I started reading Casanova's Memoirs recently. While his fundamental ethics and the reason why he does things doesn't appeal to me, he certainly had a hell of a lot of adventures.
I thought this quote was quite good -
It is not true that a wish for reward is unworthy of real virtue, and throws a blemish upon its purity. Such a pretension, on the contrary, helps to sustain virtue, man being himself too weak to consent to be virtuous only for his gratification. ... In fact, I do not believe there is an honest man alive without some pretension [for reward], and here is mine.
I like that quote, and think it's a good one. Everyone looks for reward from their virtuous actions - at the very least, the good feeling for having done them. Social status is another commonly sought reward.
I like how Casanova puts it - he puts it right out there in the open that he's comfortable with this and thinks virtue doesn't suffer from the virtuous man wanting to be rewarded. He goes on to say that he thinks people are too weak to keep being virtuous without reward.
I haven't read the book yet, I'm just starting it, but it seems like Casanova was driven by pleasure and hedonism, which is not my way. Certainly, I've had my share of pleasure and hedonism in my life, but even when doing so, I try to have it recharge me and make me stronger, so that I can accomplish more.
But in a sense, Casanova did do some amazing things. Certainly his Memoirs inspired and entertained a lot of people, and serves as a good guide to the history and fashions of the day. He made some contributions to knowledge, and did some good things.
I'm not with his motives, it's not my way, but he seems like someone worth learning more. As for this quote on virtue - well, I think it's brilliant. Yes, seek rewards for your virtue. It doesn't blemish things. It keeps you going on the path - people are too weak to suffer for just virtue and no rewards for long periods of time. Virtuous deeds are virtuous. Virtuous deeds done to receive rewards are virtuous.
I was always pretty frugal with money - I'd spend on good tools, lessons/training/classes for myself (including lots on books), on having unique or developing experiences, and on showing appreciation for people who make me successful. One of my good friends helped me finish an important business deal once that made me a lot of money, and I bought him a plane ticket to Japan to say thanks.
But I never liked spending money on comfort or luxury that doesn't serve a higher purpose. I eat very simply, I sleep simply, I don't need or want much.
Lately though, I've been thinking about how this conflicts with another goal I have - constantly improving my environment. I want every room to better because I was there. And not a little better - a lot better.
I was always a decent tipper, I'd go out of my way to tip great service in particular. But I'm thinking lately I should be an exceptional tipper, even at businesses where I don't want a long term relationship with the establishment.
Not sure why I'm starting to think this way, I'm just starting to think it's correct. I was going through Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics - in particular, there's sections on liberality and magnificence.
The concept of salvation in Islam is a positive achievement as against the negative and barren concept of escapism favored by other religions. This world offers immense scope for development and fulfillment of one’s being and man is endowed with a number of potentialities. By developing these, he reaches his full stature and qualifies for still higher stages awaiting him. His main task in this life is to develop his self by understanding the various aspects of nature and employing them for the development of mankind. Salvation by faith and good deeds are both tied together integrally in Islam. This is the comprehensive Islamic solution to all social disorders. Good deeds are central, notperipheral to the Islamic life and salvation. Islam gives no blank check of salvation to sinners. Individuals have to earn it, work for it, and deserve it, through a commitment to good deeds. Salvation by faith alone, which is preached by some faiths, only massages the ego of the sinner. It promises him theeternal bliss of paradise, without ever acquiring an iota of goodness or doing anything good, thus leaving the victims ofhis sins to the mercy of the society. Islam condemns such behavior and such approaches to salvation. Faith helps a person to formulate his thoughts in a God-conscious manner. No matter how well intentioned one may be, faith or thinking about God is not beneficial to others unless good deeds are produced. Hence, in the Islamic perspective, a combination of faith and good deeds is essential in order to attain salvation.
"If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, andnot the least injustice will be done to them. " [The Qurân, Ch: 4 Al-Nisa’, V: 124]