Dec 302014

Both the artistic and scientific enterprises are the product of our need to reduce dimensions and inflict some order on things. Think of the world around you, laden with trillions of details. Try to describe it and you will find yourself tempted to weave a thread into what you are saying. A novel, a story , a myth, or a tale, all have the same function: they spare us from the complexity of the world and shield us from its randomness. Myths impart order to the disorder of human perception and the perceived “”chaos of human experience”.

The Black Swan

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Nov 262014

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

from Self Reliance

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Oct 202014

Readers may be divided into four classes:

  1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.
  2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
  3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.
  4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.
 Comments Off on Samuel Taylor Coleridge: On Readers
Oct 152014

To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.

– from The Will to Power

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Oct 092014

We must never cede to misguided notions of civility and refrain from criticizing religion, which is, after all, nothing more than hallowed ideology expressed through fantastic fables.  People deserve respect; ideologies do not.  Doctrines deriving from allegedly divine revelation demand the closest scrutiny.  The very concept of religious revelation – from which Islam, Christianity, and Judaism draw their validity — is an affront to rationalism and reasoned discussion.

Bill Maher’s atheist values: Why progressives must defend enlightenment, critique religious extremism” Slate. 2014.10.08

 Comments Off on Jeffrey Taylor: People deserve respect; ideologies do not