The relation of philosophy to social conditions has continually been ignored by professional philosophers. Marxists are interested in philosophy as an effect, but do not recognize it as a cause. Yet plainly every important philosophy is both.
But China did one thing for me that the East is apt to do for Europeans who study it with sensitive sympathy: it taught me to think in long stretches of time, and not to be reduced to despair by the badness of the present.
His most emphatic advice was that one must always re-write. I conscientiously tried this, but found that my first draft was almost always better than my second. This discovery has saved me an immense amount of time.
In fact, all imitation is dangerous.
Pathetic and very terrible is the long history of cruelty and torture, of degradation and human sacrifice, endured in the hope of placating the jealous gods.
Politics is largely governed by sententious platitudes which are devoid of truth.
I am persuaded that there is absolutely no limit to the absurdities that can, by government action, come to be generally believed.
To avoid the various foolish opinions to which mankind are prone, no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep you, not from all error, but from silly error:
-If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself.
-If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do.
-A good way of ridding yourself of certain kinds of dogmatism is to become aware of opinions held in social circles different from your own.
-Be very wary of opinions that flatter your self-esteem.
-Bertrand Russell, as culled from this book