136. "The absence of choice is a circumstance that is very, very rare."
1. Our collective life experience is that we make choices and decisions every day—on a continual basis. Common sense dictates that humans have free will, and therefore the true absence of choice is very rare.
2. People often claim that life’s circumstances leave them with “no choice”. The fundamental problem with these sorts of claim is that the claimants are only considering those choice that are not viable or attractive.
3. Besides, the contention that we are almost invariably free to choose is far more appealing from a socio-political standpoint than the opposite claim.
137. "What we call progress is a matter of exchanging one problem for another."
1. Industrialization, a great historical progress which has dramatically saved the limited labor force, has brought about environmental problems.
2. Urbanization, another breakthrough in human history, has witnessed a rise in crime rates and disintegration of communities.
3. However, there is no need to be pessimistic about progress.
139. "Every new generation needs to redefine 'right' and 'wrong' in its own terms and according to the conditions of its own time."
1. We should define some new items for better understanding of the development of techniques and enhancing the quality of our life.
2. However, rashness of redefining the terms may cause detrimental effects to our society. Such as the sex liberty in the U.S., which led to dramatic rise in juvenile delinquency.
3. Meanwhile, we should give no doubt to axioms.
141. "Most people recognize the benefits of individuality, but the fact is that personal economic success requires conformity."
Agree with concession
1. Regarding the sort of economic success that results from investing one’s wealth, the principles of investing dictate that those who seek risky investments in areas that are out of favor with the majority of investors ultimately reap higher returns than those who follow the crowd.
2. Turning to the sort of economic success that one achieves by way of one’s work, neither conformists nor non-conformists necessarily achieve greater success than the other group.
3. However, in traditional service industries—such as finance, accounting, insurance, legal services, and health care—personal economic success comes not to non-conformist but rather to those who can work most effectively within the constraints of established practices, policies and regulations.
145. "A crucial test of character is whether one is able to adapt to changing social conventions without sacrificing one's principles."
How to confront changing social conventions is a crucial challenge to one’s character.
1. Those who can adapt to the changing social conventions such as economic climate without sacrificing their principles are more likely to succeed.
2. However, an even more praiseworthy character is one who is willing to change his principles to adapt to the changing situations when those principles are out of date.
146. "People who are the most deeply committed to an idea or policy are the most critical of it."
Critical: Inclined to judge severely and find fault.
While I find this claim paradoxical on its face, the paradox is explainable, and the explanation is well supported empirically. Nevertheless, the claim is an unfair generalization in that it fails to account for other empirical evidence serving to discredit it.
A. Are commitment and criticism mutually exclusive? One possible explanation is that individuals most firmly committed to an idea or policy are often the same people who are most knowledgeable on the subject, and therefore are in the best position to understand and appreciate the problems with the idea or policy.
B. Lending credence to this explanation for the paradoxical nature of the speaker’s claim are the many historical cases of uneasy marriage between commitment to and criticism of the same idea or policy.
C. In the face of historical examples supporting the speaker’s claim are innumerable influential individuals who were zealously committed to certain ideas and policies but who were not critical of them, at least not outwardly.