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His novel suggests that there is no higher destiny for man or beast than to struggle, and win, in the battle for mastery. When Buck enters the wild, he must learn countless lessons in order to survive, and he learns them well. But the novel suggests that his success in the frozen North is not merely a matter of learning the ways of the wild; rather, Buck gradually recovers primitive instincts and memories that his wild ancestors possessed, which have been buried as dogs have become civilized creatures.

The technical term for what happens to Buck is atavism—the reappearance in a modern creature of traits that defined its remote forebears. His connection to his ancestral identity is thus more than instinctual; it is mystical. The civilized world, which seems so strong, turns out to be nothing more than a thin veneer, which is quickly worn away to reveal the ancient instincts lying dormant underneath.

Buck hears the call of the wild, and London implies that, in the right circumstances, we might hear it too. While the two lives that Buck leads stand in stark contrast to each other, this contrast does not go unchallenged throughout the novel. His life with Judge Miller is leisurely, calm, and unchallenging, while his transition to the wilderness shows him a life that is savage, frenetic, and demanding. While it would be tempting to assume that these two lives are polar opposites, events later in the novel show some ways in which both the wild and civilization have underlying social codes, hierarchies, and even laws.


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For example, the pack that Buck joins is not anarchic; the position of lead dog is coveted and given to the most powerful dog. The lead dog takes responsibility for group decisions and has a distinctive style of leadership; the main factor in the rivalry between Buck and Spitz is that Buck sides with the less popular, marginal dogs instead of the stronger ones.

The rules of the civilized and uncivilized worlds are, of course, extremely different—in the wild, many conflicts are resolved through bloody fights rather than through reasoned mediation. Hence are derived greatness of mind and contempt for the vicissitudes of human fortune. Nor does it indicate any feeble force of nature and of reason, that of all animals man alone has a sense of order, and decency, and moderation in action and in speech.

Thus no other animal feels the beauty, elegance, symmetry, of the things that he sees; while by nature and reason, man, transferring these qualities from the eyes to the mind, considers that much more, even, are beauty, consistency, and order to be preserved in purposes and acts, and takes heed that he do nothing indecorous or effeminate, and still more, that in all his thoughts and deeds he neither do nor think anything lascivious. From these elements the right, which is the object of our inquiry, is composed and created; and this, even if it be not ennobled in title, yet is honorable, and even if no one praise it, we truly pronounce it in its very nature worthy of all praise.

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You behold, indeed, my son Marcus, the very form and, as it were, the countenance of the right, which, were it seen by the eyes, as Plato says, would awaken the intensest love of wisdom. But whatever is right springs from one of four sources. It consists either in the perception and skilful treatment of the truth; or in maintaining good-fellowship with men, giving to every one his due, and keeping faith in contracts and promises; or in the greatness and strength of a lofty and unconquered mind; or in the order and measure that constitute moderation and temperance.

For in proportion as one sees clearly what is the inmost and essential truth with regard to any subject, and can demonstrate it with equal acuteness and promptness, he is wont to be regarded, and justly, as of transcendent discretion and wisdom. Therefore truth is submitted to this virtue as the Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] material of which it treats, and with which it is conversant.

But order, and consistency, and moderation, and similar qualities have their scope in affairs that demand not merely the movement of the mind, but some outward action; for it is by bringing to the concerns of daily life a certain method and order that we shall maintain honor and propriety. Of the four heads into which I have divided the nature and force of the right, the first, which consists in the cognizance of truth, bears the closest relation to human nature.

For we are all attracted and drawn to the desire of knowledge and wisdom, in which we deem it admirable to excel, but both an evil and a shame to fail, to be mistaken, to be ignorant, to be deceived. In this quest of knowledge, both natural and right, there are two faults to be shunned, — one, the taking of unknown things for known, and giving our assent to them too hastily, which fault he who wishes to escape and all ought so to wish will give time and diligence to reflect on the subjects proposed for his consideration.

The Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] other fault is that some bestow too great zeal and too much labor on things obscure and difficult, and at the same time useless. These faults being shunned, whatever labor and care may be bestowed on subjects becoming a virtuous mind and worth knowing, will be justly commended. Thus we learn that Caius Sulpicius was versed in astronomy, 1 as I myself knew Sextius Pompeius to be in geometry, 2 as many are in logic, many in civil law, — all which sciences are concerned in the investigation of truth, but by whose pursuit duty will not suffer one to be drawn away from the active management of affairs.

For the reputation of virtue consists wholly in active life, from which, however, there is often a respite, and frequent opportunities are afforded for returning to the pursuit of knowledge. At the same time mental activity, which never ceases, may retain us, without conscious effort, in meditation on the subjects of our study.

But all thought and mental action ought to be occupied either in taking counsel as to the things that are right and that appertain to a good Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] and happy life, or in the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. I have thus spoken of the first source of duty. Of the remaining three heads, the principle which constitutes the bond of human society and of a virtual community of life has the widest scope.

Of this there are two divisions, — justice, in which consists the greatest lustre of virtue, and which those who possess are termed good; and in close alliance with justice, beneficence, which may also be called benignity or liberality. The first demand of justice is, that no one do harm to another, unless provoked by injury; 1 the next, that one use common possessions as common, private, as belonging to their owners. Private possessions, indeed, are not so by nature, but by ancient occupancy, as in the case of settlers in a previously uninhabited region; or by conquest, as in the territory acquired in war; or by law, treaty, agreement, or lot.

Because each person thus has for his own a portion of those Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] things which were common by nature, let each hold undisturbed what has fallen to his possession. If any one endeavors to obtain more for himself, he will violate the law of human society. But since, as it has been well said by Plato, we are not born for ourselves alone; since our country claims a part in us, our parents a part, our friends a part; and since, according to the Stoics, whatever the earth bears is created for the use of men, while men were brought into being for the sake of men, that they might do good to one another, — in this matter we ought to follow nature as a guide, to contribute our part to the common good, and by the interchange of kind offices, both in giving and receiving, alike by skill, by labor, and by the resources at our command, to strengthen the social union of men among men.

But the foundation of justice is good faith, that is, steadfastness and truth in promises and agreements. Hence, though it may seem to some too far-fetched, I may venture to imitate the Stoics in their painstaking inquiry into the origin of words, and to derive faith 1 from the fact corresponding to the promise. Of injustice there are two kinds, — one, that of those who inflict injury; the other, that of those who do not, if they can, repel injury from those on whom Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] it is inflicted.

Moreover, he who, moved by anger or by some disturbance of mind, makes an unjust assault on any person, is as one who lays violent hands on a casual companion; while he who does not, if he can, ward off or resist the injury offered to another, is as much in fault as if he were to desert his parents, or his friends, or his country. Indeed, those injuries which are purposely inflicted for the sake of doing harm, often proceed from fear, he who meditates harm to another apprehending that, if he refrains, he himself may suffer harm. But for the most part men are induced to injure others in order to obtain what they covet; and here avarice is the most frequent motive.

Wealth is sought sometimes for the necessary uses of life, sometimes for indulgence in luxury. In those possessed of a higher order of mind the desire for money is entertained with a view to the increase of the means of influence and the power of generous giving. Thus, not long ago, Marcus Crassus 1 pronounced Edition: current; Page: [ 16 ] no property sufficient for one who meant to hold a foremost place in the republic, unless its income would enable him to support an army.

Others, again, delight in magnificent furniture, and in an elegant and profuse style of living. In all these ways there has come to be an unbounded desire for money. Nor, indeed, is the increase of property, without harm to any one, to be blamed; but wrong-doing for the sake of gain is never to be tolerated.

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Most of all, however, large numbers of persons are led to lose sight of justice by the craving for military commands, civic honors, and fame. The saying of Ennius,. This was recently illustrated by the audacity of Caius Caesar, who overturned all laws, human and divine, to obtain the sovereignty which he had shaped for himself in the vagaries of his fancy. In this respect it is indeed unfortunate that it is, for the most part, in the greatest minds and in men of transcendent genius that the desire for offices civil and military, for power and for fame, is rife.

The more heed, therefore, is to be taken against criminal conduct in this matter. But in every form of injustice it makes a very essential difference whether the wrong be committed in some disturbance of mind, which is generally brief and temporary, or whether it be done advisedly, and with premeditation. For those things which are done from some sudden impulse are more venial than what is done with plan and forethought. Enough has now been said with regard to the infliction of injury.

For omitting to defend the injured, and thus abandoning duty, there are many reasons in current force.

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Men are sometimes unwilling to incur the enmity, or the labor, or the cost involved in such defence; or by mere carelessness, indolence, sloth, or engrossment in pursuits or employments of their own, they are so retarded in their movements as to leave undefended those whom they ought to protect.

It will thus be seen that Plato is not entirely in the right when he says of philosophers, that because they are engaged in the investigation of truth, and because they despise and count as naught what most persons eagerly seek and are always ready to fight with each other for, they are therefore just men. Plato thinks, too, that they will take no part in public Edition: current; Page: [ 18 ] affairs, unless by compulsion. But it were more fitting that they should do this of their own accord; for the very thing which it is right to do, can be termed virtuous only if it be voluntary.

There are, also, those who, either from the over-anxious care of their property or from misanthropic feeling, profess to confine their attention to their own affairs, so as to avoid even the appearance of doing injury to any one. They are free from one kind of injustice: they fall into the other; for they forsake social duty, inasmuch as they bestow upon it neither care, nor labor, nor cost.

Since, then, we have assigned to each of the two kinds of injustice its inducing causes, having previously determined the constituent elements of justice, we shall easily ascertain the specific duty of any particular occasion, unless we be blinded by inordinate self-love.

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Therefore those give good counsel who forbid our doing that as to the equity of which we have any doubt. For equity is self-evident; doubt implies a suspicion of wrong. But there are frequent occasions when those Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] things which are generally regarded as worthy of a just man, and one of good report, such as the restoring of a trust or the fulfilment of a promise, are reversed, and become the opposite of right, and what belongs to truth and good faith seems to change its bearing, so that justice demands its violation.

http://tax-marusa.com/order/zodybaq/logiciel-espion-gratuit-cellulaire.php Here reference is fittingly made to what I have laid down as the fundamental principles of justice, first, that injury should be done to no one, and in the next place, that service should be rendered to the common good. When these principles are modified by circumstances, duty is also modified, and is not always the same. There may perchance be some promise or agreement, the fulfilment of which is harmful to him to whom the promise was made or to him who made it.

Thus, to take an instance from the popular mythology, if Neptune had not kept his promise to Theseus, 1 Theseus would not have been bereft of his son, Hippolytus; for, of the Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] three wishes which Neptune had promised to grant him, the third, as the story runs, was his demand in anger for the death of Hippolytus, the granting of which plunged him into the deepest sorrow. Promises, then, are not to be kept, when by keeping them you do harm to those to whom they are made; nor yet if they injure you more than they benefit him to whom you made them, is it contrary to duty that the greater good should be preferred to the less.

Again, who does not perceive that promises extorted by fear, 2 or obtained by fraud, are not to be kept? Indeed, such promises are made void, in Edition: current; Page: [ 21 ] most cases by praetorian edict, 1 in some by express statutes.


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  4. There are, also, wrongs committed by a sort of chicanery, which consists in a too subtle, and thus fraudulent, interpretation of the right.