Political Elements – The Family

“Marriage began as a form of the law of property, as a part of the institution of slavery.”
Will Durant, “Our Oriental Heritage”, page 26.
(Chinese woman exposing her “lotus feet”, a common practice of binding — and deforming — women’s feet during imperial China, from the tenth to the twentieth centuries. Legend has it that the goal was to increase the status and beauty of women.)

SUMMARY: Even after the advent of the state, the family continues to be the basic political unit of society, but the woman, whose position was central to the family, becomes increasingly subordinate to man as agriculture and property develop.

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