Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Philosophical Roundup

True or False, yes or no: (bonus if you can name the source)

The inability to move frees me from the obligation to act.

What cannot be shunned must be embraced.

The desire of the body is to act...Because the spirit is of the earth, it is that part which makes new things out of old ones...Because the "soul" is made of light and dwells in the air, it is that part which conceives and keeps ideas, especially the idea of the self.

The common people are free - they can leave God and not feel the pain of it for years. A prophet can't leave God for an hour.

This is the tragedy of language...Those who know each other only through symbolic representations are forced to imagine each other, and because their imagination is imperfect, they are often wrong.

The human brain,...just like a computer, can only receive data at certain speeds. If you get too slow, the listener's attention wanders and the information is lost.

I choose to live in a universe that has some hope in it.

[Bad] things are possible. And because they're possible, we have to think of them so they don't surprise us later. We have to think of them so that if the worst does come, we'll already know how to live in that universe.

Humans beings do metamorphose. They change their identity constantly. However, each new identity thrives on the delusion that it was always in possession of the body it has just conquered. Such changes are superficial. The nature of the organism remains the same. Humans are very proud of their changes, but every imagined transformation turns out to be a new set of excuses for behaving exactly as the individual has always behaved.

A prophet must never be a burden to the common people. The people must always be grateful, never resentful, that God has chosen their community of all communities to hear His voice. The folk see only a prophet's power and privileges, and envy them. They don't know the great suffering of those who hear the voice of God.

I understand belief.
No, you desire belief.
I desire it enough to act as if I believed. Maybe that's what faith is.
Or deliberate insanity.

If the universe isn't infinite, what's beyond the edge?

Individual lives have some meaning at the level of physics...When a human being chooses to bond with another person, when he makes a commitment to a community, it is not just a social phenomenon. It's a physical event as well. ...[But] a physicist would be so locked into the consensus of his scientific community that it would be harder for him to accept an idea that transformed the meaning of everything he knew, even if it were true.

Grief is almost always for the mourner's loss.

If you are too busy to perform righteous labour, then you are not on God's path.

One of each thing is enough for a pure soul.
A pure soul must never grow attached to any one thing.
A pure soul must expose himself to new things every day.

If I believe an idea, it becomes my own.

The only way to retrieve a secret, once it is known, is to replace it with a lie. Then the knowledge of the truth is once again your secret.

The wise are not wise because they make no mistakes. They are wise because they correct their mistakes as soon as they recognize them.

If you are in fact doing the will of God, then God will open a way for you to solve the problem that has been set before you.

To stop a human being from doing something, you must find a way to make the person stop wanting to do it.

It is will and memory that makes up a person's identity.

The solution to any problem does not depend on talk - it depends on knowledge and action - knowledge you can learn, actions you can perform.

Who is more cursed, the one who dies unknowing until the very moment of his death, or the one who watches his own destruction as it approaches, step by step, for days and weeks and years?

It is often the ideas that sound most absurd and counterintuitive at first that later cause fundamental shifts in the way we wee the world.

Don't assume you know why something happens.

It is not a sin to speak to unbelievers in the language of their unbelief.

Matter and energy are composed of nothing but information. E=MC(squared). Matter and energy are 100% interchangeable. It's not that you have a soul, it's that you are a soul.

We spend our lives guessing what's going on inside everybody else, and when we happen to get lucky and guess rightly, we think we "understand." Such nonsense!

I have detached myself from the world.

Wordlessness is not noncommunication. A steady, penetrating gaze is in itself an eloquent expression of skepticism. When a person is confronted with that unblinking regard, he soon succumbs to all his own insecurities. Every doubt that he had managed to put aside and ignore now forces itself forward.

Some have thought that if only people could communicate mind-to-mind, eliminating the ambiguities of language, then understanding would be perfect and there'd be no more needless conflicts. But perhaps rather than magnifying differences between people, language might just as easily soften them, minimize them, smooth things over so that people can get along even though they don't really understand each other. The illusion of comprehension allows people to think they are more alike than they really are. Maybe language is better.

You believe that miracles are possible?
Yes.
But you don't think any of them actually happen?
I believe that they do happen. I just don't know if people accurately perceive which events are miracles and which are not. There are no doubt many miracles claimed which are not miracles at all. There are also probably many more miracles no one recognized when they occurred.
...Why no miracle for me?
Part of the miracle is that no one knows why it happens.

Maybe it isn't based on what you deserve. Maybe it's based on what you need.

Old writers understood what they stories meant to the people of their time, and new writers understand what the stories mean to the people of their time.
So the story changes?
Yes.
And yet, each time they still think of the story as a true memory?
Some stories are true, other stories are truthful.

No matter how well you know what a person has done and what he thought he was doing when he did it and what he now thinks of what he did, it is impossible to be certain of what he will do next.

Most people are able to hold most stories in abeyance, to keep a little distance between the story and their inmost heart. [But for some,] the terrible lie has become the self-story, the tale that you must believe if you are to remain yourself. Few who are captured b y such a powerful story are ever able to win free of it...But maybe you know, in some secret place within yourself, that there is another way to survive, a way that you simply haven't found yet.

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