By Julian W. Connolly
(Studies in Russian and Slavic literatures, cultures and background)
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Additional info for A reader's guide to Nabokov's Lolita
Ethics has to recognize the truth that egoism comes before altruism. This is true for ANIMALS, because animals die out from lack of food when their natural supply of it is insufficient because they have NOT THE CAPACITY TO PRODUCE ARTIFICIALLY. But it is not true for the HUMAN DIMENSION. Why not? Because humans through their time-binding capacity are first of all creators and so their number is not controlled by the supply of unaided nature, but only by men's artificial productivity, which is THE MATERIALIZATION OF THEIR TIME-BINDING CAPACITY.
The problems are infinitely many, and it is necessary to select. Fortunately the solution of a few leads automatically to the solution of many others. Some of the greatest and most far-reaching scientific discoveries have been nothing else than a few correct definitions, a few just concepts and a few true propositions. Such, for example, was the work of Euclid, Newton and Leibnitz-a few correct definitions, a few just concepts, a few true propositions; but these have been extended and multiplied, sometimes by men of creative genius, and often almost automatically by men of merely good sense and fair talent.
The same is true in regard to the getting of animal food, the creation of a water- or windmill, or a steam engine, or the art of using a team of horses, or a bushel of wheat; these are not available except by the use of the human "time-binding" power. This short survey of facts, known to everybody, brings us to the conclusion that all problems of production come ultimately to the analysis of (1) Natural resources of raw material and natural energy, freely supplied by nature, which, as we have seen, in the form as produced by nature alone, have very little or no value for humanity; (2) The activity of the human brain (because human muscles are always directed by the brain) which gives value to the otherwise useless raw materials and energies.