Wayward Paths

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.
— Oscar Wilde

Civilization is a strange pickle.  It is built upon lies that create an illusion of truth.  It provides security and quite often acts as a prison.  It is something that we love and love to hate.  It is our mirror until we see something we don't like and then we break it only to forge a new one that correctly answers the question: who is the fairest of them all?

If I were to disagree with Oscar Wilde regarding his quote, I would just flip it on its head:  "Individuals exist only as a mental concept;  in the real world there are only civilizations."


Let us be moral. Let us contemplate existence.
— Charles Dickens

This quote, from Dickens' book "Martin Chuzzlewit", is dangerous because it is taken out of context. I have not read the book, so I can't hazard to guess, within the context, what its full meaning is. Of course, there is no assurance that Dickens himself could answer this. We, far too often, believe the author is writing non-fiction. A good writer lives inside the story and can, therefore, feel it and describe it, but not necessarily know it.

However, I like this quote because it presupposes, like many of the educated elite do, that moral superiority is what leads to a greater understanding of existence. My question would be: Why do we need to be moral in order to comprehend existence? Perhaps, this is what blocks us from truly understanding our world for it is far from moral.