Blogmeme: Page 56 of the Book Nearest You   Leave a comment

Got this from Erich, via Corey.

The rules:

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open the book to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

I read Corey’s post late last night at the dinner table right before I shut down my computer.  In the interest of maintaining blogmeme integrity, I grabbed the nearest book and brought it to work with me today to complete this post (else you’d be getting page 56 of “Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, by Jon Erickson”).  It was a close call; the Virgina Lee Burton collection was closer if I turned clockwise, and the book I grabbed was closer if I turned counterclockwise (actually, there were a few other candidates in the kid’s bookshelf, but the Burton book was the only one with 56+ pages that was close enough to qualify).

I admit, I turned and looked over my left shoulder first on purpose.

From Volume 35: Great Books of the Western World (Locke, Berkeley, Hume), page 56 happens to be a portion of Locke’s “Concerning Civil Government“, Chapter XI: Of the Extent of the Legislative Power.

It is a power that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects; the obligations of the law of Nature cease not in society, but only in many cases are drawn closer, and have, by human laws, known penalties annexed to them to enforce their observation.  Thus the law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others.  The rules that they make for other men’s actions must, as well as their own and other men’s actions, be conformable to the law of Nature – i.e., to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of Nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good or valid against it.

A pretty good Judeo-Christian argument against the validity of the death penalty, right there.  Full of dicey propositions at best from a logical consistency standpoint, but Locke does have a rather stirring voice that’s fun to read.  The guy did write run-on sentences, though… a common problem in the “Great Books” collection.  I guess great thinkers have a tendency to be verbose, don’t they?

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Posted October 7, 2008 by padraic2112 in books, memes

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