They might insist that they were ready to aid their fellow-apes of the same troop in many ways, to risk their lives for them, and to take charge of their orphans; but they would be forced to acknowledge that disinterested love for all living creatures, the most noble attribute of man, was quite beyond their comprehension.
Noble people don’t do things for the money, they simply have money, and that’s what allows them to be noble. They don’t really have to think about it much; they sprout benevolent acts the way trees sprout leaves.
Nobility is often no more than the inner aspect which our egotistical feelings assume when we have not yet named and classified them.[La générosité n’est souvent que l’aspect intérieur que prennent nos sentiments égoïstes quand nous ne les avons pas encore nommés et classés.]
It’s so easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousands to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence – such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.