"Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.” But when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them."
[known as the Kalama Sutta or the Buddha’s “charter of free inquiry”]
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back."
"The skeptic supposes programmatically that the best answer will be at variance with traditional narratives. That is bias, the bias known as skepticism, which takes as its sinister twin the bias known as credulity: the programmatic supposition that the best answer will be fully congruent with traditional narratives. Both arbitrarily close off possible answers before the investigation even begins. As such, the spirit of critical thought is programmatically opposed to both."
"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death."
The truth will never be complete
In any mind or time. It will never
Be reduced to an explanation.
What you have is only a sack of fragments
Never to be filled: old bones, fossils,
Facts, scraps of writing, sprawls of junk.
You know yourself only poorly and in part,
The best and the worst maybe forgotten.
However you arrange the pieces, however
Authentic, a story is what you’ll have,
An artifact, for better or worse.
So go ahead. Gather your findings into
A plausible arrangement. Make a story.
Show how love and joy, beauty and goodness,
Shine out amongst the rubble.
"[This is] a time … when something awful is happening to a civilization, when it ceases to produce poets, and, what is even more crucial, when it ceases in any way whatever to believe in the report that only the poets can make. Conrad told us a long time ago…: 'Woe to that man who does not put his trust in life.' Henry James said, 'Live, live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.' And Shakespeare said — and this is what I take to be the truth about everybody’s life all of the time — 'Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.' Art is here to prove, and to help one bear, the fact that all safety is an illusion. In this sense, all artists are divorced from and even necessarily opposed to any system whatever."
"An African theologian, [Kwame] Bediako, says that every time the Bible is translated it releases new meanings. [...] Every time the Bible is translated, you enter a culture and a language system that is unique. And the Bible is true and gets into those rhythms and those idioms and there’s more truth there. So the truth is kind of endless, and each culture, dialect, and language gives a new chance to express something nobody has ever quite done this way before."
"Orthodoxy as right belief will cost us little; indeed, it will allow us to sit back with our Pharisaic doctrines, guarding the ‘truth’ with the purity of our interpretations. But orthodoxy, as believing in the right way, as bringing love to the world around us and within us … that will cost us everything. For to live by that sword, as we all know, is to die by it."
"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love."
"There is truth and then again there is truth. For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they've got you or your neighbor figured out, there really is no bottom to what is not known. The truth about us is endless. As are the lies."
"Fairy tales don’t tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." (paraphrase)
Variant: "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." (variant paraphrase by Neil Gaiman)
(paraphrased from: "Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear."
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