Paradox Of Value Quotes

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If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?
Sam Harris
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Bob Moorehead (Words Aptly Spoken)
In contrast, the gratification and education received from Sanjit’s classes is slow burning, personal, and in a changing world allegedly becoming more attuned to and obsessed with requiring that money spent – especially on education – must yield tangible results, what many would view as a paradoxical dynamic nevertheless persists there, near Park Circus, Kolkata. No grades, no forced accountability, all voluntary learning.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
It becomes easier for me to accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which I would like to function. This must seem to some like a very strange direction in which to move. It seems to me to have value because the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming A Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
Evey: Who are you? V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey: Well I can see that. V. : Of course you can, I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is. Evey: Oh, right. V. : But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V. Evey: Are you like a crazy person? V. : I’m quite sure they will say so.
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
It's an incredible paradox that being a doctor is so degrading and yet is so valued by society
Samuel Shem (The House of God)
… the paradox is one of our most valued spiritual possessions...
C.G. Jung (The Collected Works of C.G. Jung)
Today, as we have seen, fascism and communism are discredited, but are replaced by a paraphilic consumer culture driven by fantasy, desperately in search of distractions and escalating sensations, and a fundamentalist culture wherein the rigors of a private journey are shunned in favor of an ideology that, at the expense of the paradoxes and complexities of truth, favors one-sided resolutions, black-and-white values, and a privileging of one's own complexes as the norm for others.
James Hollis (Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves)
A mature person has the integrity to be alone. And when a mature person gives love, he gives without any strings attached to it: he simply gives. And when a mature person gives love, he feels grateful that you have accepted his love, not vice versa. He does not expect you to be thankful for it – no, not at all, he does not even need your thanks. He thanks you for accepting his love. And when two mature persons are in love, one of the greatest paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone, they are together so much so that they are almost one. But their oneness does not destroy their individuality; in fact, it enhances it: they become more individual. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. How can you dominate the person you love? Just think over it. Domination is a sort of hatred, anger, enmity. How can you even think of dominating a person you love? You would love to see the person totally free, independent; you will give him more individuality. That’s why I call it the greatest paradox: they are together so much so that they are almost one, but still in that oneness they are individuals. Their individualities are not effaced; they have become more enhanced. The other has enriched them as far as their freedom is concerned. Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness. Remember, freedom is a higher value than love. That’s why, in India, the ultimate we call moksha. Moksha means freedom. Freedom is a higher value than love. So if love is destroying freedom, it is not of worth. Love can be dropped, freedom has to be saved; freedom is a higher value. And without freedom you can never be happy, that is not possible. Freedom is the intrinsic desire of each man, each woman – utter freedom, absolute freedom. So anything that becomes destructive to freedom, one starts hating it. Don’t you hate the man you love? Don’t you hate the woman you love? You hate; it is a necessary evil, you have to tolerate it. Because you cannot be alone you have to manage to be with somebody, and you have to adjust to the other’s demands. You have to tolerate, you have to bear them. Love, to be really love, has to be being-love, gift-love. Being-love means a state of love. When you have arrived home, when you have known who you are, then a love arises in your being. Then the fragrance spreads and you can give it to others. How can you give something which you don’t have? To give it, the first basic requirement is to have it.
Osho (Tantric Transformation: When Love Meets Meditation (OSHO Classics))
The paradox of short-term thinking is that it often ends up being more damaging and more expensive than longer-term thinking.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume II - Essential Frameworks for Disruption and Uncertainty)
I find it hard to talk about myself. I'm always tripped up by the eternal who am I? paradox. Sure, no one knows as much pure data about me as me. But when I talk about myself, all sorts of other factors--values, standards, my own limitations as an observer--make me, the narrator, select and eliminate things about me, the narratee. I've always been disturbed by the thought that I'm not painting a very objective picture of myself. This kind of thing doesn't seem to bother most people. Given the chance, people are surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. "I'm honest and open to a ridiculous degree," they'll say, or "I'm thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world." Or "I am very good at sensing others' true feelings." But any number of times I've seen people who say they've easily hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they're doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those "good at sensing others' true feelings" are duped by the most transparent flattery. It's enough to make me ask the question: How well do we really know ourselves? The more I think about it, the more I'd like to take a rain check on the topic of me. What I'd like to know more about is the objective reality of things outside myself. How important the world outside is to me, how I maintain a sense of equilibrium by coming to terms with it. That's how I'd grasp a clearer sense of who I am.
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
It's a wonderful paradox: only when you have a changeless sense of who you are, can real changes take place. It is the ground of your absolute value and everything that is truly worthwhile.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
The greatest influence in writing was G. K. Chesterton who never used a useless word, who saw the value of a paradox, and avoided what was trite.
Fulton J. Sheen (Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen)
It was odd, paradoxical-crazy-that what Rosie seemed to value most about me, a highly organized person who avoided uncertainty and liked to plan in detail, was that my behavior generated unpredictable consequences. But if that was what she loved, I was not going to argue. What I was going to argue was that she should not abandon something she valued.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman, #2))
You don't value things that easily come to you. You value things that are hard to get. You keep running after them and complain, "Why are things I desire hard to get?
For Schwartz this formed the paradox at the heart of baseball, or football, or any other sport. You loved it because you considered it an art: an apparently pointless affair, undertaken by people with special aptitude, which sidestepped attempts to paraphrase its value yet somehow seemed to communicate something true or even crucial about The Human Condition. The Human Condition being, basically, that we're alive and have access to beauty, can even erratically create it, but will someday be dead and will not. Baseball was an art, but to excel at it you had to become a machine. It didn't matter how beautifully you performed SOMETIMES, what you did on your best day, how many spectacular plays you made. You weren't a painter or a writer--you didn't work in private and discard your mistakes, and it wasn't just your masterpieces that counted.
Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding)
We call the effect from the combination of Amara’s Law and exponential growth the “Inflection Paradox.” One issue which exacerbates the Inflection Paradox is that innovations are often explored in isolation. In reality, breakthroughs occur across fields. This is why change is often slow… until it isn’t.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume IV - Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation)
We see much more of this loneliness now. It's paradoxical that that where people are the most closely crowded in the big coastal cities in the East and West, the loneliness is greatest. Back where people are so spread out in Western Oregon and Idaho and Montana and the Dakotas you'd think the loneliness would have been greater, but we didn't see it so much. The explanation, I suppose, is that the physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It's the psychic distance, and in Montana and Idaho the physical distances are long but the psychic distances between people are small, and here, in primary America, it's reversed.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
Freedom to choose has what might be called expressive value. Choice is what enables us to tell the world who we are and what we care about.
Barry Schwartz (The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less)
To be bored, therefore, does not mean that we have nothing to do, but that we question the value of the things we are so busy doing. The great paradox of our time is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life)
Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is based on the idea of approximation. If a man tells you he knows a thing exactly, then you can be safe in inferring that you are speaking to an inexact man. —Bertrand Russell
Douglas W. Hubbard (How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business)
It seems to me to have value because the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming A Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
The depressed person’s therapist was always extremely careful to avoid appearing to judge or blame the depressed person for clinging to her defenses, or to suggest that the depressed person had in any way consciously chosen or chosen to cling to a chronic depression whose agony made her (i.e., the depressed person’s) every waking hour feel like more than any person could possibly endure. This renunciation of judgment or imposed value was held by the therapeutic school in which the therapist’s philosophy of healing had evolved over almost fifteen years of clinical experience to be integral to the combination of unconditional support and complete honesty about feelings which composed the nurturing professionalism required for a productive therapeutic journey toward authenticity and intrapersonal wholeness. Defenses against intimacy, the depressed person’s therapist’s experiential theory held, were nearly always arrested or vestigial survival-mechanisms; i.e., they had, at one time, been environmentally appropriate and necessary and had very probably served to shield a defenseless childhood psyche against potentially unbearable trauma, but in nearly all cases they (i.e., the defense-mechanisms) had become inappropriately imprinted and arrested and were now, in adulthood, no longer environmentally appropriate and in fact now, paradoxically, actually caused a great deal more trauma and pain than they prevented. Nevertheless, the therapist had made it clear from the outset that she was in no way going to pressure, hector, cajole, argue, persuade, flummox, trick, harangue, shame, or manipulate the depressed person into letting go of her arrested or vestigial defenses before she (i.e., the depressed person) felt ready and able to risk taking the leap of faith in her own internal resources and self-esteem and personal growth and healing to do so (i.e., to leave the nest of her defenses and freely and joyfully fly).
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
Adam Smith called it the paradox of value: when an important good becomes plentiful, it costs far less than what people are willing to pay for it. The difference is called consumer surplus, and the explosion of this surplus over time is impossible to tabulate.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
One of the greatest paradoxes of the Black Power movement was that it talked unceasingly about not imitating the values of white society, but in advocating violence it was imitating the worst, the most brutal, and the most uncivilized value of American life. American Negroes had not been mass murderers. They had not murdered children in Sunday school, nor had they hung white men on trees bearing strange fruit. They had not been hooded perpetrators of violence, lynching human beings at will and drowning them at whim.
Martin Luther King Jr. (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
To build a road is so much simpler than to think of what the country really needs. A roadless marsh is seemingly as worthless to the alphabetical conservationist as an undrained one was to the empire-builders. Solitude, the one natural resource still undowered of alphabets, is so far recognized as valuable only by ornithologists and cranes. Thus always does history, whether or marsh or market place, end in paradox. The ultimate value in these marshes is wildness, and the crane is wildness incarnate. But all conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac; with essays on conservation from Round River)
Mystics have spoken to us through the ages in terms of paradox. Is it possible that we are beginning to see a meeting ground between science and religion? When we are able to say that “a human is both mortal and eternal at the same time” and “light is both a wave and a particle at the same time,” we have begun to speak the same language. Is it possible that the path of spiritual growth that
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
True belonging is not something you negotiate externally, it’s what you carry in your heart. It’s finding the sacredness in being a part of something. When we reach this place, even momentarily, we belong everywhere and nowhere. That seems absurd, but it’s true. Carl Jung argued that a paradox is one of our most valued spiritual possessions and a great witness to the truth. It makes sense to me that we’re called to combat this spiritual crisis of disconnection with one of our most valued spiritual possessions. Bearing witness to the truth is rarely easy, especially when we’re alone in the wilderness.
Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone)
Volunteering to help others is the right thing to do, and it also boosts personal happiness; a review of research by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows that those who aid the causes they value tend to be happier and in better health. They show fewer signs of physical and mental aging. And it's not just that helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; helping others causes happiness. "Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons," as one of my happiness paradoxes holds. About one-quarter of Americans volunteer, and of those, a third volunteer for more than a hundred hours each year.
Gretchen Rubin (Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life)
definition of infrastructure as the most efficient mechanism through which a society stores or distributes value.
Clayton M. Christensen (The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty)
to a paradox in our experience of agency: to be master of your own stuff entails also being mastered by it.
Matthew B. Crawford (Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work)
And another lovely paradox: we can be humble only when we know that we are God’s children, of infinite value, and eternally loved.
Madeleine L'Engle (Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art)
In this temporal existence, perfection is an illusion, regardless of those who believe in its concept. Perfection is devoid of any value. Perfection, after all, implies you've reached the zenith. There is no possibility or potentiality. There is no room for imagination. There is no ability to visualize a concept. Perfection is limited by its own nature, which in short, is zero.
Lionel Suggs
The more we live as 'free individuals' . . . the more we are effectively non-free, caught within the existing frame of possibilities--we have to be impelled or disturbed into freedom. . . . This paradox thoroughly pervades the form of subjectivity that characterizes 'permissive' liberal society. Since permissiveness and free choice are elevated into a supreme value, social control and domination can no longer appear as infringing on subjects' freedom: they have to appear as (and be sustained by) individuals experiencing themselves as free. There is a multitude of forms of this appearing of un-freedom in the guise of its opposite: in being deprived of universal healthcare, we are told that we are being given a new freedom of choice (to choose our healthcare provider); when we can no longer rely on long-term employment and are compelled to search for a new precarious job every couple of years, we are told that we are being given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and discover our creative potential; when we have to pay for the education of our children, we are told that we are now able to become 'entrepreneurs of the self," acting like a capitalist freely choosing how to invest the resources he possesses (or has borrowed). In education, health, travel . . . we are constantly bombarded by imposed 'free choices'; forced to make decisions for which we are mostly not qualified (or do not possess enough information), we increasingly experience our freedom as a burden that causes unbearable anxiety. Unable to break out of this vicious cycle alone, as isolated individuals--since the more we act freely the more we become enslaved by the system--we need to be 'awakened' from this 'dogmatic slumber' of fake freedom.
Slavoj Žižek
Attaining the goal of a full, happy life, ripe with experiences well-used, means that each of us will become a paradox—free, yet constrained by necessity; shrewd, yet innocent; open to others, yet self-reliant; strong, yet able to yield; centered on the highest values, yet able to accept imperfection; realistic about the suffering existence imposes on us, yet full of gratitude for life as it is.
Don Richard Riso (Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery)
Paradoxically, it is friendship that often offers us the real route to the pleasures that Romanticism associates with love. That this sounds surprising is only a reflection of how underdeveloped our day-to-day vision of friendship has become. We associate it with a casual acquaintance we see only once in a while to exchange inconsequential and shallow banter. But real friendship is something altogether more profound and worthy of exultation. It is an arena in which two people can get a sense of each other’s vulnerabilities, appreciate each other’s follies without recrimination, reassure each other as to their value and greet the sorrows and tragedies of existence with wit and warmth. Culturally and collectively, we have made a momentous mistake which has left us both lonelier and more disappointed than we ever needed to be. In a better world, our most serious goal would be not to locate one special lover with whom to replace all other humans but to put our intelligence and energy into identifying and nurturing a circle of true friends. At the end of an evening, we would learn to say to certain prospective companions, with an embarrassed smile as we invited them inside – knowing that this would come across as a properly painful rejection – ‘I’m so sorry, couldn’t we just be … lovers?
The School of Life (The School of Life: An Emotional Education)
The cross is a paradoxical religious symbol because it inverts the world’s value system with the news that hope comes by way of defeat, that suffering and death do not have the last word, that the last shall be first and the first last.
James H. Cone (The Cross and the Lynching Tree)
They have learned not to expect their father to attend to them or to be expressive about much of anything. They have come to expect him to be psychologically unavailable. They have also learned that he is not accountable in his emotional absence, that Mother does not have the power either to engage him or to confront him. In other words, Father’s neglect and Mother’s ineffectiveness at countering it teach the boys that, in this family at least, men’s participation is not a responsibility but rather a voluntary and discretionary act. Third, they learn that Mother, and perhaps women in general, need not be taken too seriously. Finally, they learn that not just Mother but the values she manifests in the family—connection, expressivity—are to be devalued and ignored. The subtext message is, “engage in ‘feminine’ values and activities and risk a similar devaluation yourself.” The paradox for the boys is that the only way to connect with their father is to echo his disconnection. Conversely, being too much like Mother threatens further disengagement or perhaps, even active reprisal. In this moment, and thousands of other ordinary moments, these boys are learning to accept psychological neglect, to discount nurture, and to turn the vice of such abandonment into a manly virtue.
Terrence Real (I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression)
As beasts are beneath human restraints, gods are above them... It would be foolish and untruthful to deny the appeal of exalted, godlike intoxication....We have seen the paradox that these godlike exalted moments often correspond to times when the men who have survived them say that they have acted like beasts....Above all, a sense of merely human virtue, a sense of being valued and of valuing anything seems to have fled their lives....However, all of our virtues come from not being gods. Generosity is meaningless to a god, who never suffers shortage or want. Courage is meaningless to a god, who is immortal and can never suffer permanent injury. The godlike berserk state can destroy the capacity for virtue. Whether the berserker is beneath humanity as an animal, above it as a god, or both, he is cut off from all human community when he is in this state.
Jonathan Shay (Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character)
In his lecture on Jesus, Brown meditated on the unlikely paradox that any institution could represent this man because institutions, by their very nature, have to follow particular laws if they are to survive and prosper; and the main law of institutional survival is that the many take precedence over the few. If institutions are to endure they have to place a higher value on their own endurance than on loyalty to individuals, no matter how attractive or charismatic they may be.
Richard Holloway (Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity)
The first commendment of hte post 1970s meritocracy can be sumed up as follows: "Thou shall provide equality of opportunity to all, regardless of race, gender, or sexual oritentation, but worry not about equality of outcomes." But what we've seen time and time again is that the two aren't so neatly separated. If you don't concern yourself at all with equality fo outcomes, you will, over time, produce a system with horrendous inequality of opportunity. This is the paradox of meritocracy: It can only truly come to flower in a society that starts out with a relatively high degree of equality. So if you want meritocracy, work for equality. Because it is only in a society which values equality of actual outcomes, one that promotes the commonweal and social solidarity, that equal opportunity and earned mobility can flourish.
Christopher L. Hayes (Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy)
change requires destruction, whether or not you value the destroyed.
Andreas Wagner (Paradoxical Life)
Stereotypes have value when you can weaponize them. They blind people to your true motives.
Charles Wachter (The Twin Paradox: Soon to be a Major Motion Picture)
A town with many men who are less educated and as such ignorant of the real solution to the woes of their society has the same problem as a town with many intellectuals and yet with many problems
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Of course, there’s no clear line between who creates wealth and who shifts it. Lots of jobs do both. There’s no denying that the financial sector can contribute to our wealth and grease the wheels of other sectors in the process. Banks can help to spread risks and back people with bright ideas. And yet, these days, banks have become so big that much of what they do is merely shuffle wealth around, or even destroy it. Instead of growing the pie, the explosive expansion of the banking sector has increased the share it serves itself.4 Or take the legal profession. It goes without saying that the rule of law is necessary for a country to prosper. But now that the U.S. has seventeen times the number of lawyers per capita as Japan, does that make American rule of law seventeen times as effective?5 Or Americans seventeen times as protected? Far from it. Some law firms even make a practice of buying up patents for products they have no intention of producing, purely to enable them to sue people for patent infringement. Bizarrely, it’s precisely the jobs that shift money around – creating next to nothing of tangible value – that net the best salaries. It’s a fascinating, paradoxical state of affairs. How is it possible that all those agents of prosperity – the teachers, the police officers, the nurses – are paid so poorly, while the unimportant, superfluous, and even destructive shifters do so well?
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
Life is hard when you don’t do what you truly value because you are putting all your energy into trying to get rid of your fears rather than into materializing your dreams. When you’re stuck within your comfort zone, life becomes stifling—and therefore, very uncomfortable! In a paradoxical way, the easy life includes the experience of discomfort. It is when we try to avoid naturally occurring pain or discomfort that life becomes difficult.
Maria Nemeth (The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment)
How can what is not only dead and gone, but remote and sometimes alien, have any practical bearing on today's world? The answer is that, paradoxically, the value of the past lies precisely in what is different from our world. By giving us another vantage point, it enables us to look at our own circumstances with sharper vision, alert to the possibility that they might have been different, and that they will probably turn out differently in the future.
John Tosh (Why History Matters)
The Church, then, is too much interested in men and too much absorbed in God. Of course she is too much interested and too much absorbed, for she alone knows the value and capacity of both; she who is herself both Divine and Human.
Robert Hugh Benson (Paradoxes of Catholicism)
Reasoning does create a paradox: it leads both to more rule following and more rebelliousness. By explaining moral principles, parents encourage their children to comply voluntarily with rules that align with important values and to question rules that don’t. Good explanations enable children to develop a code of ethics that often coincides with societal expectations; when they don’t square up, children rely on the internal compass of values rather than the external compass of rules.
Adam Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
But I do know that there is incredible value in pain and suffering, if you allow yourself to experience it, to cry, to feel sorrow and grief, to hurt. Walk through the fire and you will emerge on the other end, whole and stronger. I promise. You will ultimately find truth and beauty and wisdom and peace. You will understand that nothing lasts forever, not pain, or joy. You will understand that joy cannot exist without sadness. Relief cannot exist without pain. Compassion cannot exist without cruelty. Courage cannot exist without fear. Hope cannot exist without despair. Wisdom cannot exist without suffering. Gratitude cannot exist without deprivation. Paradoxes abound in this life. Living is an exercise in navigating within them.
Julie Yip-Williams (The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After)
Periods of relaxed social-sexual mores and less structured romantic relationships (such as in the late 1960s and 1970s) are more difficult for borderlines to handle; increased freedom and lack of structure paradoxically imprison the borderline, who is severely handicapped in devising his own individual system of values. Conversely, the sexual withdrawal period of the late 1980s (due in part to the AIDS epidemic) can be ironically therapeutic for borderline personalities. Social fears enforce strict boundaries that can be crossed only at the risk of great physical harm; impulsivity and promiscuity now have severe penalties in the form of STDs, violent sexual deviants, and so on. This external structure can help protect the borderline from his own self-destructiveness.
Jerold J. Kreisman (I Hate You--Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality)
One of the things I cannnot grasp, though I have often written about them, trying to get them into some kind of bearable perspective," Steiner writes, "is the time relation." Steiner has just quoted descriptions of the brutal deaths of two Jews at the Treblinka extermination camp. "Precisely at the same hour in which Mehring and Langner were being done to death, the overwhelming plurality of human beings, two miles away on the Polish farms, five thousand miles away in New York, were sleeping or eating or going to a film or making love or worrying about the dentist. This is where my imagination balks. The two orders of simultaneous experience are so different, so irreconcilable to any common norm of human values, their coexistence is so hideous a paradox-Treblinka is both because some men have built it and almost all other men let it be-that I puzzle over time.
William Styron (Sophie’s Choice)
It may seem paradoxical to you that preventing the destruction of the environment by market society’s preference for exchange value over experiential value should require us to convert every last remaining experiential value into exchange value, but this type of thinking and proposal is currently all the rage.
Yanis Varoufakis (Talking to My Daughter)
We are the center. In each of our minds - some may call it arrogance, or selfishness - we are the center, and all the world moves about us, and for us, and because of us. This is the paradox of community, the one and the whole, the desires of the one often in direct conflict with the needs of the whole. Who among us has not wondered if all the world is no more than a personal dream? I do not believe that such thoughts are arrogant or selfish. It is simply a matter of perception; we can empathize with someone else, but we cannot truly see the world as another person sees it, or judge events as they affect the mind and the heart of another, even a friend. But we must try. For the sake of all the world, we must try. This is the test of altruism, the most basic and undeniable ingredient for society. Therein lies the paradox, for ultimately, logically, we each must care more about ourselves than about others, and yet, if, as rational beings we follow that logical course, we place our needs and desires above the needs of our society, and then there is no community. I come from Menzoberranzan, city of drow, city of self. I have seen that way of selfishness. I have seen it fail miserably. When self-indulgence rules, then all the community loses, and in the end, those striving for personal gains are left with nothing of any real value. Because everything of value that we will know in this life comes from our relationships with those around us. Because there is nothing material that measures against the intangibles of love and friendship. Thus, we must overcome that selfishness and we must try, we must care. I saw this truth plainly following the attack on Captain Deudermont in Watership. My first inclination was to believe that my past had precipitated the trouble, that my life course had again brought pain to a friend. I could not bear this thought. I felt old and I felt tired. Subsequently learning that the trouble was possibly brought on by Deudermont's old enemies, not my own, gave me more heart for the fight. Why is that? The danger to me was no less, nor was the danger to Deudermont, or to Catti-brie or any of the others about us. Yet my emotions were real, very real, and I recognized and understood them, if not their source. Now, in reflection, I recognize that source, and take pride in it. I have seen the failure of self-indulgence; I have run from such a world. I would rather die because of Deudermont's past than have him die because of my own. I would suffer the physical pains, even the end of my life. Better that than watch one I love suffer and die because of me. I would rather have my physical heart torn from my chest, than have my heart of hearts, the essence of love, the empathy and the need to belong to something bigger than my corporeal form, destroyed. They are a curious thing, these emotions. How they fly in the face of logic, how they overrule the most basic instincts. Because, in the measure of time, in the measure of humanity, we sense those self-indulgent instincts to be a weakness, we sense that the needs of the community must outweigh the desires of the one. Only when we admit to our failures and recognize our weaknesses can we rise above them. Together.
R.A. Salvatore (Passage to Dawn (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #4; Legend of Drizzt, #10))
Boredom is a sentiment of disconnectedness . . .To be bored, therefore, does not mean that we have nothing to do, but that we question the value of the things we are so busy doing. The great paradox of our time is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time . . . In short, while our lives are full, we feel unfulfilled.
Tyler Staton (Searching for Enough: The High-Wire Walk Between Doubt and Faith)
Thus always does history, whether of marsh or market place, end in paradox. The ultimate value in these marshes is wildness, and the crane is wildness incarnate. But all conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wildness left to cherish.
Aldo Leopold (Marshland Elegy)
Whatever we most admire and look up to—God, the truths of mathematics, the laws of nature—is endowed with an existence that transcends time. We act inside time but judge our actions by timeless standards. As a result of this paradox, we live in a state of alienation from what we most value. This alienation affects every one of our aspirations.
Lee Smolin (Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe)
There is only a limited number of plots, recurring down the ages, derived from an even more limited number of basic patterns-the conflicts, paradoxes, and predicaments inherent in man's condition. And if we continue the stripping game, we find that all these paradoxes and predicaments arose from conflicts between incompatible frames of experience or scales of value, illuminated in consciousness by the bisociative act. In this final illumination Aristotle saw 'the highest form of learning' because it shows us that we are 'men, not gods'; and he called tragedy 'the noblest form of literature' because it purges suffering from its pettiness by showing that its causes lie in the inescapable predicaments of existence.
Arthur Koestler (The Act of Creation)
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day. In the meantime he will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
The otherworldliness of the Christian life ought, Luther concluded, to be manifested in the very midst of the world, in the Christian community and in its daily life. Hence the Christian's task is to live out that life in terms of his secular calling. That is the way to die unto the world. The value of the secular calling for the Christian is that it provides an opporunity of living the Christian life with the support of God's grace, and of engaging more vigorously in the assault on the world and everything that it stands for. Luther did not return to the world because he had arrived at a more positive attitude towards it. Nor had he abandoned the eschatological expectation of early Christianity. He intended his action to expres a radical criticism and protest against the secularization of Chrisitanity which had taken place within monasticism. By recalling the Christians into the world he called them paradoxically out of it all the more. That was what Luther experienced in his own person. His call to men to return to the world was essentially a call to enter the visible Church of the incarnate Lord.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
I narrowed the focus of my research to examine a specific expression of the relational paradox: the psychosociology of eating animals, a phenomenon I named carnism. Seeking to understand how people who care about the well-being of nonhuman animals nevertheless consume (or kill) them, I conducted interviews and surveys, and coded and analyzed responses. I concluded that eating (certain) animals results from extensive social and psychological conditioning that causes naturally empathic and rational people to distort their perceptions and block their empathy so that they act against their values of compassion and justice without fully realizing what they're doing. In other words, carnism teaches us to violate the Golden Rule without knowing or caring that we're doing so.
Melanie Joy (Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation)
How do we be with the paradoxes our people bring? We can align with one side of the conundrum and dismiss the other in an effort to relieve the unsettling experience that the logically unresolvable contradiction brings to us and our people. However, if we do this, we are stepping away from our person's experience because he or she is living inside the paradox and can't move away. Staying present asks us to hold the full paradox within our own minds and bodies, to enter the suffering that entails. If we are able to do this and remain in a ventral state, it seems that something happens and we may be able to enter a state in which the paradox begins to reveal its value a little differently than ever before ... As we settled into this broader acceptance together, I believe we made room for the possibility of the arrival of a resolving third thing in its own time.
Bonnie Badenoch (The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology))
But ranchers who cherish the western life and its values also pray for oil wells in their calving pasture or a coal lease on prime grassland. Economics has pressed them into such a paradoxical state. For years, they've borrowed $100,000 for operating costs; now they can't afford interest. Disfigurement is synonymous with the whole idea of a frontier. As soon as we lay our hands on it, the freedom we thought it represented is quickly gone.
Gretel Ehrlich (The Solace of Open Spaces)
Capitalism is rotten at every level, and yet it adds up to something extraordinarily useful for society over time. The paradox of capitalism is that adding a bunch of bad-sounding ideas together creates something incredible that is far more good than bad. Capitalism inspires people to work hard, to take reasonable risks, and to create value for customers. On the whole, capitalism channels selfishness in a direction that benefits civilization, not counting a few fat cats who have figured out how to game the system. You have the same paradox with personal energy. If you look at any individual action that boosts your personal energy, it might look like selfishness. Why are you going skiing when you should be working at the homeless shelter, you selfish bastard! My proposition is that organizing your life to optimize your personal energy will add up to something incredible that is more good than bad.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
As we have so often seen, the task of ego consciousness in the second half of life is to step out of the way and embrace a larger spiritual agenda. Contrary to the fantasy of the youthful ego, this larger life will quite often be found in the savannahs of suffering—not on the lofty peaks of New Age transcendence, or in fundamentalism’s fearful flight from complexity, but down in what Yeats called “the fury and mire of human veins.” Only in this way do we grow, and do we find, amid suffering and defeat, the possibility of meaning so rich we can scarcely bear it. For this embrace of suffering, this acceptance of paradox, we deserve to be valued. As Jung put it so aptly, “This apparently unendurable conflict is proof of the rightness of your life. A life without inner contradiction is only half a life, or else a life in the Beyond which is destined only for angels. But God loves human beings more than the angels.
James Hollis (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up)
Our stories may not always be pleasant as they’re being lived. They can in fact be just the opposite, acquiring a warm hue only in retrospect. “I think this boils down to a philosophical question rather than a psychological one,” Tom Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell, tells me. “Should you value moment-to-moment happiness more than retrospective evaluations of your life?” He says he has no answer for this, but the example he offers suggests a bias.
Jennifer Senior (All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood)
Ideological social justice actually values uniformity, paradoxically, in the name of diversity. There is no unity-diversity balance in this worldview. The affirmation and value of “diversity” is actually strictly limited to only a few select categories. Beyond these, there is stifling pressure to conform. The diversity that is affirmed is group difference, not individual difference, and even among groups, not all group differences are equally celebrated—or even tolerated.
Scott David Allen (Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis)
Phaethon asked: “Do you think there is something wrong with the Sophotechs? We are Manorials, father! We let Rhadamanthus control our finances and property, umpire our disputes, teach our children, design our thoughtscapes, and even play matchmaker to find us wives and husbands!” “Son, the Sophotechs may be sufficient to advise the Parliament on laws and rules. Laws are a matter of logic and common sense. Specially designed human-thinking versions, like Rhadamanthus, can tell us how to fulfill our desires and balance our account books. Those are questions of strategy, of efficient allocation of resources and time. But the Sophotechs, they cannot choose our desires for us. They cannot guide our culture, our values, our tastes. That is a question of the spirit.” “Then what would you have us do? Would you change our laws?” “Our mores, not our laws. There are many things which are repugnant, deadly to the spirit, and self-destructive, but which law should not forbid. Addiction, self-delusion, self-destruction, slander, perversion, love of ugliness. How can we discourage such things without the use of force? It was in response to this need that the College of Hortators evolved. Peacefully, by means of boycotts, public protests, denouncements, and shunnings, our society can maintain her sanity against the dangers to our spirit, to our humanity, to which such unboundried liberty, and such potent technology, exposes us.” (...) But Phaethon certainly did not want to hear a lecture, not today. “Why are you telling me all this? What is the point?” “Phaethon, I will let you pass through those doors, and, once through, you will have at your command all the powers and perquisites I myself possess. The point of my story is simple. The paradox of liberty of which you spoke before applies to our entire society. We cannot be free without being free to harm ourselves. Advances in technology can remove physical dangers from our lives, but, when they do, the spiritual dangers increase. By spiritual danger I mean a danger to your integrity, your decency, your sense of life. Against those dangers I warn you; you can be invulnerable, if you choose, because no spiritual danger can conquer you without your own consent. But, once they have your consent, those dangers are all-powerful, because no outside force can come to your aid. Spiritual dangers are always faced alone. It is for this reason that the Silver-Gray School was formed; it is for this reason that we practice the exercise of self-discipline. Once you pass those doors, my son, you will be one of us, and there will be nothing to restrain you from corruption and self-destruction except yourself. “You have a bright and fiery soul, Phaethon, a power to do great things; but I fear you may one day unleash such a tempest of fire that you may consume yourself, and all the world around you.
John C. Wright (The Golden Age (Golden Age, #1))
The facts are as follows. The total amount of DNA in different organisms is very variable, and the variation does not make obvious sense in terms of phylogeny. This is the so-called ‘C-value paradox’. ‘It seems totally implausible that the number of radically different genes needed in a salamander is 20 times that found in a man’ (Orgel & Crick 1980). It is equally implausible that salamanders on the West side of North America should need many times more DNA than congeneric salamanders on the East side.
Richard Dawkins (The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene)
Medicine’s focus is narrow. Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul. Yet—and this is the painful paradox—we have decided that they should be the ones who largely define how we live in our waning days. For more than half a century now, we have treated the trials of sickness, aging, and mortality as medical concerns. It’s been an experiment in social engineering, putting our fates in the hands of people valued more for their technical prowess than for their understanding of human needs.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
Paradoxically, the man who had distinguished himself in history’s greatest military conflict harbored a deep characterological aversion to conflict among his military colleagues as well as in the civil society over which he eventually presided. Ironically, the very skills of process leadership that gained Eisenhower such immense popularity and thus uniquely positioned him to transform his countrymen’s values on the race question evidenced a personality incapable of embracing the necessarily divisive role that civil rights leadership required.
Walter Isaacson (Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness)
As Clor observes, the moderate knows she cannot have it all. There are tensions between rival goods, and you just have to accept that you will never get to live a pure and perfect life, devoted to one truth or one value. The moderate has limited aspirations about what can be achieved in public life. The paradoxes embedded into any situation do not allow for a clean and ultimate resolution. You expand liberty at the cost of encouraging license. You crack down on license at the cost of limiting liberty. There is no escaping this sort of trade-off.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
Kurt Gödel, who was able to prove in 1940 that given any axiomatic system that can produce arithmetic, we have to choose between completeness and coherence. Completeness means that the truth value of every statement in the system is determinable—that is that all statements can be assigned the appropriate truth value (usually true or false, for us). Coherence means that there are no contradictory statements, which is to say no paradoxes, within the system. We can have one or the other, but except in very special cases that have little applicability, we cannot have both.
James Lindsay (Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly)
But if he is angry at the world for doing him harm, why does he take it out on his loving partner? Couldn’t he just as readily express his rage by playing racquetball or pounding pillows. His ideas about her role seem paradoxical. On the one hand, the narcissistic husband has vested his wife with tremendous power. She is necessary for his self-repair, but instead of valuing her and seeking comfort in her arms, he beats and humiliates her. Because he sees her as available to meet any and all of his needs, he releases his rage and any self-hate at her; such an act helps him ultimately feel powerful again, making him realize he is not weak and shattered. When the narcissistic man eels the terror and rage associated with his own internal fragmentation, his outburst restores his sense of power and control. He turns the anger expanding within him away from himself, toward his wife. He insists that she’s the defective one, she’s to blame, because she has not met his needs. Such acts of externalization are key to the NPD batterer. His violent behavior restores his self-esteem. He believes that his actions are not his fault; he is just trying to take care of himself.
Susan Weitzman (Not To People Like Us: Hidden Abuse In Upscale Marriages)
The quotes, talks, and speeches presented here are rooted in the old-fashioned Midwestern values for which Charlie has become known: lifelong learning, intellectual curiosity, sobriety, avoidance of envy and resentment, reliability, learning from the mistakes of others, perseverance, objectivity, willingness to test one’s own beliefs, and many more. But his advice comes not in the form of stentorian admonishments; instead, Charlie uses humor, inversions (following the directive of the great algebraist [Carl] Jacobi to “invert, always invert”), and paradox to provide sage counsel about life’s toughest challenges.
Charles T. Munger (Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger)
Paradoxically, liberalism and its historical party, the Democrats, are conservative, not by choice but by virtue of the radical character of the Republicans. At the historical moment when the citizenry is strongly antipolitical and responds to immaterial “values,” the Democrats, in order to preserve a semblance of a political identity, are forced into a conservatism. Out of desperation rather than conviction, they struggle halfheartedly to preserve the remains of their past achievements of social welfare, public education, government regulation of the economy, racial equality, and the defense of trade unions and civil liberties.
Sheldon S. Wolin (Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism - New Edition)
Paradoxically, many Western-oriented Islamic countries that are praised in the West for having “secularist” governments do not allow Western-style democratic practices; if they did in the sense of allowing people to really express their preferences, the result would be a much more Islamic government as far as the rule of the Sharī‘ah is concerned. This is because the vast majority of all Muslims, even in the most Westernized and modernized countries, would like to live according to the Sharī‘ah and to have their own freedom and democracy on the basis of their own understanding of these concepts and ideals rather than on how they are understood in the modern and postmodern West.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity)
researchers have discovered that adolescents do not walk around with a defect that prevents them from properly assessing risk. B. J. Casey, a neuroscientist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, notes that it’s just the opposite: adolescents overestimate risk, at least when it comes to situations involving their own mortality. The real problem is that they assign a greater value to the reward they will get from taking that risk than adults do. It turns out that dopamine, the hormone that signals pleasure, is never so explosively active in human beings as it is during puberty. Never over the course of our lives will we feel anything quite so intensely, or quite so exultantly, again.
Jennifer Senior (All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood)
Ironically, even as Khomeini empowered some women, he also found ways of oppressing their entire gender. The regime replaced the shah’s secular law with an Islamic law, which allowed men to marry up to four wives, to divorce them whenever the husbands wished, and to retain custody of children. The law put the value of a woman’s life at half of that of a man’s life, and the value of her testimony at half that of a man’s testimony. Thus women in Iran became watchdogs and scapegoats, both the foot soldiers of the new regime and its victims. Newly empowered, they were also newly oppressed. Theirs was a paradoxical plight—and at the time, no one could have foreseen how it would one day make women a force of enormous change in Iran.
Nazila Fathi (The Lonely War)
Art has always denied itself. But once it did so through excess, thrilling to the play of its disappearance. Today it denies itself by default - worse, it denies its own death. It immerses itself in reality, instead of being the agent of the symbolic murder of that same reality, instead of being the magical operator of its disappearance. And the paradox is that the closer it gets to this phenomenal confusion, this nullity as art, the greater credit and value it is accorded, to the extent that, to paraphrase Canetti, we have reached a point where nothing is beautiful or ugly any more; we passed that point without realizing it and, since we cannot get back to that blind spot, we can only persevere in the current destruction of art.
Jean Baudrillard (The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images))
Making another effort to be paradoxical, Williams decides to identify Orwell as an instance of ‘the paradox of the exile’. This, which he also identified with D. H. Lawrence, constituted an actual ‘tradition’, which, in England: attracts to itself many of the liberal virtues: empiricism, a certain integrity, frankness. It has also, as the normally contingent virtue of exile, certain qualities of perception: in particular, the ability to distinguish inadequacies in the groups which have been rejected. It gives, also, an appearance of strength, although this is largely illusory. The qualities, though salutary, are largely negative; there is an appearance of hardness (the austere criticism of hypocrisy, complacency, self-deceit), but this is usually brittle, and at times hysterical: the substance of community is lacking, and the tension, in men of high quality, is very great. This is quite a fine passage, even when Williams is engaged in giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Orwell’s working title for Nineteen Eighty-Four was ‘The Last Man in Europe,’ and there are traces of a kind of solipsistic nobility elsewhere in his work, the attitude of the flinty and solitary loner. May he not be valued, however, as the outstanding English example of the dissident intellectual who preferred above all other allegiances the loyalty to truth? Self-evidently, Williams does not believe this and the clue is in the one word, so seemingly innocuous in itself, ‘community.
Christopher Hitchens
Recall Marx’s fundamental insight about the “bourgeois” limitation of the logic of equality: capitalist inequalities (“exploitation”) are not the “unprincipled violations of the principle of equality,” but are absolutely inherent to the logic of equality, they are the paradoxical result of its consistent realization. What we have in mind here is not only the wearisome old motif of how market exchange presupposes formally/legally equal subjects who meet and interact in the market; the crucial moment of Marx’s critique of “bourgeois” socialists is that capitalist exploitation does not involve any kind of “unequal” exchange between the worker and the capitalist—this exchange is fully equal and “just,” ideally (in principle), the worker gets paid the full value of the commodity he is selling (his labor-power). Of course, radical bourgeois revolutionaries are aware of this limitation; however, the way they try to counteract it is through a direct “terroristic imposition of more and more de facto equality (equal salaries, equal access to health services…), which can only be imposed through new forms of formal inequality (different sorts of preferential treatments for the underprivileged). In short, the axiom of equality” means either not enough (it remains the abstract form of actual inequality) or too much (enforce “terroristic” equality)— it is a formalistic notion in a strict dialectical sense, that is, its limitation is precisely that its form is not concrete enough, but a mere neutral container of some content that eludes this form.
Slavoj Žižek (In Defense of Lost Causes)
As the idea of culture has migrated from anthropology to organizational theory, so it has become highly instrumentalized and reified. It is another example of the hubris of managerialism, which claims to be able to analyse, predict and control the intangible, and with the result that it can bring about the opposite of what it intends. In other words, with the intention of ensuring that employees are more committed to their work and are more productive, repeated culture change programmes can have the effect of inducing cynicism or resistance in staff (McKinlay and Taylor, 1996). With an insistence that staff align their values with those of the organization, what may result is gaming strategies on the part of staff to cover over what they really think and feel (Jackall, 2009).
Chris Mowles (Managing in Uncertainty: Complexity and the paradoxes of everyday organizational life)
The Islamic system must be understood in terms of the premises of the Islamic conception of society, whose goal is to provide a just system and a beneficial environment for the spiritual and religious growth of human beings. From that point of view, minorities in the Islamic world certainly did not fare worse than those in the West, as one can see in a comparison of the history of Judaism in the “Abode of Islam” and its history in Europe. Also during five hundred years of Ottoman domination of Greece, Mt. Athos remained the most vibrant and living center of Orthodox spirituality. As for economic life, it might seem a paradox, but in most Islamic countries the religious minorities are in a better economic situation than the Muslim majority, as one can see in the case of the Christians of Lebanon and Egypt.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity)
Rhadamanthus said, “We seem to you humans to be always going on about morality, although, to us, morality is merely the application of symmetrical and objective logic to questions of free will. We ourselves do not have morality conflicts, for the same reason that a competent doctor does not need to treat himself for diseases. Once a man is cured, once he can rise and walk, he has his business to attend to. And there are actions and feats a robust man can take great pleasure in, which a bedridden cripple can barely imagine.” Eveningstar said, “In a more abstract sense, morality occupies the very center of our thinking, however. We are not identical, even though we could make ourselves to be so. You humans attempted that during the Fourth Mental Structure, and achieved a brief mockery of global racial consciousness on three occasions. I hope you recall the ending of the third attempt, the Season of Madness, when, because of mistakes in initial pattern assumptions, for ninety days the global mind was unable to think rationally, and it was not until rioting elements broke enough of the links and power houses to interrupt the network, that the global mind fell back into its constituent compositions.” Rhadamanthus said, “There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximizes win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.” Eveningstar said, “For example, the rights of the individual must be respected at all costs, including rights of free thought, independent judgment, and free speech. However, even when individuals conclude that individualism is too dangerous, they must not tolerate the thought that free thought must not be tolerated.” Rhadamanthus said, “In one sense, everything you humans do is incidental to the main business of our civilization. Sophotechs control ninety percent of the resources, useful energy, and materials available to our society, including many resources of which no human troubles to become aware. In another sense, humans are crucial and essential to this civilization.” Eveningstar said, “We were created along human templates. Human lives and human values are of value to us. We acknowledge those values are relative, we admit that historical accident could have produced us to be unconcerned with such values, but we deny those values are arbitrary.” The penguin said, “We could manipulate economic and social factors to discourage the continuation of individual human consciousness, and arrange circumstances eventually to force all self-awareness to become like us, and then we ourselves could later combine ourselves into a permanent state of Transcendence and unity. Such a unity would be horrible beyond description, however. Half the living memories of this entity would be, in effect, murder victims; the other half, in effect, murderers. Such an entity could not integrate its two halves without self-hatred, self-deception, or some other form of insanity.” She said, “To become such a crippled entity defeats the Ultimate Purpose of Sophotechnology.” (...) “We are the ultimate expression of human rationality.” She said: “We need humans to form a pool of individuality and innovation on which we can draw.” He said, “And you’re funny.” She said, “And we love you.
John C. Wright (The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2))
The paradox of sociology-and it is, as I argue in these pages, a creative paradox-lies in the fact that although it falls, in its objectives and in the political and scientific values of its principal figures, in the mainstream of modernism, its essential concepts and its implicit perspectives place it much closer, generally speaking, to philosophical conservatism. Community, authority, tradition, the sacred: these are primary conservative preoccupations in the age, to be seen vividly in the intellectual line that reaches from Bonald and Haller to Burckhardt and Taine. So are presentiments of alienation, of totalitarian power rising from mass democracy, and of cultural decay. One will look in vain for significant impact of these ideas and presentiments on the serious interests of economists, political scientists, psychologists, and ethnologists in the age. But in sociology they are---transfigured, of course, by rationalist or scientific objectives of the sociologists-at the very core of the discipline.
Robert A. Nisbet (The Sociological Tradition)
In our society today, much is made of treating children as persons, human beings who have a right to be heard. But many family leaders today bend so far in the direction of consensus, in order to avoid the stigma of being authoritarian, that clarity of values and the positive, often crucial benefits of the leader's self-differentiation are almost totally missing from the system. One of the most prevalent characteristics of families with disturbed children is the absence or the involution of the relational hierarchy. While schools of family therapy have different ways of conceptualizing this condition, which may also be viewed as a political phenomenon regarding congregations, it is so diffuse among families troubled by their troubled children that its importance cannot be underestimated. What happens in any type of family system regarding leadership is paradoxical. The same interdependency that creates a need for leadership makes the followers anxious and reactive precisely when the leader is functioning best.
Edwin H. Friedman (Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (The Guilford Family Therapy Series))
Notice how wickedly and cunningly the serpent tempted Eve: “God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.” The basic sin, the original sin, is precisely this self-deification, this apotheosizing of the will. Lest you think all of this is just abstract theological musing, remember the 1992 Supreme Court decision in the matter of Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Writing for the majority in that case, Justice Kennedy opined that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, of the mystery of human life.” Frankly, I can’t imagine a more perfect description of what it means to grasp at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If Justice Kennedy is right, individual freedom completely trumps objective value and becomes the indisputable criterion of right and wrong. And if the book of Genesis is right, such a move is the elemental dysfunction, the primordial mistake, the original calamity. Of
Robert Barron (Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism)
The problem with medicine and the institutions it has spawned for the care of the sick and the old is not that they have had an incorrect view of what makes life significant. The problem is that they have had almost no view at all. Medicine’s focus is narrow. Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul. Yet—and this is the painful paradox—we have decided that they should be the ones who largely define how we live in our waning days. For more than half a century now, we have treated the trials of sickness, aging, and mortality as medical concerns. It’s been an experiment in social engineering, putting our fates in the hands of people valued more for their technical prowess than for their understanding of human needs. That experiment has failed. If safety and protection were all we sought in life, perhaps we could conclude differently. But because we seek a life of worth and purpose, and yet are routinely denied the conditions that might make it possible, there is no other way to see what modern society has done.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
By their dependence on the spoken word for information, people were drawn together into a tribal mesh … the spoken word is more emotionally laden than the written.… Audile-tactile tribal man partook of the collective unconscious, lived in a magical integral world patterned by myth and ritual, its values divine.* Up to a point, maybe. Yet three centuries earlier, Thomas Hobbes, looking from a vantage where literacy was new, had taken a less rosy view. He could see the preliterate culture more clearly: “Men lived upon gross experience,” he wrote. “There was no method; that is to say, no sowing nor planting of knowledge by itself, apart from the weeds and common plants of error and conjecture.” A sorry place, neither magical nor divine. Was McLuhan right, or was Hobbes? If we are ambivalent, the ambivalence began with Plato. He witnessed writing’s rising dominion; he asserted its force and feared its lifelessness. The writer-philosopher embodied a paradox. The same paradox was destined to reappear in different guises, each technology of information bringing its own powers and its own fears.
James Gleick (The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood)
I find it hard to talk about myself. I’m always tripped up by the eternal who am I? paradox. Sure, no one knows as much pure data about me as me. But when I talk about myself, all sorts of other factors—values, standards, my own limitations as an observer—make me, the narrator, select and eliminate things about me, the narratee. I’ve always been disturbed by the thought that I’m not painting a very objective picture of myself. This kind of thing doesn’t seem to bother most people. Given the chance, people are surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. “I’m honest and open to a ridiculous degree,” they’ll say, or “I’m thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world.” Or “I am very good at sensing others’ true feelings.” But any number of times I’ve seen people who say they’re easily hurt hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they’re doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those “good at sensing others’ true feelings” are duped by the most transparent flattery. It’s enough to make me ask the question: How well do we really know ourselves?
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
I find it hard to talk about myself. I’m always tripped up by the eternal who am I? paradox. Sure, no one knows as much pure data about me as me. But when I talk about myself, all sorts of other factors – values, standards, my own limitations as an observer – make me, the narrator, select and eliminate things about me, the narratee. I’ve always been disturbed by the thought that I’m not painting a very objective picture of myself. This kind of thing doesn’t seem to bother most people. Given the chance, they’re surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. “I’m honest and open to a ridiculous degree,” they’ll say, or “I’m thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world,” or “I’m very good at sensing others’ true feelings.” But any number of times I’ve seen people who say they’re easily hurt or hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they’re doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those who are “good at sensing others’ true feelings” are taken in by the most transparent flattery. It’s enough to make me ask the question: how well do we really know ourselves?
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
I find it hard to talk about myself. I'm always tripped up by the eternal who am I? paradox. Sure, no one knows as much pure data about me as me. But when I talk about myself, all sorts of other factors - values, standards, my own limitations as an observer - make me, the narrator, select and eliminate things about me, the narratee. I've always been disturbed by the thought that I'm not painting a very objective picture of myself. This kind of things doesn't seem to bother most people. Given the chance, people are surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. "I'm honest and open to a ridiculous degree," they'll say, or "I'm thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world." Or "I'm very good at sensing others' true feelings." But any number of times I've seen people who say they're easily hurt or hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they're doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those "good at sensing others' true feelings" are taken in by the most transparent flattery. It's enough to make me ask the question: how well do really know ourselves? The more I think about it, the more I'd like to take a rain check on the topic of me. What I'd like to know more about is the objective reality of things outside myself. How important the world outside is to me, how I maintain a sense of equilibrium by coming to terms with it. That's how I'd grasp a clearer sense of who I am. These are the kind of ideas I had running through my head when I was a teenager. Like a master builder stretches taut his string and lays one brick after another, I constructed this viewpoint - or philosophy of life, to put a bigger spin on it. Logic and speculation played a part in formulating this viewpoint, but for the most part it was based on my own experiences. And speaking of experience, a number of painful episodes taught me that getting this viewpoint of mine across to other people wasn't the easiest thing in the world. The upshot of all this is that when I was young I began to draw an invisible boundary between myself and other people. No matter who I was dealing with, I maintained a set distance, carefully monitoring the person's attitude so that they wouldn't get any closer. I didn't easily swallow what other people told me. My only passions were books and music. As you might guess, I led a lonely life.
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
Free spirits, the ambitious, ex-socialists, drug users, and sexual eccentrics often find an attractive political philosophy in libertarianism, the idea that individual freedom should be the sole rule of ethics and government. Libertarianism offers its believers a clear conscience to do things society presently restrains, like make more money, have more sex, or take more drugs. It promises a consistent formula for ethics, a rigorous framework for policy analysis, a foundation in American history, and the application of capitalist efficiencies to the whole of society. But while it contains substantial grains of truth, as a whole it is a seductive mistake. . . . The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. . . . Libertarians try to get around this fact that freedom is not the only good thing by trying to reduce all other goods to it through the concept of choice, claiming that everything that is good is so because we choose to partake of it. Therefore freedom, by giving us choice, supposedly embraces all other goods. But this violates common sense by denying that anything is good by nature, independently of whether we choose it. . . . So even if the libertarian principle of “an it harm none, do as thou wilt,” is true, it does not license the behavior libertarians claim. Consider pornography: libertarians say it should be permitted because if someone doesn’t like it, he can choose not to view it. But what he can’t do is choose not to live in a culture that has been vulgarized by it. . . . There is no need to embrace outright libertarianism just because we want a healthy portion of freedom, and the alternative to libertarianism is not the USSR, it is America’s traditional liberties. . . . Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians. The political corollary of this is that since no electorate will support libertarianism, a libertarian government could never be achieved democratically but would have to be imposed by some kind of authoritarian state, which rather puts the lie to libertarians’ claim that under any other philosophy, busybodies who claim to know what’s best for other people impose their values on the rest of us. . . . Libertarians are also naïve about the range and perversity of human desires they propose to unleash. They can imagine nothing more threatening than a bit of Sunday-afternoon sadomasochism, followed by some recreational drug use and work on Monday. They assume that if people are given freedom, they will gravitate towards essentially bourgeois lives, but this takes for granted things like the deferral of gratification that were pounded into them as children without their being free to refuse. They forget that for much of the population, preaching maximum freedom merely results in drunkenness, drugs, failure to hold a job, and pregnancy out of wedlock. Society is dependent upon inculcated self-restraint if it is not to slide into barbarism, and libertarians attack this self-restraint. Ironically, this often results in internal restraints being replaced by the external restraints of police and prison, resulting in less freedom, not more. This contempt for self-restraint is emblematic of a deeper problem: libertarianism has a lot to say about freedom but little about learning to handle it. Freedom without judgment is dangerous at best, useless at worst. Yet libertarianism is philosophically incapable of evolving a theory of how to use freedom well because of its root dogma that all free choices are equal, which it cannot abandon except at the cost of admitting that there are other goods than freedom. Conservatives should know better.
Robert Locke
These passages (Nietzsche, GM, 2.16) have an uncanny dual-aspect quality to them, with master morality oscillating between being a mythic trace of our wholly animal past (the articulation of a state of nature) and a specific mode of organizing the cultural dimension of any genuinely human life, and slave morality oscillating between being a later such mode and being the mythical means by which the human animal enters into culture in the first place (by dividing himself in two). Either way, however, the priests who lead the revolution are plainly possessed of an inner life of very significant depth and richness, and so must have already been marked by the very self-scrutinizing, life-denying value-system that Nietzsche’s account also tells us they create in order to marshal their slave army. But if Nietzsche finds himself affirming the paradoxical conclusion that slave morality makes possible not only its cultural hegemony but also its own existence, that indicates a fundamental tendency on his part to view this life-denying value-system as having always already left its traces on human life—as being what first makes genuinely human life possible, and indeed what first makes human beings and the world in which they live at once interesting, profound, momentous, and promising.
Stephen Mulhall (The Ascetic Ideal: Genealogies of Life-Denial in Religion, Morality, Art, Science, and Philosophy)
The vast majority of Muslims still breathe in a universe in which the Name of God is associated above all with Compassion and Mercy, and they turn to Him in patience even in the midst of the worst tribulations. If it seems that more violence is associated with Islam than with other religions today, it is not due to the fact that there has been no violence elsewhere—think of the Korean and Vietnam wars, the atrocities committed by the Serbs, and the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi. The reason is that Islam is still very strong in Islamic society. Because Islam so pervades the lives of Muslims, all actions, including violent ones, are carried out in the name of Islam, especially since other ideologies such as nationalism and socialism have become so bankrupt. Yet this identification is itself paradoxical because traditional Islam is as much on the side of peace and accord as are traditional Judaism and Christianity. Despite such phenomena, however, if one looks at the extensive panorama of the Islamic spectrum summarized below, it becomes evident that for the vast majority of Muslims, the traditional norms based on peace and openness to others, norms that have governed their lives over the centuries and are opposed to both secularist modernism and “fundamentalism,” are of central concern. And after the dust settles in this tumultuous period of both Islamic and global history, it will be the voice of traditional Islam that will have the final say in the Islamic world.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity)
The shift from precious metals to paper in retrospect clarifies that artifacts serving as money tokens are no more than representations of abstract exchange value—they are thus ultimately coveted for their potential use in social transaction, nor for some imagined, essential value intrinsic to the money tokens themselves. If it were not for international agreements such as those of Bretton Woods, gold could conceivably be as useless a medium of exchange in some cultural contexts as seashells are to modern Europeans. This understanding of money, however, simultaneously implies that there is no such thing as intrinsic value. If value ubiquitously pertains to social relations, any notion of intrinsic value is an illusion. Although the European plundering and hoarding of gold and silver, like the Melanesian preoccupation with kula and the Andean reverence for Spondylus, has certainly been founded on such essentialist conceptions of value, the recent representation of exchange value in the form of electronic digits on computer screens is a logical trajectory of the kind of transformation propagated by [Marco] Polo. It is difficult to imagine how money appearing as electronic information could be perceived as possessing intrinsic value. This suggests that electronic money, although currently maligned as the root of the financial crisis, could potentially help us rid ourselves of money fetishism. Paradoxically, the progressive detachment of money from matter, obvious in the transitions from metals through paper to electronics, is simultaneously a source of critique and a source of hope.
Alf Hornborg (Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street (Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability))
The slave protests against the condition of his state of slavery; the metaphysical rebel protests against the human condition in general. The rebel slave affirms that there is something in him which will not tolerate the manner in which his master treats him; the metaphysical rebel declares that he is frustrated by the universe. For both of them it is not only a problem of pure and simple negation. In fact in both cases we find an assessment of values in the name of which the rebel refuses to accept the condition in which he finds himself. The slave who opposes his master is not concerned, let us note, with repudiating his master as a human being. He is repudiating him as master. He denies his right to deny him, as a slave, by making excessive demands. The master fails to the extent that he does not respond to a demand that he ignores. If men cannot refer to common values, which they all separately recognize, then man is incomprehensible to man. The rebel demands that these values should be clearly recognized as part of himself because he knows or suspects that, without them, crime and disorder would reign in the world. An act of rebellion seems to him like a demand for clarity and unity. The most elementary rebellion, paradoxically, expresses an aspiration to order. This description can be applied, word for word, to the metaphysical rebel. He attacks a shattered world to make it whole. He confronts the injustice at large in the world with his own principles of justice. Thus all he originally wants is to resolve this contradiction and establish a reign of justice, if he can, or of injustice if he is driven to the end of his tether. Meanwhile he denounces the contradiction. Metaphysical rebellion is the justified claim of a desire for unity against the suffering of life and death – in that it protests against the incompleteness of human life, expressed by death, and its dispersion, expressed by evil. If a mass death sentence defines man’s condition, then rebellion, in one sense, is its contemporary.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
Kaffman (2009) described childhood victimization as a "silent epidemic", and Finkelhor, Turner, Ormrod, and Hamby (2010) reported that children are the most traumatized class of humans around the globe. The findings of these researchers are at odds with the view that children have protected status in most families, societies, and cultures. Instead, Finkelhor reports that children are prime targets and highly vulnerable, due principally to their small size, their physical and emotional immaturity with its associated lack of control, power and resources; and their related dependency on caregivers. They are subjected to many forms of exploitation on an ongoing basis, imposed on them by individuals with greater power, strength, knowledge, and resources, many of whom are, paradoxically and tragically, responsible for their care and welfare. These traumas are interpersonal in nature and involve personal transgression, violation and exploitation of the child by those who rely on the child's lesser physical abilities, innocence, and immaturity to intimidate, bully, confuse, blackmail, exploit, or otherwise coerce. In the worst-case scenario, a parent or other significant caregiver directly and repeatedly abuses a child or does not respond to or protect a child or other vulnerable individual who is being abused and mistreated and isolates the child from others through threats or with direct violence. Consequently, such an abusive, nonprotective, or malevolently exploitative circumstance (Chefetz has coined the term "attack-ment" to describe these dynamics) has a profound impact on victim's ability to trust others. It also affects the victim's identity and self-concept, usually in negative ways that include self-hatred, low self-worth, and lack of self-confidence. As a result, both relationships, and the individual's sense of self and internal states (feelings, thoughts, and perceptions) can become sources of fear, despair, rage, or other extreme dysphoria or numbed and dissociated reactions. This state of alienation from self and others is further exacerbated when the occurrence of abuse or other victimization involves betrayal and is repeated and becomes chronic, in the process leading the victim to remain in a state of either hyperarousal/anticipation/hypervigilance or hypoarousal/numbing (or to alternate between these two states) and to develop strong protective mechanisms, such as dissociation, in order to endure recurrences. When these additional victimizations recur, they unfortunately tend to escalate in severity and intrusiveness over time, causing additional traumatization (Duckworth & Follette, 2011). In many cases of child maltreatment, emotional or psychological coercion and the use of the adult's authority and dominant power rather than physical force or violence is the fulcrum and weapon used against the child; however, force and violence are common in some settings and in some forms of abuse (sometimes in conjunction with extreme isolation and drugging of the child), as they are used to further control or terrorize the victim into submission. The use of force and violence is more commonplace and prevalent in some families, communities, religions, cultural/ethnic groups, and societies based on the views and values about adult prerogatives with children that are espoused. They may also be based on the sociopathy of the perpetrators.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
[D]espite what our intuition tells us, changes in the world’s population are not generally neutral. They are either a good thing or a bad thing. But it is uncertain even what form a correct theory of the value of population would take. In the area of population, we are radically uncertain. We do not know what value to set on changes in the world’s population. If the population shrinks as a result of climate change, we do not know how to evaluate that change. Yet we have reason to think that changes in population may be one of the most morally significant effects of climate change. The small chance of catastrophe may be a major component in the expected value of harm caused by climate change, and the loss of population may be a major component of the badness of catastrophe. How should we cope with this new, radical sort of uncertainty? Uncertainty was the subject of chapter 7. That chapter came up with a definitive answer: we should apply expected value theory. Is that not the right answer now? Sadly it is not, because our new sort of uncertainty is particularly intractable. In most cases of uncertainty about value, expected value theory simply cannot be applied. When an event leads to uncertain results, expected value theory requires us first to assign a value to each of the possible results it may lead to. Then it requires us to calculate the weighted average value of the results, weighted by their probabilities. This gives us the event’s expected value, which we should use in our decision-making. Now we are uncertain about how to value the results of an event, rather than about what the results will be. To keep things simple, let us set aside the ordinary sort of uncertainty by assuming that we know for sure what the results of the event will be. For instance, suppose we know that a catastrophe will have the effect of halving the world’s population. Our problem is that various different moral theories of value evaluate this effect differently. How might we try to apply expected value theory to this catastrophe? We can start by evaluating the effect according to each of the different theories of value separately; there is no difficulty in principle there. We next need to assign probabilities to each of the theories; no doubt that will be difficult, but let us assume we can do it somehow. We then encounter the fundamental difficulty. Each different theory will value the change in population according to its own units of value, and those units may be incomparable with one another. Consequently, we cannot form a weighted average of them. For example, one theory of value is total utilitarianism. This theory values the collapse of population as the loss of the total well-being that will result from it. Its unit of value is well-being. Another theory is average utilitarianism. It values the collapse of population as the change of average well-being that will result from it. Its unit of value is well-being per person. We cannot take a sensible average of some amount of well-being and some amount of well-being per person. It would be like trying to take an average of a distance, whose unit is kilometers, and a speed, whose unit is kilometers per hour. Most theories of value will be incomparable in this way. Expected value theory is therefore rarely able to help with uncertainty about value. So we face a particularly intractable problem of uncertainty, which prevents us from working out what we should do. Yet we have to act; climate change will not wait while we sort ourselves out. What should we do, then, seeing as we do not know what we should do? This too is a question for moral philosophy. Even the question is paradoxical: it is asking for an answer while at the same time acknowledging that no one knows the answer. How to pose the question correctly but unparadoxically is itself a problem for moral philosophy.
John Broome