Mill on Perfectability

John Stuart Mill, in 1828, gave a speech in favor of "Perfectability" — the notion that "mankind [is] capable of great improvement", that Society writ large can get better. In an oft-quoted bit near the beginning he says, "I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large clan of persons as a sage, and wisdom is supposed to consist not in seeing further than other people, but in not seeing so far."

Nicely said! But more important than the humorous mocking of selfish cynics (of which there is much more), Mill's point is that civilization's progress comes from:

And, he notes, we still have a long way to go ...

(cf. "Speech on Perfectability", Human Nature (1999-02-05), Worth of a State (2008-04-02), ...) - ^z - 2017-12-23