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.
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