Love of goodness without love of learning degenerates into simple-mindedness. Love of knowledge without love of learning degenerates into utter lack of principle. Love of faithfulness without love of learning degenerates into injurious disregard of consequences. Love of uprightness without love of learning degenerates into harshness. Love of courage without love of learning degenerates into insubordination. Love of strong character without love of learning degenerates into mere recklessness.
Without an allegiance to beauty, art degenerates into a caricature of itself. It is beauty that animates aesthetic experience, making it so seductive; but aesthetic experience itself degenerates into a kind of fetish or idol if it is held up as an end in itself, untested by the rest of life.
The empiric easily degenerates into the quack. He does not know where his knowledge begins or leaves off, and so when he gets beyond routine conditions he begins to pretend-to make claims for which there is no justification, and to trust to luck and to ability to impose upon others-to "bluff."
In general, in America, every discourse in literature in 15 minutes degenerates into a conversation about ethics, morality and this and that. The Holocaust and the consequences of it. Well, I find it terribly boring, predictable and unimportant, because what matters about literature is esthetic achievement.
An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia to-day.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. ... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
A state too expensive in itself, or by virtue of its dependencies, ultimately falls into decay; its free government is transformed into a tyranny; it disregards the principles which it should preserve, and finally degenerates into despotism. The distinguishing characteristic of small republics is stability: the character of large republics is mutability.
A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When a society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.
I cannot favour laws such as that of Idaho, which allows sterilization of 'mental defectives, epileptics, habitual criminals, moral degenerates, and sex perverts.' The last two categories here are very vague . . . The law of Idaho would have justified the sterilization of Socrates, Plato, Julius Caesar, and St. Paul.
David Simon [the creator of The Wire] and I have a running controversy for years. It all stems from a telephone call I made to KPFA [Pacifica radio] when he was a guest there in the 90's on Chris Welche's show. He was going around the country with a Black kid from the Ghetto to promote something called The Corner - it was all about Blacks as degenerates selling drugs, etc.
The house of representatives ... can make no law, which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as the great mass of society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interest, and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.
I do not want to presuppose anything as known. I see in my explanation in section 1 the definition of the concepts point, straight line and plane, if one adds to these all the axioms of groups i-v as characteristics. If one is looking for other definitions of point, perhaps by means of paraphrase in terms of extensionless, etc., then, of course, I would most decidedly have to oppose such an enterprise. One is then looking for something that can never be found, for there is nothing there, and everything gets lost, becomes confused and vague, and degenerates into a game of hide and seek.
The prejudice of unfounded belief often degenerates into the prejudice of custom, and becomes at last rank hypocrisy. When men, from custom or fashion or any worldly motive, profess or pretend to believe what they do not believe, nor can give any reason for believing, they unship the helm of their morality, and being no longer honest to their own minds they feel no moral difficulty in being unjust to others.
Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility, and the young should not only shun it, but by the most thorough culture relieve themselves from all temptation to indulge in it. It is a low, frivolous, and too often a dirty business. There are country neighborhoods in which it rages like a pest. Churches are split in pieces by it. Neighbors are made enemies by it for life. In many persons it degenerates into a chronic disease, which is practically incurable. Let the young cure it while they may.
J. G. Holland
Prayer is not one of the many things the community does. Rather, it is its very beingBut when prayer is no longer its primary concern, and when its many activities are no longer seen and experienced as part of prayer itself, the community quickly degenerates into a club with a common cause but no common vocation.
If nobody talks about books, if they are not discussed or somehow contended with, literature ceases to be a conversation, ceases to be dynamic. Most of all, it ceases to be intimate. It degenerates into a monologue or a mutter. An unreviewed book is a struck bell that gives no resonance. Without reviews, literature would be oddly mute in spite of all those words on all those pages of all those books. Reviewing makes of reading a participant sport, not a spectator sport.
The loved object is simply one that has shared an experience at the same moment of time, narcissistically; and the desire to be near the beloved object is at first not due to the idea of possessing it, but simply to let the two experiences compare themselves, like reflections in different mirrors. All this may precede the first look, kiss, or touch; precede ambition, pride, or envy; precede the first declarations which mark the turning point""for from here love degenerates into habit, possession, and back to loneliness.
Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way.
Pope Benedict XVI
Self-respect is the very cement of character, without which character will not form nor stand; a personal ideal is the only possible foundation for self-respect, without which self-respect degenerates into vanity or conceit, or is lost entirely, its place being taken by worthlessness and the consciousness of worthlessness; and that is the end of all character. It is often said that if we do not respect ourselves no one else will respect us; this is rather a dangerous way to put it; let us rather say that if we are not worthy of our own respect we cannot claim the respect of others. True self-respect is a matter of being and never of mere seeming. As Paulsen says, "It is vanity that desires first of all to be seen and admired, and then, if possible, really to be something; whereas proper self esteem desires first of all to be something, and' then, if possible, to have its worth recognized.
Edward O. Sisson
The one great advantage of Bhakti is that it is the easiest and most natural way to reach the great divine end in view; it's great disadvantage is that in its lower forms it oftentimes degenerates into hideous fanaticism. The fanatical crew in Hinduism, Mohammedanism, or Christianity, have always been almost exclusively recruited from these worshippers [sic] on the lower planes of Bhakti. That singleness of attachment (Nishthe¢) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of the denunciation of everything else. All the weak and undeveloped minds in every religion or country have only one way of loving their own ideal, i.e., by hating every other ideal. Herein is the explanation of why the same man who is so lovingly attached to his own ideal of God, so devoted to his own ideal of religion, becomes a howling fanatic as soon as he sees or hears anything of any other ideal.
It must be understood that in some cases the process by which a god or goddess degenerates into a fairy may occupy centuries, and that in the passage of generations such an alteration may be brought about in appearance and traits as to make it seem impossible that any relationship actually exists between the old form and the new. This may be accounted for by the circumstance that in gradually assuming the traits of fairyhood the god or goddess may also have taken on the characteristics of fairies which Already existed in the minds of the folk, the elves of a past age, who were already elves at a period when he or she still flourished in the full vigour of godhead. For in one sense Faerie represents a species of limbo, a great abyss of traditional material, into which every kind of ancient belief came to be cast as the acceptance of one new faith after another dictated the abandonment of forms and ideas unacceptable to its doctrines. The difference between god and fairy is indeed the difference between religion and folk-lore.
Your god, sir, is the World. In my eyes, you, too, if not an infidel, are an idolater. I conceive that you ignorantly worship: in all things you appear to me too superstitious. Sir, your god, your great Bel, your fish-tailed Dagon, rises before me as a demon. You, and such as you, have raised him to a throne, put on him a crown, given him a sceptre. Behold how hideously he governs! See him busied at the work he likes best - making marriages. He binds the young to the old, the strong to the imbecile. He stretches out the arm of Mezentius and fetters the dead to the living. In his realm there is hatred - secret hatred: there is disgust - unspoken disgust: there is treachery - family treachery: there is vice - deep, deadly, domestic vice. In his dominions, children grow unloving between parents who have never loved: infants are nursed on deception from their very birth: they are reared in an atmosphere corrupt with lies... All that surrounds him hastens to decay: all declines and degenerates under his sceptre. Your god is a masked Death.
As sinners we are like addicts - addicted to ourselves and our own projects. The theology of glory simply seeks to give those projects eternal legitimacy. The remedy for the theology of glory, therefore, cannot be encouragement and positive thinking, but rather the end of the addictive desire. Luther says it directly: "The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it." So we are back to the cross, the radical intervention, end of the life of the old and the beginning of the new. Since the theology of glory is like addiction and not abstract doctrine, it is a temptation over which we have no control in and of ourselves, and from which we must be saved. As with the addict, mere exhortation and optimistic encouragement will do no good. It may be intended to build up character and self-esteem, but when the addict realizes the impossibility of quitting, self-esteem degenerates all the more. The alcoholic will only take to drinking in secret, trying to put on the facade of sobriety. As theologians of glory we do much the same. We put on a facade of religious propriety and piety and try to hide or explain away or coddle our sins... As with the addict there has to be an intervention, an act from without. In treatment of alcoholics some would speak of the necessity of 'bottoming out, ' reaching the absolute bottom where one can no longer escape the need for help. Then it is finally evident that the desire can never be satisfied, but must be extinguished. In matters of faith, the preaching of the cross is analogous to that intervention. It is an act of God, entirely from without. It does not come to feed the religious desires of the Old Adam and Eve but to extinguish them. They are crucified with Christ to be made new.
Gerhard O. Forde