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“Loving-Kindness Is the Better Part of Goodness.”

Posted Jul 01 2012 8:11am

“Loving-kindness is the better part of goodness.  It lends grace to the sterner qualities of which this consists and makes it a little less difficult to practice those minor virtues of self-control and self-restraint, patience, discipline, and tolerance, which are the passive and not very exhilarating elements of goodness.  Goodness is the only value that seems in this world of appearances to have any claim to be an end in itself.  Virtue is its own reward.  I am ashamed to have reached so commonplace a conclusion…I have gone a long way round to discover what everyone knew already.”

– W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up

For my part, I wouldn’t describe self-control, self-restraint, patience, discipline, and tolerance as “minor virtues.” They seem major to me. What do you think?

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