The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.
Now that science has helped us to overcome the awe of the unknown in nature, we are the slaves of social pressures of our own making. When called upon to act independently, we cry for patterns, systems, and authorities. If by enlightenment and intellectual progress we mean the freeing of man from superstitious belief in evil forces, in demons and fairies, in blind fate--in short, the emancipation from fear--then denunciation of what is currently called reason is the greatest service reason can render.
Action is the activity of the rational soul, which abhors irrationality and must combat it or be corrupted by it. When it sees the irrationality of others, it must seek to correct it, and can do this either by teaching or engaging in public affairs itself, correcting through its practice. And the purpose of action is to enable philosophy to continue, for if men are reduced to the material alone, they become no more than beasts.
With a philosophy education, one can infuriate his peers, intimidate his date, think of obscure, unreliable ways to make money, and never regret a thing.
One of chief pieces of advice I give to aspiring rationalists is Don't try to be clever. And, Listen to those quiet, nagging doubts. If you don't know, you don't know what you don't know, you don't know how much you don't know, and you don't know how much you needed to know.
Considering he was neither priest nor scholar, the young man gave sensible, thoughtful replies -- the more so, perhaps, for being untrained, for he had not learned what he should believe or should not believe. Present a statement to him in flagrant contradiction to all Christian doctrine and he could be persuaded to agree on its good sense, unless he remembered it was the sort of thing of which pyres are made for the incautious.
And thus, the actions of life often not allowing any delay, it is a truth very certain that, when it is not in our power to determine the most true opinions we ought to follow the most probable.
When a man tells you he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring he is an inexact man.
Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.
The joy from eating does not come from the exclusivity of the food, but instead from the sensitivity that we eat it with.
Life is fundamentally a mental state. We live in a dream world that we create. Whose life is truer, the rational man of action pursuing practical goals of personal happiness and wealth or the philosophic man who lives in a world of theoretical and metaphysical ideas? We ascribe the value quotient to our lives by making decisions that we score as either valid or invalid based upon our personal ethics and how we think and behave.
Most reject the more repugnant or indefensible dogmas while still holding onto some core belief. Many believers will proudly describe themselves as reasonable or rational based on how little of their religion they still embrace versus how much they now reject. I think it's funny when people realize that the less you believe the more reasonable you are, but they stop before they reach the logical conclusion.
Why should a religion claim that it is not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason! If one does not take the standard of reason, there cannot be any true judgment, even in the case of religion.
The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!
In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men. He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought
When...did it become irrational to dislike religion, any religion, even to dislike it vehemently? When did reason get redescribed as unreason? When were the fairy stories of the superstitious placed above criticism, beyond satire? A religion was not a race. It was an idea, and ideas stood (or fell) because they were strong enough (or too weak) to withstand criticism, not because they were shielded from it. Strong ideas welcomed dissent.
When confronted by a ‘believer’ it is easy for me to contrast the views of the skeptic with those of the rationalist. I simply reach into my pocket and pull out my change.Holding a quarter aloft, I say, ‘This is a most remarkable coin, for it is heavier than all the sins of humanity committed since the beginning of the human race.’I then hold up a nickel and say, ‘This coin is even more amazing, as it is brighter and shinier than the flames that proceeded from the Burning Bush discovered on Mt. Sinai by Moses.’Then I raise a penny and state, ‘This portrait of President Lincoln is more realistic and true-to-life than any portrait of Satan ever painted.’And finally, I hold out a bright, shiny dime and say, ‘And this dime is the most amazing of all because it is heavier and contains more precious metals than all the gold bricks in the streets of Heaven.’I end with ‘Give to Caesar what is his, and hold the rest of it dear—for it is all you see and touch—and the Christian god can take care of all his things, for they amount to less than this 41 cents I hold here in my hand.
Conversion and zealotry, just like revelation and apostasy, are flip sides of the same coin, the currency of a political culture having more in common with religion than rational discourse.
On your quest to spirituality it is often required to suspend your rationality but true spirituality asks that you enhance your rationality.
You can't distinguish your group by doing things that are rational and believing things that are true. If you want to set yourself apart from other people you have to do things that are arbitrary and believe things that are false.
Though he never actually joined it, he was close to some civilian elements of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was the most Communist (and in the rather orthodox sense) of the Palestinian formations. I remember Edward once surprising me by saying, and apropos of nothing: 'Do you know something I have never done in my political career? I have never publicly criticized the Soviet Union. It’s not that I terribly sympathize with them or anything—it's just that the Soviets have never done anything to harm me, or us.' At the time I thought this a rather naïve statement, even perhaps a slightly contemptible one, but by then I had been in parts of the Middle East where it could come as a blessed relief to meet a consecrated Moscow-line atheist-dogmatist, if only for the comparatively rational humanism that he evinced amid so much religious barking and mania. It was only later to occur to me that Edward's pronounced dislike of George Orwell was something to which I ought to have paid more attention.
A Christian telling an atheist they're going to hell is as scary as a child telling an adult they're not getting any presents from Santa.
There are some doubters even in the western villages. One woman told me last Christmas that she did not believe either in hell or in ghosts. Hell she thought was merely an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go 'trapsin about the earth' at their own free will; 'but there are faeries,' she added, 'and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels.' I have met also a man with a mohawk Indian tattooed upon his arm, who held exactly similar beliefs and unbeliefs. No matter what one doubts one never doubts the faeries, for, as the man with the mohawk Indian on his arm said to me, 'they stand to reason.' Even the official mind does not escape this faith. (Reason and Unreason)
Writing my own novels in the '90s...I never imagined that in ten years, science and rationality would require explanation and defense in a world rocked and ruled by religious fervor.
You may substitute knowledge for superstition without satisfying the needs that drive people into superstition's arms.
.It is asking a great deal of a man, who has learnt to regulate his everyday affairs in accordance with the rules of experience and with due regard to reality, that he should entrust precisely what affects him most nearly to the care of an authority which claims as its prerogative freedom from all the rules of rational thought.
Experience cannot beat logic, and interpretations of observational evidence which are not in line with the laws of logical reasoning are no refutation of these but the sign of a muddled mind (or would one accept someone’s observational report that he had seen a bird that was red and non-red all over at the same time as a refutation of the law of contradiction rather than the pronouncement of an idiot?).
For the most part, people strenuously resist any redefinition of morality, because it shakes them to the very core of their being to think that in pursuing virtue they may have been feeding vice, or in fighting vice they may have in fact been fighting virtue.
Believing that there is a conflict between rationality and spirituality is like believing that there is a conflict between knowledge and inspiration.
[S]cience has contributed a great deal to war and violence, and people well trained in science are sometimes not entirely rational and are even dogmatic. We have to find a way to teach reflectively, not just scientifically.