Thoughtful Quotes of the day, 12/22/2009

Quotes I found thought provoking

“Every fear is an unconfronted weakness.” – Kurt Saxon in the essay “Survival and the Paranoid” 1977

“Intellectual understanding in the strict sense is found at the highest pinnacle of human selfhood, what the philosophers call the “actual intellect.” When such understanding leaves the realm of pure intelligence and descends to the level of thought and language, we are dealing with its expression, which will always be inadequate. To begin with, expression is simply transmitted knowledge, not actual understanding. Nonetheless, we can still appreciate that a distinction has always been drawn between these two sorts of knowledge in Islam and other traditions. It is this distinction that I need to clarify at the outset..  ignorance of the foundational importance of intellectual understanding has contributed to the crises faced not only by Muslims, but also by the human community in general.” – William Chittick, Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul

“..an objection will undoubtedly be raised here: Is it possible  to go beyond nature? We do not hesitate to answer plainly: Not only is it possible, but it is a fact. Again it might be said, is this not merely an assertion; what proofs thereof can be adduced? It is truly strange that proof is demanded concerning the possibility of a kind of knowledge instead of searching for it and verifying it for one’s self by undertaking the work necessary for its acquisition.  For those who possess this knowledge, what interest can there be in all this discussion? Substituting a “theory of knowledge” for knowledge itself is perhaps the greatest admission of impotence in modern philosophy..

..all certitude contains something incommunicable. Nobody can truly attain to any knowledge other than by a strictly personal effort; all that one can do for another is to offer him the opportunity and indicate the means by which to attain the same knowledge. That is why it would be vain to attempt to impose any belief in the purely intellectual realm; the best argument in the world could not in this respect replace direct and effective knowledge..” -Rene Guenon, in his essay “Oriental Metaphysics”

“In the light of what we have recently learned about animal behavior in general, and human behavior in particular, it has become clear that control through the punishment of undesirable behavior is less effective, in the long run, than control through the reinforcement of desirable behavior by rewards, and that government through terror works on the whole less well than government through the non-violent manipulation of the environment and of the thoughts and feelings of individual men, women and children. Punishment temporarily puts a stop to undesirable behavior, but does not permanently reduce the victim’s tendency to indulge in it. Moreover, the psycho-physical by-products of punishment may be just as undesirable…

..impersonal forces over which we have almost no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave
New Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses..” -Aldous Huxley, in his “Brave New World Revisited’, 1958

“the more allies you have, the better your chances. But if all you see now are enemies, that’s all you’ll see when you need friends the most.” – Kurt Saxon in the essay “Survival and the Paranoid” 1977

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