It rained last night heavily, and now the skies are beginning to clear; it is a new fresh day. Let us meet that fresh day as if it were the only day. Let us start on our journey together with all the remembrance of yesterday left behind—and begin to understand ourselves for the first time.
The romantic contrast between modern industry that “destroys nature” and our ancestors who “lived in harmony with nature” is groundless. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of life.
It's better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to timidly avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit. Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.
People who want to study religion usually have an ax to grind. They either want to defend their favorite religion from its critics or want to demonstrate the irrationality and futility of religion, and this tends to infect their methods with bias.
I think it is always important to ask fundamental questions, but when we do ask a fundamental question, most of us are seeking an answer, and then the answer is invariably superficial because there is no yes or no answer to life. Life is a movement, an endless movement, and to inquire into this extraordinary thing called life, with all its innumerable aspects, one must ask fundamental questions and never be satisfied with answers, however satisfactory they may be, because the moment you have an answer, the mind has concluded, and conclusion is not life - it is merely a static state. So what is important is to ask the right question and never be satisfied with the answer, however clever, however logical, because the truth of the question lies beyond the conclusion, beyond the answer, beyond the verbal expression. The mind that asks a question and is merely satisfied with an explanation, a verbal statement, remains superficial. It is only the mind that asks a fundamental question and is capable of pursuing that question to the end - it is only such a mind that can find out what is truth.
The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose.
Moderation? It's mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise. It's the devil's dilemma. It's neither doing nor not doing. It's the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy. Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence-sitters of the world afraid to take a stand. It's for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die. Moderation...is lukewarm tea, the devil's own brew.
Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person's thoughts.
We will never deny that subsistence is a fundamental human need which must be satisfied through adequate income, nutrition, housing and work for all. But we will also insist that protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity and freedom are extremely fundamental human needs as well.
Every aspect of thought and emotion is rooted in brain structure and function, including many psychological disorders and, presumably, genius. The study confirms that the brain is a modular system comprising multiple intelligences, mostly nonverbal.
You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?
Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to "keep" by force of mere inertia.
It is rather more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because you think the Creator of the Universe wants you to do it, or will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it. The problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available.
The only profitable conversations are with enthusiasts who have ceased being so, with the ex-naïve. Calmed down at last, they have taken, willy-nilly, the decisive step toward knowledge, that impersonal version of disappointment.
It is not too much to say that in the extreme development the chance to reason of most men is destroyed, as rationality increases and its locus, its control, is moved from the individual to the big-scale organization.
I got interested in the emotions after studying patients who had lost the ability to emote and feel under certain circumstances. Many of those patients also had major impairments in their ability to make decisions.
Nowadays, we are confronted by a huge gap between rich and poor. This is not only morally wrong, but practically a mistake. It leads to the rich living in anxiety and the poor living in frustration, which has the potential to lead to more violence. We have to work to reduce this gap. It's truly unfair that some people should have so much while others go hungry.
That faint light in each of us which dates back to before our birth, to before all births, is what must be protected if we want to rejoin that remote glory from which we shall never know why we were separated.
Indeed, the line between perceiving and hallucinating is not as crisp as we like to think. In a sense, when we look at the world, we are hallucinating all the time. One could almost regard perception as the act of choosing the one hallucination that best fits the incoming data.
Of necessity, the autobiographical self is not just about one individual but about all the others that an individual interacts with. Of necessity, it incorporates the culture in which the interactions took place.
There is no real independent self, aloof from other human beings, inspecting the world, inspecting other people. You are, in fact, connected not just via Facebook and Internet, you're actually quite literally connected by your neurons.