Saturday, May 12, 2007

The New Commandments

I should be studying and writing papers, but I find both of these interesting. I may comment later.
Individual Commandments; Bertrand Russell's Liberal Decalogue:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it is worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent on authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do, the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.

* First published in the New York Times, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism -- Liberalism," in 1951.

Collective Commandments; Norwegian/Danish author Aksel Sandemose's Janteloven in En flygtning krydser sit spor (A refugee crosses his tracks), 1933:

1. Don't think that
you are special.
2. Don't think that you are of the same standing as
3. Don't think that you are smarter than us.
4. Don't fancy yourself as being better than
5. Don't think that you know more than
6. Don't think that you are more important than
7. Don't think that
you are good at anything.
8. Don't laugh at
9. Don't think that anyone cares about
10. Don't think that you can teach
us anything.

... United States hegemonic worldview, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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