Example Of Philosophy In Life Quotes

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Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Crack-Up)
It was both odd and unjust, a real example of pitiful arbitrariness of existance, that you were born into a particular time & held prisoner there whether you wanted it or not. It gave you an indecent advantage over the past and made you a clown vis-a-vis the future.
Daniel Kehlmann
You don't have to be a billionaire to believe you can make a difference. Give your resources to a charity and volunteer in your community.
Germany Kent
We don't really want to get what we think that we want. I am married to a wife and relationship with her are cold and I have a mistress. And all the time I dream oh my god if my wife were to disappear - I'm not a murderer but let us say- that it will open up a new life with the mistress.Then, for some reason, the wife goes away, you lose the mistress. You thought this is all I want, when you have it there, you turn out it was a much more complex situation. It was not to live with the mistress, but to keep her as a distance as on object of desire about which you dream. This is not an excessive example, I claim this is how things function. We don't really want what we think we desire
Slavoj Žižek
Paine suffered then, as now he suffers not so much because of what he wrote as from the misinterpretations of others... He disbelieved the ancient myths and miracles taught by established creeds. But the attacks on those creeds - or on persons devoted to them - have served to darken his memory, casting a shadow across the closing years of his life. When Theodore Roosevelt termed Tom Paine a 'dirty little atheist' he surely spoke from lack of understanding. It was a stricture, an inaccurate charge of the sort that has dimmed the greatness of this eminent American. But the true measure of his stature will yet be appreciated. The torch which he handed on will not be extinguished. If Paine had ceased his writings with 'The Rights of Man' he would have been hailed today as one of the two or three outstanding figures of the Revolution. But 'The Age of Reason' cost him glory at the hands of his countrymen - a greater loss to them than to Tom Paine. I was always interested in Paine the inventor. He conceived and designed the iron bridge and the hollow candle; the principle of the modern central draught burner. The man had a sort of universal genius. He was interested in a diversity of things; but his special creed, his first thought, was liberty. Traducers have said that he spent his last days drinking in pothouses. They have pictured him as a wicked old man coming to a sorry end. But I am persuaded that Paine must have looked with magnanimity and sorrow on the attacks of his countrymen. That those attacks have continued down to our day, with scarcely any abatement, is an indication of how strong prejudice, when once aroused, may become. It has been a custom in some quarters to hold up Paine as an example of everything bad. The memory of Tom Paine will outlive all this. No man who helped to lay the foundations of our liberty - who stepped forth as the champion of so difficult a cause - can be permanently obscured by such attacks. Tom Paine should be read by his countrymen. I commend his fame to their hands. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. It is not religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a “way of liberation,” and is similar in this respect to Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. As will soon be obvious, a way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
The kind of people I absolutely cannot tolerate are those who never let you forget they are religious. It seems to me that a truly religious person would let his life be example enough, would not let his religion interfere with being a human being, and would not be so insecure as to have to fawn publicly before his gods.
W.P. Kinsella
If you are not an exception, try to be the example.
. . . most martial artists want to know how A technique is done, A seasoned Sensei will demonstrate why
Soke Behzad Ahmadi (Dirty Fighting : Lethal Okinawan Karate)
A non-religious man today ignores what he considers sacred but, in the structure of his consciousness, could not be without the ideas of being and the meaningful. He may consider these purely human aspects of the structure of consciousness. What we see today is that man considers himself to have nothing sacred, no god; but still his life has a meaning, because without it he could not live; he would be in chaos. He looks for being and does not immediately call it being, but meaning or goals; he behaves in his existence as if he had a kind of center. He is going somewhere, he is doing something. We do not see anything religious here; we just see man behaving as a human being. But as a historian of religion, I am not certain that there is nothing religious here… I cannot consider exclusively what that man tells me when he consciously says, ‘I don’t believe in God; I believe in history,’ and so on. For example, I do not think that Jean-Paul Sartre gives all of himself in his philosophy, because I know that Sartre sleeps and dreams and likes music and goes to the theater. And in the theater he gets into a temporal dimension in which he no longer lives his ‘moment historique.’ There he lives in quite another dimension. We live in another dimension when we listen to Bach. Another experience of time is given in drama. We spend two hours at a play, and yet the time represented in the play occupies years and years. We also dream. This is the complete man. I cannot cut this complete man off and believe someone immediately when he consciously says that he is not a religious man. I think that unconsciously, this man still behaves as the ‘homo religiosus,’ has some source of value and meaning, some images, is nourished by his unconscious, by the imaginary universe of the poems he reads, of the plays he sees; he still lives in different universes. I cannot limit his universe to that purely self-conscious, rationalistic universe which he pretends to inhabit, since that universe is not human.
Mircea Eliade
Extend your hand to help others and be an example.
Debasish Mridha
Be an example, be kind and be simple.
Debasish Mridha
The Master, by residing in the Tao, sets an example for all beings. Because he doesn't display himself, people can see his light. Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words. Because he doesn't know who he is, people recognize themselves in him. Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds.
Lao Tzu
A beast of prey tamed and in captivity — every zoological garden can furnish examples — is mutilated, world-sick, inwardly dead. Some of them voluntarily hunger-strike when they are captured. Herbivores give up nothing in being domesticated.
Oswald Spengler (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life)
A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.
Niccolò Machiavelli
to express our dream about life in words is not easy but to show it with an example will surprise a lot of people and give them a shock.
Jan Jansen
Be an example of life that you think that everybody should follow.
Debasish Mridha
My life and deed is my example.
Debasish Mridha
Be an example; don’t be a critic with sample.
Debasish Mridha
Be an example, not an adviser.
Debasish Mridha
I see things in windows and I say to myself that I want them. I want them because I want to belong. I want to be liked by more people, I want to be held in higher regard than others. I want to feel valued, so I say to myself to watch certain shows. I watch certain shows on the television so I can participate in dialogues and conversations and debates with people who want the same things I want. I want to dress a certain way so certain groups of people are forced to be attracted to me. I want to do my hair a certain way with certain styling products and particular combs and methods so that I can fit in with the In-Crowd. I want to spend hours upon hours at the gym, stuffing my body with what scientists are calling 'superfoods', so that I can be loved and envied by everyone around me. I want to become an icon on someone's mantle. I want to work meaningless jobs so that I can fill my wallet and parentally-advised bank accounts with monetary potential. I want to believe what's on the news so that I can feel normal along with the rest of forever. I want to listen to the Top Ten on Q102, and roll my windows down so others can hear it and see that I am listening to it, and enjoying it. I want to go to church every Sunday, and pray every other day. I want to believe that what I do is for the promise of a peaceful afterlife. I want rewards for my 'good' deeds. I want acknowledgment and praise. And I want people to know that I put out that fire. I want people to know that I support the war effort. I want people to know that I volunteer to save lives. I want to be seen and heard and pointed at with love. I want to read my name in the history books during a future full of clones exactly like me. The mirror, I've noticed, is almost always positioned above the sink. Though the sink offers more depth than a mirror, and mirror is only able to reflect, the sink is held in lower regard. Lower still is the toilet, and thought it offers even more depth than the sink, we piss and shit in it. I want these kind of architectural details to be paralleled in my every day life. I want to care more about my reflection, and less about my cleanliness. I want to be seen as someone who lives externally, and never internally, unless I am able to lock the door behind me. I want these things, because if I didn't, I would be dead in the mirrors of those around me. I would be nothing. I would be an example. Sunken, and easily washed away.
Dave Matthes
The limits of science have always been the source of bitter disappointment when people expected something from science that it was not able to provide. Take the following examples: a man without faith seeking to find in science a substitute for his faith on which to build his life; a man unsatisfied by philosophy seeking an all-embracing universal truth in science; a spiritually shallow person growing aware of his own futility in the course of engaging in the endless reflections imposed by science. In every one of these cases, science begins as an object of blind idolatry and ends up as an object of hatred and contempt. Disenchantment inevitably follows upon these and similar misconceptions. One question remains: What value can science possibly have when its limitations have become so painfully clear?
Karl Jaspers (The Idea of the University)
Algorithm’ is arguably the single most important concept in our world. If we want to understand our life and our future, we should make every effort to understand what an algorithm is, and how algorithms are connected with emotions. An algorithm is a methodical set of steps that can be used to make calculations, resolve problems and reach decisions. An algorithm isn’t a particular calculation, but the method followed when making the calculation. For example, if you want to calculate the average between two numbers, you can use a simple algorithm. The algorithm says: ‘First step: add the two numbers together. Second step: divide the sum by two.’ When you enter the numbers 4 and 8, you get 6. When you enter 117 and 231, you get 174.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: ‘An intoxicating brew of science, philosophy and futurism’ Mail on Sunday)
I am loving. I am caring. I am inspiring. I am daring. I am always kind. I have peace of mind. I am worthy of trust. I am true and just. I am compassionate. I am passionate. I am a seeker. I am a giver. I am very simple. I am an example.
Debasish Mridha
Eternal life, according to some theologians, for example, Dean Inge, does not mean existence throughout every moment of future time, but a mode of being wholly independent of time, in which there is no before and after, and therefore no logical possibility of change.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy: And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day)
Wonder, the mental state of openness, questioning, curiosity, and embracing mystery, arises out of experiences of awe. In our studies, people who find more everyday awe show evidence of living with wonder. They are more open to new ideas. To what is unknown. To what language can’t describe. To the absurd. To seeking new knowledge. To experience itself, for example of sound, or color, or bodily sensation, or the directions thought might take during dreams or meditation. To the strengths and virtues of other people. It should not surprise that people who feel even five minutes a day of everyday awe are more curious about art, music, poetry, new scientific discoveries, philosophy, and questions about life and death. They feel more comfortable with mysteries, with that which cannot be explained.
Dacher Keltner (Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life)
You can apply this simplification-by-restriction philosophy more broadly by automating as much of your life as possible. Automation restricts your options by eradicating decision points. Instead of choosing between a set of options, for example, you pursue a default option.
Adam Alter (Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most)
One does not ask about one's true identity simply as a matter of course, but only in rather special circumstances. What this means, I believe, is that "who I really am" becomes an issue for me only when my system of values "breaks down," that is, only when I realize that the values according to which I have lived until now are insufficient to inform a life that I can recognize as satisfying. This realization can occur in variety of circumstances: when my beliefs about myself or the world undergo significant change; when I find that two of my values conflict in a fundamental way; or when, as in the present example, the relations among my previous commitments are insufficiently determinate to tell me what to do in the particular situation I face.
Frederick Neuhouser (Fichte's Theory of Subjectivity (Modern European Philosophy))
Martians have a win/lose philosophy—I want to win, and I don’t care if you lose. As long as each Martian took care of himself this formula worked fine. It worked for centuries, but now it needed to be changed. Giving primarily to themselves was no longer as satisfying. Being in love, they wanted the Venusians to win as much as themselves. In most sports today we can see an extension of this Martian competitive code. For example, in tennis I not only want to win but also try to make my friend lose by making it difficult for him to return my shots. I enjoy winning even though my friend loses. Most of these Martian attitudes have a place in life, but this win/lose attitude becomes harmful in our adult relationships. If I seek to fulfill my own needs at the expense of my partner, we are sure to experience unhappiness, resentment, and conflict. The secret of forming a successful relationship is for both partners to win.
John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex)
If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find at work the same process of simplification or selection as in the imagination. Artistic accounts include severe abbreviations of what reality will force upon us. A travel book may tell us, for example, that the narrator journeyed through the afternoon to reach the hill town of X and after a night in its medieval monastery awoke to a misty dawn. But we never simply 'journey through an afternoon'. We sit in a train. Lunch digests awkwardly within us. The seat cloth is grey. We look out the window at a field. We look back inside. A drum of anxieties resolves in our consciousness. We notice a luggage label affixed to a suitcase in a rack above the seats opposite. We tap a finger on the window ledge. A broken nail on an index finger catches a thread. It starts to rain. A drop wends a muddy path down the dust-coated window. We wonder where our ticket might be. We look back at the field. It continues to rain. At last, the train starts to move. It passes an iron bridge, after which it inexplicably stops. A fly lands on the window And still we may have reached the end only of the first minute of a comprehensive account of the events lurking within the deceptive sentence 'He journeyed through the afternoon'. A storyteller who provides us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearking us out with repetitions, misleading emphases[,] and inconsequential plot lines. It insists on showing us Burdak Electronics, the safety handle in the car, a stray dog, a Christmas card[,] and a fly that lands first on the rim and then the centre of a laden ashtray. Which explains the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality. The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
Another kind of transcendence myth has been dramatization of human life in terms of conflict and vindication. This focuses upon the situation of oppression and the struggle for liberation. It is a short-circuited transcendence when the struggle against oppression becomes an end in itself, the focal point of all meaning. There is an inherent contradiction in the idea that those devoted to a cause have found their whole meaning in the struggle, so that the desired victory becomes implicitly an undesirable meaninglessness. Such a truncated vision is one of the pitfalls of theologies of the oppressed. Sometimes black theology, for example that of James Cone, resounds with a cry for vengeance and is fiercely biblical and patriarchal. It transcends religion as a crutch (the separation and return of much old-fashioned Negro spirituality) but tends to settle for being religion as a gun. Tailored to fit only the situation of racial oppression, it inspires a will to vindication but leaves unexplored other dimensions of liberation. It does not get beyond the sexist models internalized by the self and controlling society — models that are at the root of racism and that perpetuate it. The Black God and the Black Messiah apparently are merely the same patriarchs after a pigmentation operation — their behavior unaltered.
Mary Daly (Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation)
I bring peace in the world, When I am an example of peace. When I love without condition. When I am the symbol of justice. When I can see people without prejudice. When I plant trees with great love. When I love the nature and take care. When I see no difference between you and me. When I am the symbol of compassion, care, and love.
Debasish Mridha
What is true pleasure? It depends primarily on the given situation. For example, drinking fresh water is true pleasure for someone in the desert.
Eraldo Banovac
To the horror of those who can genuinely claim to have suffered from its effects, alienation has proved a highly profitable commodity in the cultural marketplace. Modernist art with its dissonances and torments, to take one example, has become the staple diet of an increasingly voracious army of culture consumers who know good investments when they see them. The avant-garde, if indeed the term can still be used, has become an honored ornament of our cultural life, less to be feared than feted. The philosophy of existentialism, to cite another case, which scarcely a generation ago seemed like a breath of fresh air, has now degenerated into a set of easily manipulated clichés and sadly hollow gestures. This decline occurred, it should be noted, not because analytic philosophers exposed the meaninglessness of its categories, but rather as a result of our culture’s uncanny ability to absorb and defuse even its most uncompromising opponents.
Martin Jay (The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School & the Institute of Social Research, 1923-50)
...Although the term Existentialism was invented in the 20th century by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel, the roots of this thought go back much further in time, so much so, that this subject was mentioned even in the Old Testament. If we take, for example, the Book of Ecclesiastes, especially chapter 5, verses 15-16, we will find a strong existential sentiment there which declares, 'This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?' The aforementioned book was so controversial that in the distant past there were whole disputes over whether it should be included in the Bible. But if nothing else, this book proves that Existential Thought has always had its place in the centre of human life. However, if we consider recent Existentialism, we can see it was the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who launched this movement, particularly with his book Being and Nothingness, in 1943. Nevertheless, Sartre's thought was not a new one in philosophy. In fact, it goes back three hundred years and was first uttered by the French philosopher René Descartes in his 1637 Discours de la Méthode, where he asserts, 'I think, therefore I am' . It was on this Cartesian model of the isolated ego-self that Sartre built his existential consciousness, because for him, Man was brought into this world for no apparent reason and so it cannot be expected that he understand such a piece of absurdity rationally.'' '' Sir, what can you tell us about what Sartre thought regarding the unconscious mind in this respect, please?'' a charming female student sitting in the front row asked, listening keenly to every word he had to say. ''Yes, good question. Going back to Sartre's Being and Nothingness it can be seen that this philosopher shares many ideological concepts with the Neo-Freudian psychoanalysts but at the same time, Sartre was diametrically opposed to one of the fundamental foundations of psychology, which is the human unconscious. This is precisely because if Sartre were to accept the unconscious, the same subject would end up dissolving his entire thesis which revolved around what he understood as being the liberty of Man. This stems from the fact that according to Sartre, if a person accepts the unconscious mind he is also admitting that he can never be free in his choices since these choices are already pre-established inside of him. Therefore, what can clearly be seen in this argument is the fact that apparently, Sartre had no idea about how physics, especially Quantum Mechanics works, even though it was widely known in his time as seen in such works as Heisenberg's The Uncertainty Principle, where science confirmed that first of all, everything is interconnected - the direct opposite of Sartrean existential isolation - and second, that at the subatomic level, everything is undetermined and so there is nothing that is pre-established; all scientific facts that in themselves disprove the Existential Ontology of Sartre and Existentialism itself...
Anton Sammut (Paceville and Metanoia)
We therefore conclude that no philosophy and no system of life produced by human thought can have the characteristic of "comprehensiveness." At most, it can cover a segment of human life and can be valid for a temporary period. Because of its limited scope, it is always deficient in many respects, and because of its temporariness it is bound to cause problems that require modifications and changes in the original philosophy or system of life. Peoples and nations basing their social, political, and economic systems on human philosophies are forever confronted with contradictions and "dialectics." The history of European peoples is an example of such a process.
Sayed Qutb
A man opposite me shifted his feet, accidentally brushing his foot against mine. It was a gentle touch, barely noticeable, but the man immediately reached out to touch my knee and then his own chest with the fingertips of his right hand, in the Indian gesture of apology for an unintended offence. In the carriage and the corridor beyond, the other passengers were similarly respectful, sharing, and solicitous with one another. At first, on that first journey out of the city into India, I found such sudden politeness infuriating after the violent scramble to board the train. It seemed hypocritical for them to show such deferential concern over a nudge with a foot when, minutes before, they'd all but pushed one another out of the windows. Now, long years and many journeys after that first ride on a crowded rural train, I know that the scrambled fighting and courteous deference were both expressions of the one philosophy: the doctrine of necessity. The amount of force and violence necessary to board the train, for example, was no less and no more than the amount of politeness and consideration necessary to ensure that the cramped journey was as pleasant as possible afterwards. What is necessary! That was the unspoken but implied and unavoidable question everywhere in India. When I understood that, a great many of the characteristically perplexing aspects of public life became comprehensible: from the acceptance of sprawling slums by city authorities, to the freedom that cows had to roam at random in the midst of traffic; from the toleration of beggars on the streets, to the concatenate complexity of the bureaucracies; and from the gorgeous, unashamed escapism of Bollywood movies, to the accommodation of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Tibet, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, and Bangladesh, in a country that was already too crowded with sorrows and needs of its own. The real hypocrisy, I came to realise, was in the eyes and minds and criticisms of those who came from lands of plenty, where none had to fight for a seat on a train. Even on that first train ride, I knew in my heart that Didier had been right when he'd compared India and its billion souls to France. I had an intuition, echoing his thought, that if there were a billion Frenchmen or Australians or Americans living in such a small space, the fighting to board the train would be much more, and the courtesy afterwards much less. And in truth, the politeness and consideration shown by the peasant farmers, travelling salesmen, itinerant workers, and returning sons and fathers and husbands did make for an agreeable journey, despite the cramped conditions and relentlessly increasing heat. Every available centimetre of seating space was occupied, even to the sturdy metal luggage racks over our heads. The men in the corridor took turns to sit or squat on a section of floor that had been set aside and cleaned for the purpose. Every man felt the press of at least two other bodies against his own. Yet there wasn't a single display of grouchiness or bad temper
Gregory David Roberts
If someone is trying to sell you with only past credentials and older accolades without including present examples and up to date proof, you might be dealing with someone that is sharing expired information and does not have the up to date knowledge to help you.
Loren Weisman
If Samkhya-Yoga philosophy does not explain the reason and origin of the strange partnership between the spirit and experience, at least tries to explain the nature of their association, to define the character of their mutual relations. These are not real relationships, in the true sense of the word, such as exist for example between external objects and perceptions. The true relations imply, in effect, change and plurality, however, here we have some rules essentially opposed to the nature of spirit. “States of consciousness” are only products of prakriti and can have no kind of relation with Spirit the latter, by its very essence, being above all experience. However and for SamPhya and Yoga this is the key to the paradoxical situation the most subtle, most transparent part of mental life, that is, intelligence (buddhi) in its mode of pure luminosity (sattva), has a specific quality that of reflecting Spirit. Comprehension of the external world is possible only by virtue of this reflection of purusha in intelligence. But the Self is not corrupted by this reflection and does not lose its ontological modalities (impassibility, eternity, etc.). The Yoga-sutras (II, 20) say in substance: seeing (drashtri; i.e., purusha) is absolute consciousness (“sight par excellence”) and, while remaining pure, it knows cognitions (it “looks at the ideas that are presented to it”). Vyasa interprets: Spirit is reflected in intelligence (buddhi), but is neither like it nor different from it. It is not like intelligence because intelligence is modified by knowledge of objects, which knowledge is ever-changing whereas purusha commands uninterrupted knowledge, in some sort it is knowledge. On the other hand, purusha is not completely different from buddhi, for, although it is pure, it knows knowledge. Patanjali employs a different image to define the relationship between Spirit and intelligence: just as a flower is reflected in a crystal, intelligence reflects purusha. But only ignorance can attribute to the crystal the qualities of the flower (form, dimensions, colors). When the object (the flower) moves, its image moves in the crystal, though the latter remains motionless. It is an illusion to believe that Spirit is dynamic because mental experience is so. In reality, there is here only an illusory relation (upadhi) owing to a “sympathetic correspondence” (yogyata) between the Self and intelligence.
Mircea Eliade (Yoga: Immortality and Freedom)
For believers to "follow Jesus" implies, among other things, adopting the same attitude towards God's Word as Jesus had. Becoming like Christ involves accepting his example as one who reads the Bible. It means defining ourselves and our purpose in life in light of the Bible. Following Christ also means practicing what the Bible says. Simply put, we cannot truthfully say that we are followers of Jesus if we neglect or refuse to obey what the Bible tells us, or if we use it in self-serving ways that are not what God originally intended.
Ray Lubeck (Read the Bible for a Change: Understanding and Responding to God's Word)
Aging makes you think about philosophy and religion, and whether they have value. It's a framework for morality. [...] The only way we live on at all is through the works we leave behind, but more through example. Example is the see that can be propagated through generations. - Elizabeth Jane Howard
Ellen Warner (The Second Half: Forty Women Reveal Life After Fifty)
Hume saw clearly that certain concepts, for example that of causality, cannot be deduced from our perceptions of experience by logical methods,” Einstein noted. A version of this philosophy, sometimes called positivism, denied the validity of any concepts that went beyond descriptions of phenomena that we directly experience.
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
For what does it mean to look at something, a real object in the real world, an animal, for example, and say that it is something other than what it is? It is to say that each thing leads a double life, at once in the world and in our minds, and that to deny either one of these lives is to kill the thing in both its lives at once.
Paul Auster (The Invention of Solitude)
If there is to be toleration in the world, one of the things taught in schools must be the habit of weighing evidence, and the practice of not giving full assent to propositions which there is no reason to believe true. For example, the art of reading the newspapers should be taught. The schoolmaster should select some incident which happened a good many years ago, and roused political passions in its day. 41 He should then read to the school children what was said by the newspapers on one side, what was said by those on the other, and some impartial account of what really happened. He should show how, from the biased account of either side, a practised reader could infer what really happened, and he should make them understand that everything in newspapers is more or less untrue. The cynical scepticism which would result from this teaching would make the children in later life immune from those appeals to idealism by which decent people are induced to further the schemes of scoundrels.
Bertrand Russell (Free Thought and Official Propaganda)
Mma Ramotswe had listened to a World Service broadcast on her radio one day which had simply taken her breath away. It was about philosophers who called themselves existentialists and who, as far as Mma Ramotswe could ascertain, lived in France. These French people said that you should just live in a way which made you feel real, and that the real thing to do was the right thing too. Mma Ramotswe had listened in astonishment. You did not have to go to France to meet existentialists, she reflected; there were many existentialists right here in Botswana. Note Mokoti, for example. She had been married to an existentialist herself, without even knowing it. Note, that selfish man who never once put himself out for another--not even for his wife--would have approved of existentialists, and they of him. It was very existentialist, perhaps, to go out to bars every night while your pregnant wife stayed at home, and even more existentialist to go off with girls--young existentialist girls--you met in bars. It was a good life being an existentialist, although not too good for all the other, nonexistentialist people around one.
Alexander McCall Smith (Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #3))
At a feast, do not give a speech about how everyone should eat. Only eat as you should. Socrates never made a spectacle of himself or put on an air of authority. In philosophical conversations, follow his example—stay mostly silent; ask questions and listen intently. If anyone calls you ignorant and says you know nothing, be sure that you are now a true student of philosophy.
Epictetus (The Manual: A Philosopher's Guide to Life)
It is indeed curious: Although they would have been satisfied with next to nothing, they nevertheless strove for something. Here is how Stoics would explain this seeming paradox. Stoic philosophy, while teaching us to be satisfied with whatever we’ve got, also counsels us to seek certain things in life. We should, for example, strive to become better people—to become virtuous in the ancient sense of the word.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
The Sumerians considered themselves destined to “clothe and feed” such gods, because they viewed themselves as the servants, in a sense, of what we would call instinctive forces, “elicited” by the “environment.” Such forces can be reasonably regarded as the Sumerians regarded them—as deities inhabiting a “supracelestial place,” extant prior to the dawn of humanity. Erotic attraction, for example—a powerful god—has a developmental history that predates the emergence of humanity, is associated with relatively “innate” releasing “stimuli” (those that characterize erotic beauty), is of terrible power, and has an existence “transcending” that of any individual who is currently “possessed.” Pan, the Greek god of nature, produced/represented fear (produced “panic”); Ares or the Roman Mars, warlike fury and aggression. We no longer personify such “instincts,” except for the purposes of literary embellishment, so we don't think of them “existing” in a “place” (like heaven, for example). But the idea that such instincts inhabit a space—and that wars occur in that space—is a metaphor of exceeding power and explanatory utility. Transpersonal motive forces do wage war with one another over vast spans of time; are each forced to come to terms with their powerful “opponents” in the intrapsychic hierarchy. The battles between the different “ways of life” (or different philosophies) that eternally characterize human societies can usefully be visualized as combat undertaken by different standards of value (and, therefore, by different hierarchies of motivation). The “forces” involved in such wars do not die, as they are “immortal”: the human beings acting as “pawns of the gods” during such times are not so fortunate.
Jordan B. Peterson (Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief)
What shapes the best in us dies when the best education dies! The best in us shall always be undermined when they that are responsible for shaping the best in us are always undermined! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will not just learn books but life! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will not just learn moral principles, but they shall be living examples of moral principles. I stand for a different education: a different education where students don’t just understand what they learn, but practice what they learn with understanding! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will not just learn about people of different beliefs, culture and backgrounds, but how to live with people who don’t share common perspective with them and know how to show their emotions of bitterness and misunderstanding rightly! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will be perfect ambassadors’ of God on earth and live their daily lives with all due diligence! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will understand why we all breathe the same air, sleep and wake up each day in the same manner to continue the journey of life! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will learn with inspiration even in their desperations! I stand for a different education: a different education where teachers are seen as true epitome of education! I stand for a different education: a different education in which the value of the teacher is well understood and the teacher is well valued as a treasure! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will not just learn, but they will reproduce great and noble things with what they learn! I stand for a different education: a different education where students will understand the real meaning of integrity and responsibility and with true courage and humility be that as such! I stand for a different education: a different education where education means creativity! Education is the spine of every nation! The better the education, the better the nation! The mediocre the education, the mediocre the nation! A good nation is good because of how education has shaped the perspective and understanding of the populace! A nation that does not know where it is heading towards must ask the machine that produces the populace who drive the nation: education! Until we fix our education, we shall always have a wrong education and we shall always see a wrong nation!
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
The Count of Monte Cristo, Edgar Allan Poe, Robinson Crusoe, Ivanhoe, Gogol, The Last of the Mohicans, Dickens, Twain, Austen, Billy Budd…By the time I was twelve, I was picking them out myself, and my brother Suman was sending me the books he had read in college: The Prince, Don Quixote, Candide, Le Morte D’Arthur, Beowulf, Thoreau, Sartre, Camus. Some left more of a mark than others. Brave New World founded my nascent moral philosophy and became the subject of my college admissions essay, in which I argued that happiness was not the point of life. Hamlet bore me a thousand times through the usual adolescent crises. “To His Coy Mistress” and other romantic poems led me and my friends on various joyful misadventures throughout high school—we often sneaked out at night to, for example, sing “American Pie” beneath the window of the captain of the cheerleading team. (Her father was a local minister and so, we reasoned, less likely to shoot.) After I was caught returning at dawn from one such late-night escapade, my worried mother thoroughly interrogated me regarding every drug teenagers take, never suspecting that the most intoxicating thing I’d experienced, by far, was the volume of romantic poetry she’d handed me the previous week. Books became my closest confidants, finely ground lenses providing new views of the world.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Permissiveness constantly deprives children of the examples of adult-centred life where they can find the place they seek in a natural hierarchy of greater and lesser experience, and where their desirable actions are accepted and their undesirable actions rejected, while they themselves are always accepted. Children need to see that they are assumed to be wed intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and want a reliable reaction from their elders to guide them.
Jean Liedloff
We choose our friends on the basis of, among other things, our conception of ourselves. That's not to say that friendship is narcissistic, it doesn't follow that we choose people 'like ourselves'; in fact we might choose people very different than ourselves. For example, if I'm not very intelligent, and I'm concerned about my lack of intelligence, I might take up with an extremely intelligent woman, precisely in order to have her intelligence, in some sense, radiate onto me. The idea is that in friendship what we do is we pick people who are going to reinforce, in some sense, our own conception of ourselves. So if I think of myself as intelligent, or I want to think of myself as intelligent, whether or not I pick a partner who is also intelligent, what is going to be essential is that it's going to be a partner who somehow expands my notion of my own intelligence, either by telling me all the time, perhaps, how intelligent I am, or maybe by always contradicting me in such a way that I can prove my intelligence with her or him.
Robert C. Solomon (No Excuses: Existentialism And The Meaning Of Life)
Much of the particularity of a language is extra-lexical, built into the syntax and grammar of the language and virtually invisible to native speakers. English, for example, restricts the use of the present perfect tense (‘has been’, ‘has read’) to subjects who are still alive, marking a sharp grammatical divide between the living and the dead, and, by extension, between life and death. But of course, as an English speaker, you already knew that, at least subconsciously. Language is full of built-in assumptions and prejudices.
Neel Burton (Hypersanity: Thinking Beyond Thinking)
A brick could be used to show you how to live a richer, fuller, more satisfying life. Don’t you want to have fulfillment and meaning saturating your existence? I can show you how you can achieve this and so much more with just a simple brick. For just $99.99—not even an even hundred bucks, I’ll send you my exclusive life philosophy that’s built around a brick. Man’s used bricks to build houses for centuries. Now let one man, me, show you how a brick can be used to build your life up bigger and stronger than you ever imagined. But act now, because supplies are limited. This amazing offer won’t last forever. You don’t want to wake up in ten years to find yourself divorced, homeless, and missing your testicles because you waited even two hours too long to obtain this information. Become a hero today—save your life. Procrastination is only for the painful things in life. We prolong the boring, but why put off for tomorrow the exciting life you could be living today? If you’re not satisfied with the information I’m providing, I’m willing to offer you a no money back guarantee. That’s right, you read that wrong. If you are not 100% dissatisfied with my product, I’ll give you your money back. For $99.99 I’m offering 99.99%, but you’ve got to be willing to penny up that percentage to 100. Why delay? The life you really want is mine, and I’m willing to give it to you—for a price. That price is a one-time fee of $99.99, which of course everyone can afford—even if they can’t afford it. Homeless people can’t afford it, but they’re the people who need my product the most. Buy my product, or face the fact that in all probability you are going to end up homeless and sexless and unloved and filthy and stinky and probably even disabled, if not physically than certainly mentally. I don’t care if your testicles taste like peanut butter—if you don’t buy my product, even a dog won’t lick your balls you miserable cur. I curse you! God damn it, what are you, slow? Pay me my money so I can show you the path to true wealth. Don’t you want to be rich? Everything takes money—your marriage, your mortgage, and even prostitutes. I can show you the path to prostitution—and it starts by ignoring my pleas to help you. I’m not the bad guy here. I just want to help. You have some serious trust issues, my friend. I have the chance to earn your trust, and all it’s going to cost you is a measly $99.99. Would it help you to trust me if I told you that I trust you? Well, I do. Sure, I trust you. I trust you to make the smart decision for your life and order my product today. Don’t sleep on this decision, because you’ll only wake up in eight hours to find yourself living in a miserable future. And the future indeed looks bleak, my friend. War, famine, children forced to pimp out their parents just to feed the dog. Is this the kind of tomorrow you’d like to live in today? I can show you how to provide enough dog food to feed your grandpa for decades. In the future I’m offering you, your wife isn’t a whore that you sell for a knife swipe of peanut butter because you’re so hungry you actually considered eating your children. Become a hero—and save your kids’ lives. Your wife doesn’t want to spread her legs for strangers. Or maybe she does, and that was a bad example. Still, the principle stands. But you won’t be standing—in the future. Remember, you’ll be confined to a wheelchair. Mushrooms are for pizzas, not clouds, but without me, your life will atom bomb into oblivion. Nobody’s dropping a bomb while I’m around. The only thing I’m dropping is the price. Boom! I just lowered the price for you, just to show you that you are a valued customer. As a VIP, your new price on my product is just $99.96. That’s a savings of over two pennies (three, to be precise). And I’ll even throw in a jar of peanut butter for free. That’s a value of over $.99. But wait, there’s more! If you call within the next ten minutes, I’ll even throw in a blanket free of charge. . .
Jarod Kintz (Brick)
The part of the Masculine principle seems to be that of directing a certain inherent energy toward the Feminine principle, and thus starting into activity the creative processes. But the Feminine principle is the one always doing the active creative work — and this is so on all planes. And yet, each principle is incapable of operative energy without the assistance of the other. In some of the forms of life, the two principles are combined in one organism. For that matter, everything in the organic world manifests both genders — there is always the Masculine present in the Feminine form, and the Feminine form. The Hermetic Teachings include much regarding the operation of the two principles of Gender in the production and manifestation of various forms of energy, etc., but we do not deem it expedient to go into detail regarding the same at this point, because we are unable to back up the same with scientific proof, for the reason that science has not as yet progressed thus far. But the example we have given you of the phenomena of the electrons or corpuscles will show you that science is on the right path, and will also give you a general idea of the underlying principles.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
I have given a brief explanation of the various meanings of dharma according to the Abhidharma, but what I want to say next is much more important. In Mahayana Buddhism, and especially in Dōgen Zenji's teachings, the meaning of dharma has more depth. According to the concepts we accept, we think that everything exists as objects outside the self. For example, we usually think that all phenomenal things that appear before our eyes, or this twentieth-century human society, have existence outside our individual self. We believe that when we are born we appear on this world's stage, and when we die we leave that stage. All of us think this way. But the truth is that this common-sense concept is questionable. Mahayana Buddhism began from a reexamination of this common-sense attitude. I'll give you one of my favorite examples. I am looking at this cup now. You are also looking at the same cup. We think that we are looking at the very same cup, but this is not true. I am looking at it from my angle, with my eyesight, in the lighting that occurs where I am sitting, and with my own feelings or emotions. Furthermore, the angle, my feeling, and everything else is changing from moment to moment. This cup I am looking at now is not the same one that I will be looking at in the next moment. Each of you is also looking at it from your own angle, with your eyesight, with your own feelings, and these also are constantly changing. This is the way actual life experience is. However, if we use our common-sense way of thinking, we think we are looking at the very same cup. This is an abstraction and not the reality of life. Abstract concepts and living reality are entirely different. The Buddhist view is completely different from our ordinary thinking. Western philosophy's way of thinking is also based on abstractions. It assumes that all of us are seeing the same cup. Greek philosophers went further and further in their abstractions until they came up with the concept of the idea that cannot be seen or felt. One example is Venus, the goddess of beauty. In the real world, no woman is as well-proportioned as Venus, or embodies perfect beauty as she does. Yet the Greeks idealized beauty and created a statue of Venus, just as they had thought of the "idea" of a circle that is abstracted from something round. In other words, the Greek way of thinking is abstraction to the highest degree. Buddhism is different. Buddhism puts emphasis on life, the actual life experience of the reality of the self.
Dōgen (The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dogen's Bendowa, With Commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi)
To the extent that anyone gives up the mentality of antithesis, he has moved over to the other side, even if he still tries to defend orthodoxy or evangelicalism. If Christians are to take advantage of the death of romanticism, we must consciously build back the mentality and practice of antithesis among Christians in doctrine and life. We must do it in our teaching and example toward compromise, both ecclesiastically and in evangelism. To fail to exhibit that we take truth seriously at these points where there is a cost in doing so, is to push the next generation into the relative, dialectical millstream that surrounds us.
Francis A. Schaeffer (The God Who Is There)
Europe's/Western World's greatness came from a Man (but not a single "philosophy" or "religion" was systematically venerable), and vice-versa for China. We, who live in a world of post-post-post tendencies (which denotes a total lack of beauty in action and attitude, a total inadequacy for anything but self-promotion according to humanistic tendencies/fashions), have the great yet melancholic virtue of combining pre-existing forms (I like to think the most venerable) in a world devoid of any spirit (mainly by regarding death as a catastrophe instead of Death as a uniting principle of life, of beauty and of transcendental meaning). Hitler was the swansong of Mankind. Hardcore modernity called for a last and timeless titan. As Nietzsche once said, all great music is always a swansong (do not agree with his examples, but one has to be able to go beyond the evident). Mankind will always live as if it were an ETERNAL, IMMORTAL race, and individual death will be the only one available, cowardly recognized as a CATASTROPHE (disconnection of one's essence, primordial fate). Oblivious to oblivion itself, nothing of value will ever be accomplished (TAO). Let them be. Mankind has moved from truth each step of it's journey, because each step away from conscious death.
The Melians proved unable to defeat the Athenians, either in debate or in battle. The Athenians besieged them, they executed the men and enslaved their women and children. Melos was repopulated as a colony and given as a new home to a few hundred Athenians. The Athenians had used a philosophical argument to justify wiping out a whole island race. And this is why philosophy is still so important to us today. The Melian Debate foreshadows the concerns of everyone who worries about the strength of modern superpowers compared with that of their neighbours, for example. When people protest about the behaviour of China towards Tibet, they are arguing against the phusis stance.
Natalie Haynes (The Ancient Guide to Modern Life)
Socrates is a shining example of a man who bravely lived up to his ideals, and, in the end, bravely died for them. Throughout his life, he never lost faith in the mind’s ability to discern and decide, and so to apprehend and master reality. Nor did he ever betray truth and integrity for a pitiable life of self-deception and semi-consciousness. In seeking relentlessly to align mind with matter and thought with fact, he remained faithful both to himself and to the world, with the result that he is still alive in this sentence and millions of others that have been written about him. More than a great philosopher, Socrates was the living embodiment of the dream that philosophy might one day set us free.
Neel Burton (Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions)
What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles? What if we are prevented from catalyzing workable and vital cities because the practical steps needed to do so are in conflict with the practical steps demanded by erosion? There is a silver lining to everything. In that case we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles. It is not hard to understand that the producing and consuming of automobiles might properly seem the purpose of life to the General Motors management, or that it may seem so to other men and women deeply commtted economically or emotionally to this pursuit. If they so regard it, they should be commended rather than cricicized for this remarkable identification of philosophy with daily duty. It is harder to understand, however, why the production and consumption of automobiles should be the purpose of life for this country. Similarly, it is understandable that men who were young in the 1920's were captivated by the vision of the freeway Radiant City, with the specious promise that it would be appropriate to an automobile age. At least it was then a new idea; to men of the generation of New York's Robert Moses, for example, it was radical and exciting in the days when their minds were growing and their ideas forming. Some men tend to cling to old intellectual excitements, just as some belles, when they are old ladies, still cling to the fashions and coiffures of their exciting youth. But it is harder to understand why this form of arrested mental development should be passed on intact to succeeding generations of planners and designers. It is disturbing to think that men who are young today, men who are being trained now for their carreers, should accept *on the grounds that they must be "modern" in their thinking,* conceptions about cities and traffic which are not only unworkably, but also to which nothing new of any significance has been added since their fathers were children.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
I think that happiness is the experience which encompasses our ability to live, inclusive of all the mini pangs of being-alive-passions that we have. For example, just because you're sad, I don't think that means your state as a person is "unhappy." You can be a happy person and feel fully sad, fully joyous, fully worried, fully lighthearted, fully calm, fully expectant or nervous... happiness is being a full person. It's not living life in this one corner where you've curated everything to suit your ideal of what a happy person should be made up of. It's not this single, linear mode of thought or of being. I think it's the full experience of life and the art of living with the zest that you choose to live with.
C. JoyBell C.
We have considered the problem of mental fragmentation and arbitrariness that results when our contact with the world is mediated by representations: representations collapse the basic axis of proximity and distance by which an embodied being orients in the world and draws a horizon of relevance around itself. We noted the prominence of a design philosophy that severs the bonds between action and perception, as in contemporary automobiles that insulate us from the sensorimotor contingencies by which an embodied being normally grasps reality. The case of machine gambling gave us a heightened example of this kind of abstraction, and made clear how such a design philosophy can be turned to especially disturbing purposes in the darker precincts of “affective capitalism,” where our experiences are manufactured for us. We saw that the point of these experiences is often to provide a quasi-autistic escape from the frustrations of life, and that they are especially attractive in a world that lacks a basic intelligibility because it seems to be ordered by “vast impersonal forces” that are difficult to bring within view on a first-person, human scale. I argued that all of this tends to sculpt a certain kind of contemporary self, a fragile one whose freedom and dignity depend on its being insulated from contingency, and who tends to view technology as magic for accomplishing this. For such a self, choosing from a menu of options replaces the kind of adult agency that grapples with things in an unfiltered way.
Matthew B. Crawford (The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction)
I know nothing of the Other World, and I have the honesty to admit it. Other people know more about it than I do, and I'm incapable of proving that they're mistaken. I don't dream of imposing my philosophy on a village girl. Although religion does not aim at seeking for the truth, it is a kind of philosophy which can satisfy simple minds, and that does no harm to anyone. Everything is finally a matter of the feeling man has of his own impotence. In itself, this philosophy has nothing pernicious about it. The essential thing, really, is that man should know that salvation consists in the effort that each person makes to understand Providence and accept the laws of nature. Since all violent upheavals are a calamity, I would prefer the adaptation to be made without shocks. What could be longest left undisturbed are women's convents. The sense of the inner life brings people great enrichment. What we must do, then, is to extract from religions the poison they contain. In this respect, great progress has been made during recent centuries. The Church must be made to understand that her kingdom is not of this world. What an example Frederick the Great set when he reacted against the Church's claim to be allowed to interfere in matters of State ! The marginal notes, in his handwriting, which one finds on the pleas addressed to him by the pastors, have the value of judgments of Solomon. They're definitive. Our generals should make a practice of reading them daily. One is humiliated to see how slowly humanity progresses.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
What’s wrong with men and women indulging in self-delusion in the course of trying to impress each other? Nothing, I guess. Some illusions are harmless, and some are even beneficial. Far be it from me to try to talk you out of all your illusions. By and large, my philosophy is Live and let live: if you’re enjoying the Matrix, go crazy. Except, maybe, when your illusions harm other people in your life or contribute to larger problems in the world. And that can happen. Being in self-protection mode, for example, does more than just give us an attraction to crowds. In one study, men who watched part of a scary film (The Silence of the Lambs) and were then shown photos of men from a different ethnic group rated their facial expressions as much angrier than did men who hadn’t seen a scary film.
Robert Wright (Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment)
This example, it seems to us, suffices to show in what way the nonreligious man of modern societies is still nourished and aided by the activity of his unconscious, yet without thereby attaining to a properly religious experience and vision of the world. The unconscious offers him solutions for the difficulties of his own life, and in this way plays the role of religion, for, before making an existence a creator of values, religion ensures its integrity, From one point of view it could almost be said that in the case of those moderns who proclaim that they are nonreligious, religion and mythology are "eclipsed" in the darkness of their unconscious—which means too that in such men the possibility of reintegrating a religious vision of life lies at a great depth. Or, from the Christian point of view, it could also be said that nonreligion is equivalent to a new "fall" of man— in other words, that nonreligious man has lost the capacity to live religion consciously, and hence to understand and assume it; but that, in his deepest being, he still retains a memory of it, as, after the first "fall," his ancestor, the primordial man, retained intelligence enough to enable him to rediscover the traces of God that are visible in the world. After the first "fall," the religious sense descended to the level of the ' 'divided" consciousness"; now, after the second, it has fallen even further, into the depths of the unconscious; it has been "forgotten," Here the considerations of the historian of religions end. Here begins the realm of problems proper to the philosopher, the psychologist, and even the theologian.
Mircea Eliade (The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion)
A modern example of this stunning knowledge of nature that Einstein has gifted us, comes from 2016, when gravitational waves were discovered by a specially designed observatory tuned for just this purpose.† These waves, predicted by Einstein, are ripples moving at the speed of light across the fabric of space-time, and are generated by severe gravitational disturbances, such as the collision of two black holes. And that’s exactly what was observed. The gravitational waves of the first detection were generated by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away, and at a time when Earth was teeming with simple, single-celled organisms. While the ripple moved through space in all directions, Earth would, after another 800 million years, evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals. Among the mammals, a sub-branch would evolve frontal lobes and complex thought to accompany them. We call them primates. A single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch—Homo sapiens—would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science. All in the last ten thousand years. Ultimately, one of its twentieth-century scientists would invent relativity out of his head, and predict the existence of gravitational waves. A century later, technology capable of seeing these waves would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected. Yes, Einstein was a badass.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
[Huxley's Perennial Philosophy is concerned with] the need to love the earth and respect nature instead of following the example of those who 'chopped down vast forests to provide the newsprint demanded by that universal literacy which was to make the world safe for intelligence and democracy, and got wholesale erosion, pulp magazines, and organs of Fascist, Communist, capitalist, and nationalist propaganda.' He attacked 'technological imperialism' and the mechanisation which was 'increasing the power of a minority to exercise a co-ersive control over the lives of their fellows' and 'the popular philosophy of life... now moulded by advertising copy whose one idea is to persuade everybody to be as extroverted and uninhibitedly greedy as possible, since of course it is only the possessive, the restless, the distracted, who spend money on the things that advertisers want to sell.
Nicholas Murray (Aldous Huxley: A Biography (Thomas Dunne Books))
But mostly what we think of as the 'meaning' of life concerns the style of the private autobiography we each write and which records how we 'see' ourselves. Whether this autobiography reads as a narrative of progress in which difficulties are transcended, or is chaotic, is the test of whether one's life seems to be meaningful or not. Meaning is something we find, or fail to find, as we follow through this project. We can see how love figures here: love is a major theme, but how we see our experience of love depends upon our general thinking. If, for example, we work with extremely high expectations of love we impose a tragic style upon our self-perceptions: for our experience of love will always be seen under an aspect of failure—failure focused upon ourselves or others. Hence the more subtle our thinking about love, the more intelligently we discriminate ideals from reality, the more interesting our autobiography becomes.
John Armstrong (Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy)
Breaking free of other people’s limiting values, philosophies, and life scenarios obviously includes a good deal more than breaking free of the influence of mother and father. We may need to challenge important aspects of the implicit philosophy of the culture in which we live. We may need to check and confront many of the basic premises that almost everyone takes for granted. This is a subtle and difficult task, because we rarely even know where to begin; the premises that need to be questioned are too much a part of our own thinking. The premises involved may pertain to the ultimate meaning of life, the values by which we are to live, the nature of virtue, the meaning of maleness and femaleness, the nature of knowledge, the ultimate nature of existence itself. To think independently and radically about such issues is not an easy undertaking. We shall deal with at least one example of this challenge when we take up the subject of ethics.
Nathaniel Branden (Honoring the Self: The Pyschology of Confidence and Respect)
We are suddenly showing unprecedented interest in the fate of so-called lower life forms, perhaps because we are about to become one. If and when computer programs attain superhuman intelligence and unprecedented power, should we begin valuing these programs more than we value humans? Would it be okay, for example, for an artificial intelligence to exploit humans and even kill them to further its own needs and desires? If it should never be allowed to do that, despite its superior intelligence and power, why is it ethical for humans to exploit and kill pigs? Do humans have some magical spark, in addition to higher intelligence and greater power, which distinguishes them from pigs, chickens, chimpanzees and computer programs alike? If yes, where did that spark come from, and why are we certain that an AI could never acquire it? If there is no such spark, would there be any reason to continue assigning special value to human life even after computers surpass humans in intelligence and power?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: ‘An intoxicating brew of science, philosophy and futurism’ Mail on Sunday)
Professor A. H. Maslow, for example, has conducted a series of researches into extremely healthy people that have led him to conclude that health and optimism are far more positive principles in human psychology than Freud would ever have admitted. Man is a slave to the delusion that he is a passive creature, a creature of circumstance; this is because he makes the mistake of identifying himself with his limited everyday consciousness, and is unaware of the immense forces that lie just beyond the threshold of consciousness. But these forces, although he is unaware of them on a conscious level, are still a far more active influence in his life than any external circumstances. Freudian psychology, for all its achievements, has made a twofold error: it has tried to anatomize the human mind as a pathologist would dissect a corpse, and it has limited its researches to sick human beings. Sick men talk about their illness far more than healthy people talk about their health; in fact, healthy people are usually too absorbed in living to bother with self-revelation. Psychology has consequently been inclined to divide the world into sick people and “normal” people, regarding occasional super-normality as the exception; Maslow has shown that super-normality is a great deal commoner than would be supposed; in fact as common as sub-normality. Ordinarily healthy people often experience a sense of intense life-affirmation (which Maslow calls “peak experiences”); and examination of peak experiences has led Maslow to conclude that the evolutionary drive (which is so clear in art and philosophy) is as basic a part of human psychology as the Freudian libido or the Adlerian will to self-assertion. — Colin Wilson, “‘Six Thousand Feet Above Men and Time‘: Remarks on Nietzsche and Kierkegaard” (1965) (Wilson C. “Six Thousand Feet Above Men and Time”: Remarks on Nietzsche and Kierkegaard // Stanley C. (Ed.). Colin Wilson: Collected Essays on Philosophers. — Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. Pp. 110–111.)
Colin Wilson
What led you to write a graduate thesis on the subject of the imagination? SARTRE: I suppose that at that period of my life I had some ideas about the image I refer to the time when I was at L'Ecole normale—and later I had the feeling that that was the first thing I ought to do. The idea that sensation was not identical to the image, that the image was not sensation renewed. That was something I felt in myself. It is bound up with the freedom of consciousness since, when the conscious mind imagines, it disengages itself from what is real in order to look for something that isn't there or that doesn't exist. And it was this passage into the imaginary that helped me understand what freedom is. For instance, if one person asks another: "Where is your friend Pierre?" and it turns out that he's in Berlin, for example, that person will picture where his friend Pierre is. There is a disconnection of thought that cannot be explained by determinism. Determinism cannot move to the plane of the imaginary. If it's a fact, it will create a fact.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Sartre by himself: A film directed by Alexandre Astruc and Michel Contat with the participation of Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques-Larent Bost, Andre Gorz, Jean Pouillon)
We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly-spawning class of human beings who should never have been born at all.1 —Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization In 2009, Hillary Clinton came to Houston, Texas, to receive the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthood. Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood and the award is its highest prize. In receiving the award, Hillary said of Sanger, “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision. I am really in awe of her. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life and the cause she launched and fought for and sacrificed so greatly.”2 What was Margaret Sanger’s vision? What was the cause to which she devoted her life? Sanger is known as a champion of birth control, of providing women with the means to avoid unwanted pregnancies. But the real Margaret Sanger was very different from how she’s portrayed in Planned Parenthood brochures. The real Margaret Sanger did not want women in general to limit their pregnancies. She wanted white, wealthy, educated women to have more children, and poor, uneducated, black women to have none. “Unwanted” for Sanger didn’t mean unwanted by the mother—it meant unwanted by Sanger. Sanger’s influence contributed to the infamous Tuskegee experiments in which poor blacks were deliberately injected with syphilis without their knowledge. Today the Tuskegee Project is falsely portrayed as an example of southern backwardness and American bigotry; in fact, it was a progressive scheme carried out with the very eugenic goals that Margaret Sanger herself championed. In 1926, Sanger spoke to a Women’s Chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey about her solution for reducing the black birthrate. She also sponsored a Negro Project specifically designed, in her vocabulary, to get rid of “human beings who should never have been born.” In one of her letters Sanger said, “We do not want word to get out that we are trying to exterminate the Negro population.”3 The racists loved it; other KKK speaking invitations followed. Now it may seem odd that a woman with such views would be embraced by Planned Parenthood—even odder that she would be a role model for Hillary Clinton. Why would they celebrate Sanger given her racist philosophy? In
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
If an average man’s natural desire were to be a good husband and father, then their work would have been easy. But in early Rome, for example, bachelorhood had to be forbidden by law.[ix] The problem with the view of the social conservative is that it assumes a man’s duty to his wife and children is more natural, and therefore more easily enforced, than it actually is. They often do not see the immense work that had to go into making men good husbands or fathers, nor the great privileges through which men had to be enticed to accept these duties; still less do they see or dare to mention the great work—some would say oppression—that had to be exerted to make women faithful wives and mothers.[x] Social liberals and feminists make the same mistake. They assume the problem is that men desire patriarchy and ownership over the wife and family, that men desire dominion over wife and children. They do not see these are, in part, methods some civilizations resorted to in order to induce men to accept the responsibilities of father and husband. Men deprived of patriarchy have no reason to accept duty or responsibility, nor the loss of freedom that goes with family life.
Costin Alamariu (Selective Breeding and the Birth of Philosophy)
All kinds of things are happening to me." I begin. ,,Some I choose, some I didn't. I don't know how to tell one from the other any more. What I mean is, it feels like everything's been decided in advance - that I'm following a path somebody else has already mapped out for me. It doesn't matter how much I think things over, how much effort I put into it. In fact, the harder I try, the more I lose my sense od who I am. It's as if my identity's an orbit that I've strayed far away from, and that really hurts. But more than that, it scares me. Just thinking about it makes me flinch. Oshima gazes deep into m eyes. "Listen, Kafka. What you are experiencing now is the motif od many Greek tragedies. Man does not chose fate. Fate chooses man. That is the basic world view of Greek drama. And the sense od tragedy - according to Aristotle - somes, ironically enough, not drom the protagonist's weak points but from his good qualities. Do you know what I am getting at? People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues. Sophocles' Oedipus Rex being a Great example. Oedipus is drawn into tragedy not because of lazines or stupidity, but because of his courage and honesty. So an inevitable irony results.
Haruki Murakami
The teachings of impermanence and lack of independent existence are not difficult to understand intellectually; when you hear these teachings you may think that they are quite true. On a deeper level, however, you probably still identify yourself as “me” and identify others as “them” or “you.” On some level you likely say to yourself, “I will always be me; I have an identity that is important.” I, for example, say to myself, “I am a Buddhist priest; not a Christian or Islamic one. I am a Japanese person, not an American or a Chinese one.” If we did not assume that we have this something within us that does not change, it would be very difficult for us to live responsibly in society. This is why people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism often ask, “If there were no unchanging essential existence, doesn’t that mean I would not be responsible for my past actions, since I would be a different person than in the past?” But of course that is not what the Buddha meant when he said we have no unchanging atman or essential existence. To help us understand this point, we can consider how our life resembles a river. Each moment the water of a river is flowing and different, so it is constantly changing, but there is still a certain continuity of the river as a whole. The Mississippi River, for example, was the river we know a million years ago. And yet, the water flowing in the Mississippi is always different, always new, so there is actually no fixed thing that we can say is the one and only Mississippi River. We can see this clearly when we compare the source of the Mississippi in northern Minnesota, a small stream one can jump over, to the river’s New Orleans estuary, which seems as wide as an ocean. We cannot say which of these is the true Mississippi: it is just a matter of conditions that lets us call one or the other of these the Mississippi. In reality, a river is just a collection of masses of flowing water contained within certain shapes in the land. “Mississippi River” is simply a name given to various conditions and changing elements. Since our lives are also just a collection of conditions, we cannot say that we each have one true identity that does not change, just as we cannot say there is one true Mississippi River. What we call the “self ” is just a set of conditions existing within a collection of different elements. So I cannot say that there is an unchanging self that exists throughout my life as a baby, as a teenager, and as it is today. Things that I thought were important and interesting when I was an elementary or high school student, for example, are not at all interesting to me now; my feelings, emotions, and values are always changing. This is the meaning of the teaching that everything is impermanent and without independent existence. But we still must recognize that there is a certain continuity in our lives, that there is causality, and that we need to be responsible for what we did yesterday. In this way, self-identity is important. Even though in actuality there is no unchanging identity, I still must use expressions like “when I was a baby ..., when I was a boy ..., when I was a teenager. ...” To speak about changes in our lives and communicate in a meaningful way, we must speak as if we assumed that there is an unchanging “I” that has been experiencing the changes; otherwise, the word “change” has no meaning. But according to Buddhist philosophy, self-identity, the “I,” is a creation of the mind; we create self-identity because it’s convenient and useful in certain ways. We must use self-identity to live responsibly in society, but we should realize that it is merely a tool, a symbol, a sign, or a concept. Because it enables us to think and discriminate, self-identity allows us to live and function. Although it is not the only reality of our lives, self-identity is a reality for us, a tool we must use to live with others in society.
Shohaku Okumura (Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo)
I read Dickens and Shakespear without shame or stint; but their pregnant observations and demonstrations of life are not co-ordinated into any philosophy or religion: on the contrary, Dickens's sentimental assumptions are violently contradicted by his observations; and Shakespear's pessimism is only his wounded humanity. Both have the specific genius of the fictionist and the common sympathies of human feeling and thought in pre-eminent degree. They are often saner and shrewder than the philosophers just as Sancho-Panza was often saner and shrewder than Don Quixote. They clear away vast masses of oppressive gravity by their sense of the ridiculous, which is at bottom a combination of sound moral judgment with lighthearted good humor. But they are concerned with the diversities of the world instead of with its unities: they are so irreligious that they exploit popular religion for professional purposes without delicacy or scruple (for example, Sydney Carton and the ghost in Hamlet!): they are anarchical, and cannot balance their exposures of Angelo and Dogberry, Sir Leicester Dedlock and Mr Tite Barnacle, with any portrait of a prophet or a worthy leader: they have no constructive ideas: they regard those who have them as dangerous fanatics: in all their fictions there is no leading thought or inspiration for which any man could conceivably risk the spoiling of his hat in a shower, much less his life. Both are alike forced to borrow motives for the more strenuous actions of their personages from the common stockpot of melodramatic plots; so that Hamlet has to be stimulated by the prejudices of a policeman and Macbeth by the cupidities of a bushranger. Dickens, without the excuse of having to manufacture motives for Hamlets and Macbeths, superfluously punt his crew down the stream of his monthly parts by mechanical devices which I leave you to describe, my own memory being quite baffled by the simplest question as to Monks in Oliver Twist, or the long lost parentage of Smike, or the relations between the Dorrit and Clennam families so inopportunely discovered by Monsieur Rigaud Blandois. The truth is, the world was to Shakespear a great "stage of fools" on which he was utterly bewildered. He could see no sort of sense in living at all; and Dickens saved himself from the despair of the dream in The Chimes by taking the world for granted and busying himself with its details. Neither of them could do anything with a serious positive character: they could place a human figure before you with perfect verisimilitude; but when the moment came for making it live and move, they found, unless it made them laugh, that they had a puppet on their hands, and had to invent some artificial external stimulus to make it work.
George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman)
Wittgenstein came to believe that a great many philosophical puzzles arise out of people misusing language in this way. Take, for example, the statement ‘I have a pain’, which is grammatically akin to ‘I have a hat’. This similarity might mislead us into thinking that pains, or ‘experiences’ in general, are things we have in the same way that we have hats. But it would be strange to say ‘Here, take my pain’. And though it would make sense to say ‘Is this your hat or mine?’, it would sound odd to ask ‘Is this your pain or mine?’ Perhaps there are several people in a room and a pain floating around in it; and as each person in turn doubles up in agony, we exclaim: ‘Ah, now he’s having it!’ This sounds merely silly; but in fact it has some fairly momentous implications. Wittgenstein is able to disentangle the grammar of ‘I have a hat’ from ‘I have a pain’ not only in a way that throws light on the use of personal pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘he’, but in ways which undermine the long-standing assumption that my experiences are a kind of private property. In fact, they seem even more like private property than my hat, since I can give away my hat, but not my pain. Wittgenstein shows us how grammar deceives us into thinking this way, and his case has radical, even politically radical, consequences. The task of the philosopher, Wittgenstein thought, was not so much to resolve these inquiries as to dissolve them – to show that they spring from confusing one kind of ‘language game’, as he called it, with another.
Terry Eagleton (The Meaning of Life)
None,” Einstein said. “Relativity is a purely scientific matter and has nothing to do with religion.”51 That was no doubt true. However, there was a more complex relationship between Einstein’s theories and the whole witch’s brew of ideas and emotions in the early twentieth century that bubbled up from the highly charged cauldron of modernism. In his novel Balthazar, Lawrence Durrell had his character declare, “The Relativity proposition was directly responsible for abstract painting, atonal music, and formless literature.” The relativity proposition, of course, was not directly responsible for any of this. Instead, its relationship with modernism was more mysteriously interactive. There are historical moments when an alignment of forces causes a shift in human outlook. It happened to art and philosophy and science at the beginning of the Renaissance, and again at the beginning of the Enlightenment. Now, in the early twentieth century, modernism was born by the breaking of the old strictures and verities. A spontaneous combustion occurred that included the works of Einstein, Picasso, Matisse, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Joyce, Eliot, Proust, Diaghilev, Freud, Wittgenstein, and dozens of other path-breakers who seemed to break the bonds of classical thinking.52 In his book Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty That Causes Havoc, the historian of science and philosophy Arthur I. Miller explored the common wellsprings that produced, for example, the 1905 special theory of relativity and Picasso’s 1907 modernist masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
It is a curious paradox that several of the greatest and most creative spirits in science, after achieving important discoveries by following their unfettered imaginations, were in their later years obsessed with reductionist philosophy and as a result became sterile. Hilbert was a prime example of this paradox. Einstein was another. Like Hilbert, Einstein did his great work up to the age of forty without any reductionist bias. His crowning achievement, the general relativistic theory of gravitation, grew out of a deep physical understanding of natural processes. Only at the very end of his ten-year struggle to understand gravitation did he reduce the outcome of his understanding to a finite set of field equations. But like Hilbert, as he grew older he concentrated his attention more and more on the formal properties of his equations, and he lost interest in the wider universe of ideas out of which the equations arose. His last twenty years were spent in a fruitless search for a set of equations that would unify the whole of physics, without paying attention to the rapidly proliferating experimental discoveries that any unified theory would finally have to explain. I do not need to say more about this tragic and well-known story of Einstein's lonely attempt to reduce physics to a finite set of marks on paper. His attempt failed as dismally as Hilbert's attempt to do the same thing with mathematics. I shall instead discuss another aspect of Einstein's later life, an aspect that has received less attention than his quest for the unified field equations: his extraordinary hostility to the idea of black holes.
Freeman Dyson (The Scientist as Rebel)
Perhaps also there are some necessary truths about mind, language, and perception after all, a compendium of superscientific truths awaiting discovery and dissemination by philosophers. If so, however, one would expect the same to be true of other subjects. For example, one would expect there to be a set of necessary truths about all possible living things; and another set about all possible stars and galaxies; and another set about all possible forms of matter; and so on. One would expect, that is, a significant compendium of a priori knowledge on almost every significant subject: space, time, motion, light, matter, planets, fire, cosmology, life, weather, medicine, and so forth. Given the thousands of years philosophers have had to penetrate these subjects, we might well ask in which books the apodictic fruits of so much a priori labour have been written down. Put thus bluntly, the question is embarrassing. There is no such accumulated compendium of important a priori truths on any of these topics. And this despite the fact that philosophers have been talking and theorizing with enthusiasm about all of them for over twenty-five centuries. Claims of necessary truth have regularly been made, but empirical refutation has been their most common fate. What has accumulated instead is a rich compendium of a posteriori knowledge, a compendium born of the continuing labours of various subdivisions of earlier philosophy, subdivisions now quite properly identified as sciences. It now seems silly to expect philosophical techniques to reveal important necessary truths about all possible planets, or all possible forms of matter, or all possible living things. But if it is just plain silly to expect this for planets, matter, and life, why should it be sound philosophy to expect it for language, mind, and perception?
Paul M. Churchland
Origin of the Logical. Where has logic originated in men’s heads? Undoubtedly out of the illogical, the domain of which must originally have been immense. But numberless beings who reasoned otherwise than we do at present, perished; albeit that they may have come nearer to truth than we! Whoever, for example, could not discern the "like" often enough with regard to food, and with regard to animals dangerous to him, whoever, therefore, deduced too slowly, or was too circumspect in his deductions, had smaller probability of survival than he who in all similar cases immediately divined the equality. The preponderating inclination, however, to deal with the similar as the equal - an illogical inclination, for there is no thing equal in itself - first created the whole basis of logic. It was just so (in order that the conception of substance should originate, this being indispensable to logic, although in the strictest sense nothing actual corresponds to it) that for a long period the changing process in things had to be overlooked, and remain unperceived; the beings not seeing correctly had an advantage over those who saw everything "in flux." In itself every high degree of circumspection in conclusions, every sceptical inclination, is a great danger to life. No living being might have been preserved unless the contrary inclination - to affirm rather than suspend judgment, to mistake and fabricate rather than wait, to assent rather than deny, to decide rather than be in the right - had been cultivated with extraordinary assiduity. - The course of logical thought and reasoning in our modern brain corresponds to a process and struggle of impulses, which singly and in themselves are all very illogical and unjust; we experience usually only the result of the struggle, so rapidly and secretly does this primitive mechanism now operate in us.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
In Being and Event and elsewhere throughout his philosophy, Alain Badiou grants love an evental status, locating it among what he calls the four truth procedures. This inclusion of love seems anomalous. In comparison with the other three truth procedures, love doesn’t fit in. When one reads Being and Event for the first time, one can’t help but feel that the conception of the love event represents a philosophical misstep on Badiou’s part, a case where he allowed his own private emotions to have an undue impact on his philosophy. Though Badiou may like the feeling of being in love, this hardly justifies its status as a truth procedure. Unlike politics, art, and science, love seems to be an isolated phenomenon. A love event—the relationship of Jill and Dave, for instance—doesn’t have the same world-historical impact as the French Revolution or the invention of twelve-tone music (examples of the political and artistic event from Badiou). Even a love event that garners great attention, like the affair between Héloïse d’Argenteuil and Peter Abélard, fails to produces the type of substantive changes accomplished by the storming of the Bastille. But Badiou classifies love alongside the other truth procedures for its disruptiveness of everyday life and—which is in some sense to say the same thing—for its ability to arouse the subject’s passion. Love may be an anomalous truth procedure, but perhaps this is because it is the paradigmatic truth procedure. Love’s disruption of our everyday life is much more palpable than that of politics, art, or science. The subject in love feels as if it can’t exist without the beloved, while even Galileo himself didn’t feel this strongly about the scientific event in which he participated. It is much easier to imagine subjects dying for the sake of love than for the sake of the twelve-tone system of modern music. This is because love has a disruptiveness that transcends the other truth procedures. The cynical approach to love fails to register this disruptiveness. According to Badiou, the cynic contends that “love is only a variant of generalized hedonism,” and this cynicism enables one to avoid “every profound and authentic experience of otherness from which love is woven.” Dismissing the reality of love—seeing it as just a capitalist plot—is a way of avoiding the transformation that it demands, but it also leaves one’s existence bereft of significance. The passion that love arouses impels subjects to continue to go on.
Todd McGowan (Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets)
There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: what must I do? Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition of the Christian nations. For example, in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason, or in Spinoza, Schopenhauer and especially Rousseau. But in more recent times, since Hegel's assertion that all that exists is reasonable, the question of what one must do has been pushed to the background and philosophy has directed its whole attention to the investigation of things as they are, and to fitting them into a prearranged theory. This was the first step backwards. The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants. According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. And finally, the third step was taken when the childish originality of Nietzche's half-crazed thought, presenting nothing complete or coherent, but only various drafts of immoral and completely unsubstantiated ideas, was accepted by the leading figures as the final word in philosophical science. In reply to the question: what must we do? the answer is now put straightforwardly as: live as you like, without paying attention to the lives of others. Turgenev made the witty remark that there are inverse platitudes, which are frequently employed by people lacking in talent who wish to attract attention to themselves. Everyone knows, for instance, that water is wet, and someone suddenly says, very seriously, that water is dry, not that ice is, but that water is dry, and the conviction with which this is stated attracts attention. Similarly, the whole world knows that virtue consists in the subjugation of one's passions, or in self-renunciation. It is not just the Christian world, against whom Nietzsche howls, that knows this, but it is an eternal supreme law towards which all humanity has developed, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and the ancient Persian religion. And suddenly a man appears who declares that he is convinced that self-renunciation, meekness, submissiveness and love are all vices that destroy humanity (he has in mind Christianity, ignoring all the other religions). One can understand why such a declaration baffled people at first. But after giving it a little thought and failing to find any proof of the strange propositions, any rational person ought to throw the books aside and wonder if there is any kind of rubbish that would not find a publisher today. But this has not happened with Nietzsche's books. The majority of pseudo-enlightened people seriously look into the theory of the superman, and acknowledge its author to be a great philosopher, a descendant of Descartes, Leibniz and Kant. And all this has come about because the majority of the pseudo-enlightened men of today object to any reminder of virtue, or to its chief premise: self-renunciation and love - virtues that restrain and condemn the animal side of their life. They gladly welcome a doctrine, however incoherently and disjointedly expressed, of egotism and cruelty, sanctioning the ideas of personal happiness and superiority over the lives of others, by which they live.
Leo Tolstoy
No matter what philosophical standpoint people may adopt nowadays, from every point of view the falsity of the world in which we think we live is the most certain and firmest thing which our eyes are still capable of apprehending: - for that we find reason after reason, which would like to entice us into conjectures about a fraudulent principle in the "essence of things." But anyone who makes our very thinking, that is, "the spirit," responsible for the falsity of the world - an honourable solution which every conscious or unconscious advocatus dei [pleader for god] uses -: whoever takes this world, together with space, time, form, and movement as a false inference, such a person would at least have good ground finally to learn to be distrustful of all thinking itself. Wouldn’t it be the case that thinking has played the greatest of all tricks on us up to this point? And what guarantee would there be that thinking would not continue to do what it has always done? In all seriousness: the innocence of thinkers has something touching, something inspiring reverence, which permits them even today still to present themselves before consciousness with the request that it give them honest answers: for example, to the question whether it is "real," and why it really keeps itself so absolutely separate from the outer world, and similar sorts of questions. The belief in "immediate certainties" is a moral naivete which brings honour to us philosophers - but we should not be "merely moral" men! Setting aside morality, this belief is a stupidity, which brings us little honour! It may be the case that in bourgeois life the constant willingness to suspect is considered a sign of a "bad character" and thus belongs among those things thought unwise. Here among us, beyond the bourgeois world and its affirmations and denials - what is there to stop us from being unwise and saying the philosopher has an absolute right to a "bad character," as the being who up to this point on earth has always been fooled the best - today he has the duty to be suspicious, to glance around maliciously from every depth of suspicion. Forgive me the joke of this gloomy grimace and way of expressing myself. For a long time ago I myself learned to think very differently about and make different evaluations of deceiving and being deceived, and I keep ready at least a couple of digs in the ribs for the blind anger with which philosophers themselves resist being deceived. Why not? It is nothing more than a moral prejudice that truth is worth more than appearance. That claim is even the most poorly demonstrated assumption there is in the world. People should at least concede this much: there would be no life at all if not on the basis of appearances and assessments from perspectives. And if people, with the virtuous enthusiasm and foolishness of some philosophers, wanted to do away entirely with the "apparent world," assuming, of course, you could do that, well then at least nothing would remain any more of your "truth" either! In fact, what compels us generally to the assumption that there is an essential opposition between "true" and "false"? Is it not enough to assume degrees of appearance and, as it were, lighter and darker shadows and tones for the way things appear - different valeurs [values], to use the language of painters? Why could the world about which we have some concern - not be a fiction? And if someone then asks "But doesn’t an author belong to a fiction?" could he not be fully answered with Why? Doesn’t this "belong to" perhaps belong to the fiction? Is it then forbidden to be a little ironic about the subject as well as about the predicate and the object? Is the philosopher not permitted to rise above a faith in grammar? All due respect to governesses, but might it not be time for philosophy to renounce faith in governesses?-
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
DEONTOLOGY AND CONCEQUENTIALISM, A NOVEL APPROACH: Consequentialism and Deontology (Deontological Ethics) are two contrasting categories of Normative Ethics, the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental principles that determine the morality of human actions (or non-actions). Their supposed difference is that while Consequentialism determines if an action is morally right or wrong by examining its consequences, Deontology focuses on the action itself, regardless of its consequences. To the hypothetical question “Should I do this man a little injustice, if by this I could save the whole humanity from torture and demise?”, the philosopher Immanuel Kant, a pure deontologist (absolutist) answers: “Fiat justitia, pereat mundus” (Do justice even if the whole world would perish). Superficially, it seems that a decent deontologist don’t care about consequences whatsoever. His/her one and only duty is to invariably obey to pre-existing, universal moral rules without exceptions: “do not kill”, “do not lie”, “do not use another human as a means to an end”, and so on. At this point I would like to present my thesis on this subject. The central idea here is that deontological ethics only appears to be indifferent to the consequences of an action. In fact, it is only these very consequences that determine what our moral rules and ethical duties should be. For example, the moral law “do not kill”, has its origin to the dire consequences that the killing of another human being brings about; for the victim (death), the perpetrator (often imprisonment or death) and for the whole humanity (collapse of society and civilization). Let us discuss the well-worn thought experiment of the mad axeman asking a mother where their young children are, so he can kill them. We suppose that the mother knows with 100% certainty that she can mislead him by lying and she can save her children from certain death (once again: supposing that she surely knows that she can save her children ONLY by lying, not by telling the truth or by avoiding to answer). In this thought experiment the hard deontologist would insist that it is immoral to lie, even if that would lead to horrible consequences. But, I assert that this deontological inflexibility is not only inhuman and unethical, it is also outrightly hypocritical. Because if the mother knows that their children are going to be killed if she tells the truth (or does not answer) and they are going to be saved if she tells a harmless lie, then by telling the truth she disobeys the moral law “do not kill/do not cause the death of an innocent”, which is much worse than the moral rule “do not lie”. The fact that she does not kill her children with her own hands is completely irrelevant. She could have saved them without harming another human, yet she chose not to. So the absolutist deontologist chooses actively to disobey a much more important moral law, only because she is not the immediate cause, but a cause via a medium (the crazy axeman in this particular thought experiment). So here are the two important conclusions: Firstly, Deontology in normative ethics is in reality a “masked consequentialism”, because the origin of a moral law is to be found in its consequences e.g. stealing is generally morally wrong, because by stealing, someone is deprived of his property that may be crucial for his survival or prosperity. Thus, the Deontology–Consequentialism dichotomy is a false one. And secondly, the fact that we are not the immediate “vessel” by which a moral rule is broken, but we nevertheless create or sustain a “chain of events” that will almost certainly lead to the breaking of a moral law, does surely not absolve us and does not give us the right to choose the worst outcome. Mister Immanuel Kant would avoid doing an innocent man an injustice, yet he would choose to lead billions of innocent people to agonizing death.
Giannis Delimitsos (NOVEL PHILOSOPHY: New ideas about Ethics, Epistemology, Science and the sweet Life)
Over the course of seventy years, Isobel had learned how indiscriminately unkind Life could be. She also knew that cataloguing and reviewing examples of such cruelty was, in itself, a masochistic exercise. One that she'd habitually and rigorously trained herself to refrain from engaging in. Better to focus on those events that demonstrated the grace and beauty with which Life could perform, without rival, when bestowing on her captive audience a distinctively intermittent yet consistently welcomed generosity of spirit.
Ella J. Fraser (A Tricky Lie (Sutherland Mystery Series, #1))
Some subjects are in themselves, perhaps, perfectly harmless, and any amount of discussion over them would not be injurious to the faith of our young people. We are told, for example, that the theory of gravitation is at best a hypothesis, and that such is the atomic theory. These theories help to explain certain things about nature. Whether they are ultimately true cannot make much difference to the religious convictions of our young people. On the other hand, there are speculations which touch the origin of life and the relationship of God to his children. In a very limited degree that relationship has been defined by revelation, and until we receive more light upon the subject we deem it best to refrain from the discussions of certain philosophical theories which rather destroy than build up the faith of our young people. . . . There are so many demonstrated, practical, material truths, so many spiritual certainties, with which the youth of Zion should become familiar, that it appears a waste of time and means, and detrimental to faith and religion to enter too extensively into the undemonstrated theories of men on philosophies relating to the origin of life, or the methods adopted by an All-wise Creator in peopling the earth with the bodies of men, birds and beasts. Let us rather turn our abilities to the practical analysis of the soil, the study of the elements, the productions of the earth, the invention of useful machinery, the social welfare of the race, and its material amelioration; and for the rest cultivate an abiding faith in the revealed word of God and the saving principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which give joy in this world and in the world to come eternal life and salvation. Philosophic theories of life have their place and use, but it is not in the classes of the Church schools, and particularly are they out of place here or anywhere else, when they seek to supplant the revelations of God. The ordinary student cannot delve into these subjects deep enough to make them of any practical use to him, and a smattering of knowledge in this line only tends to upset his simple faith in the gospel, which is of more value to him in life than all the learning of the world without it. The religion of the Latter-day Saints is not hostile to any truth, nor to scientific search for truth. "That which is demonstrated, we accept with joy," said the First Presidency in their Christmas greeting to the Saints, "but vain philosophy, human theory and mere speculations of men we do not accept, nor do we adopt anything contrary to divine revelation or to good common sense, but everything that tends to right conduct, that harmonizes with sound morality and increases faith in Deity, finds favor with us, no matter where it may be found.
Joseph F. Smith (Gospel Doctrine: Sermons and Writings of President Joseph F. Smith (Classics in Mormon Literature))
[Huxley's Perennial Philosophy is concerned with] the need to love the earth and respect nature instead of following the example of those who 'chopped down vast forests to provide the newsprint demanded by that universal literacy which was to make the world safe for intelligence and democracy, and got wholesale erosion, pulp magazines, and organs of Fascist, Communist, capitalist, and nationalist propaganda.' He attacked 'technological imperialism' and the mechanisation [sic] which was 'increasing the power of a minority to exercise a co-ersive control over the lives of their fellows' and 'the popular philosophy of life... now moulded by advertising copy whose one idea is to persuade everybody to be as extroverted and uninhibitedly greedy as possible, since of course it is only the possessive, the restless, the distracted, who spend money on the things that advertisers want to sell.
Nicholas Murray (Aldous Huxley: A Biography (Thomas Dunne Books))
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect.
We encounter this sometimes in our own circles today, as believers often feel obliged to smile in public even if they collapse at home in private despair. Calvin counters, “Such a cheerfulness is not required of us as to remove all feeling of bitterness and pain.” It is not as the Stoics of old foolishly described “the great-souled man”: one who, having cast off all human qualities, was affected equally by adversity and prosperity, by sad times and happy ones—nay, who like a stone was not affected at all. . . . Now, among the Christians there are also new Stoics, who count it depraved not only to groan and weep but also to be sad and care-ridden. These paradoxes proceed, for the most part, from idle men who, exercising themselves more in speculation than in action, can do nothing but invent such paradoxes for us. Yet we have nothing to do with this iron philosophy which our Lord and Master has condemned not only by his word, but also by his example. For he groaned and wept both over his own and others’ misfortunes. . . . And that no one might turn it into a vice, he openly proclaimed, “Blessed are those who mourn.”35 Especially given how some of Calvin’s heirs have confused a Northern European “stiff upper lip” stoicism with biblical piety, it is striking how frequently he rebuts this “cold” philosophy that would “turn us to stone.”36 Suffering is not to be denied or downplayed, but arouses us to flee to the asylum of the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. It is quite unimaginable that this theology of the cross will top the best-seller lists in our “be good–feel good” culture, but those who labor under perpetual sorrows, as Calvin did, will find solidarity in his stark realism: Then only do we rightly advance by the discipline of the cross when we learn that this life, judged in itself, is troubled, turbulent, unhappy in countless ways, and in no respect clearly happy; that all those things which are judged to be its goods are uncertain, fleeting, vain, and vitiated by many intermingled evils. From this, at the same time, we conclude that in this life we are to seek and hope for nothing but struggle; when we think of our crown, we are to raise our eyes to heaven. For this we must believe: that the mind is never seriously aroused to desire and ponder the life to come unless it is previously imbued with contempt for the present life.37
Michael S. Horton (Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever)
Live as if your life has become an example of goodness for others to follow.
Debasish Mridha
You’ve probably heard the stories about lottery winners losing it all. They’re not urban legends; they really happen. The depths people fall to after big lottery winnings are heartbreaking and mindboggling. And it isn’t only lottery winners. You’ve also heard the stories about famous movie stars, recording stars, or star athletes who make incredible fortunes, literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and somehow manage to wind up broke and in debt. And when you heard those stories, you probably thought the same thing I did: “Man, I don’t know how they pulled that off, but if I made that kind of money I sure wouldn’t squander it all like that!” But let me ask you a tough question: are you sure about that? Speaking as one who’s made it to the top and then seen it all evaporate, all I can say is, you might be surprised. There’s a reason those lottery winners lose it all again, a reason those shining stars plummet to those dark places: they may have had the big breaks, but they didn’t grasp the slight edge. Their winnings changed their bank account balance—but it didn’t change their philosophy. The purpose of this book is to show you the slight edge philosophy, show you how it works, give you plenty of examples, and show you exactly how to make it a core part of how you see the world and how you live your life every day. Throughout this book, if you look carefully you’ll find dozens of statements that embody this philosophy, statements like “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” Here are a few more examples that you’ll come across in the following pages: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.
Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness)
Christianity is not only the revelation of truth, but also the fountain of holiness under the unceasing inspiration of the spotless example of its Founder, which is more powerful than all the systems of moral philosophy. It attests its divine origin as much by its moral workings as by its pure doctrines. By its own inherent energy, without noise and commotion, without the favor of circumstance—nay, in spite of all possible obstacles, it has gradually wrought the greatest moral reformation, we should rather say, regeneration of society which history has ever seen while its purifying, ennobling, and cheering effects upon the private life of countless individuals are beyond the reach of the historian, though recorded in God’s book of life to be opened on the day of judgment. To appreciate this work, we must first review the moral condition of heathenism in its mightiest embodiment in history.
Philip Schaff (History Of The Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes In One))
I don’t believe in miracles, but my life is an amazing example of a miracle.
Debasish Mridha
God exists and he is an atom. So he exists in every thing and everywhere. An atom is a unit and example of life. It is constantly moving. It knows all the information that ever happened in this universe. So it is the source of life.
Debasish Mridha
Be an example and open a new way for life.
Debasish Mridha
This idea of “elements”—not only elements of nature, but elements of our life...apply this idea to the new analysis of subjectivity: immense mistake to consider it as flux of Erlebnisse. Subjectivity is first of all a field, and even its temporality has this structure. Absurdity to conceive it as a punctual present and the indefinite series of punctual-individual Erlebnisse which would be the past.For example, these sculptures remind me of beautiful rocks—one day when someone was showing me, with a sort of fervor which surprised me, some rocks, and gave me some of them, not without some hesitation. I don’t specify the memory or the place and it remains in doubt: it seems to me...Now this 'memory' is not an individual Erlebnis joined back through retention of retention in its singularity. Nor by 'association.' It is: 1. a category, an existential [connected], it is truly deposited in this sculpture that I am seeing, as a certain call is deposited in the three trees of Martinville. 2. An element therefore in the sense of water, of air, etc., that is, not an object or an individual, but a mode of sensing. The memory as a reference to a Zeitpunkt is to be understood as a limit case of these matrixes. There is no Zeitpunkt, no more than there is a spatial point. There are only spots, temporal as well as spatial, i.e., beings of transcendence. And the one who understands these beings of transcendence is a field and not 'representation' at all.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (The Merleau-Ponty Reader (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy))
In a medical context, such an etiology can mean that some Hindus would welcome suffering rather than try to alleviate it. Palliative care, for example, may not be desirable if the Hindu believes that her suffering is the expression and manifestation of pāpa (demeritorious) karma. A Hindu may believe that relieving suffering may merely delay the manifestation of pāpa karma. The relief, then, would only be temporary and may even incur more pāpa and prolong or intensify the inescapable.
Massimo Pigliucci (How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy)