He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world. In emancipation from the fears that beset the slave of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy... Read more »
There have been poverty, pestilence, and famine, which were due to man's inadequate mastery of nature. There have been wars, oppressions and tortures which have been due to men's hostility to their fellow men.
We are told that Sin consists in acting contrary to God's commands, but we are also told that God is omnipotent. . . . This leads to frightful results. . . . The British State considers it the duty of an Englishman to kill people who are not English whenever a collection of elderly gentlemen in Westminster tells him to do so. . . . Church and State are placable enemies of both intelligence and virtue.
While the dogmatist is harmful, the sceptic is useless ...; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or of ignorance. Knowledge is not so precise a concept as is commonly thought. Instead of saying 'I know this', we ought to say 'I more or less know something more or less like this'. ... Knowledge in practical affairs has not the certainty or the precision of arithmetic.
No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid, and however unpleasant the truth may be, it is better to face it once and for all, to get used to it, and to proceed to build your life in accordance with it.
Civilized life, if it is to be stable, must provide a harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting. In Australia, where people are few, and rabbits are many, I watched the whole populace satisfying the primitive impulse in the primitive manner by the skilful slaughter of many thousands of rabbits.