I read big so that you can read small.
Thinking is easy, all you have to do is
cross out the wrong words.
‘If the Dao, the Way, is being followed in the world, then show yourself. If it is not, then retire in seclusion. In a state that has the Way, to be poor and of low status is a reason for you to be ashamed; in a state that does not follow the Way, to be rich and famous is equally a cause for being ashamed of yourself.’
It was a quote attributed to Confucius coming from the East that led me to the Isles of Scilly, 30 miles removed at the south of the British mainland, to reflect on what our current state has to offer, and to begin studying ‘A History of Western Philosophy’, written by Bertrand Russell.
The following pages are my favourite excerpts from his 900-page book, hence the front-page the tag line ‘I read big so that you can read small.’. In amongst these excerpts are some of my own thoughts put into words. Any entries that follow with a smiley face [ :-) ] are my personal favourites. I hope that you enjoy.
It is of my opinion that the telegraph standing victoriously against gravity upon the distant hill is beautiful. It is of irrefutable knowledge that this beauty causes happiness to the soul.
The house in my head is real.
The house that I see is a projection.
What we see in the outer world, reality, is only real when deciphered by our complex minds.
All of the purest anecdotal thoughts remain confined to the mind. God shall not reveal itself.
Most of the best thoughts and one-liners that occur to me I either do not write down or occur to me when I’m alone.
The young human, who is to be a philosophical guardian, is to spend the years from 20-30 studying arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and harmony.
All of these debates about cyclic life and it’s ever-changingness come back to the answer that it is words that put the universe and the experience of life in its place. Spelling and syntax.
Everything that has been built or done has occurred due to the uniqueness of humans’ ability to speak. Whether the world actually responds and adapts to words or whether it is just humans who act upon them, I do not know.
Knowledge is the judgement of perceptions.
‘I have 10 fingers.’ Oh, do you? Are all fingers the same size? No? So, what you mean is that you have 10 of something that you’d like to generalise as being ‘fingers’. Thankfully, for the sake of understanding and progression, I accept with out question this generalisation. P.155
Perception is the source of knowledge for all animals – though not for humans. A dog walks with his nose to the ground, a human with their head in the heavens.
The meaning of a word does not change, only the process of interpretation. The word retains its fluctuating identity, as humans’ minds are the measure of all things.
I am an Individual
U are Universal
W are Won
I have the words simple enough to be understood and not too complex to think and write in.
I do not wish to alienate others by using words not common to the masses. I have a restricted vocabulary that can be understood by all.
There are no straight lines in nature because all needs shape and form to exist. A bronze sphere. A smooth sea. Not ‘a sphere’, not ‘a sea’. Not ‘a body’, a souled body. P.165
Haha, who would have thought it? It turns out that, despite the fact that I choose reading over television, I can in fact identify as a teleologist – a belief that all things have an unalterable purpose. Life is a reaction of things that have happened in the past and through such laws they are unescapable.
I shall never be able to judge others as I shall never have enough experience.
Theosophy is one step up from philosophy, as it is based on an intuitive insight into the divine nature. I trust that what I believe is true.
The magnanimous human. P.175
Every child, when, at the age of understanding, should be told that: You have a brother, but you do not know what he looks like or who he is; you have a sister, that you have not yet seen or met; there is a possibility that your mother or father may not be genetic; you have a grandmother roaming this earth, though you do not know her characteristics; the same as mentioned for your grandfather. Then all in the world would be well. Love would not be watered down in this case as the core of the family would remain, there would just be one unknown quantum, a ‘third person’, that must be treated with respect.
Property is private but sharing is practised.
Writing for the sake of writing;
Words for the sake of words.
Live and let live. Sometimes I wonder whether dwelling on matters of existence can be detrimental to the present. I believe that a medium should be found between reading and talking and the enjoyment of this experience.
Without change and upheaval, there would be no notion of a heaven or a hell. Make of it what you will. Without good, there’s no bad. The ups and downs of life are what shape our personality.
Probability should be our guide in practise, since it is reasonable to act on the most probable of hypotheses. P.238
It is the interpretation of words, not the speaking itself, that leads to cause and produce; for meanings can differ from person to person, experience to experience.
One must act in the proper way, nothing to do with essence or virtue or principle, but in a deductive manner from the choices and possibilities that could arise. The world itself is in some ways autistic, liking things to be done properly and to be thoroughly regulated, which is why routine is good for humans. Brushing your teeth is a routine, don’t get out of that one! This is the way in which I, personally, think and, through gnosis, must be what the world wishes me to think. I must, therefore, believe it, as if I do not believe in my own surety, then all hope of true conviction is lost.
‘Flee from every form of culture’ – be in the minority contrasting the majority. Do not flee your troubles though – even if outward misfortune is escaped, peace of mind will never be there. We must face as(our?) problems as no matter where our physical body is located on this planet, our mind and thoughts will always be inside our head.P.245
The 2 greatest sources of fear are religion and death, which are inextricably linked. P.246
The soul, after death, continues to live as particles in what we call ‘air’; the wicked, after death, are less fortunate, as sin makes the vapours of the soul muddy – the very wicked stay near the earth and are reincarnated, where as the good rise to the stellar-sphere; here they possible help other souls, linking into astrology. P.259
My eloquence shall continue to flow like the blood out of my dying veins.
Nothing is the only ever-present, waiting to be exposed by . Darkness is the only ever-present, waiting to be exposed by . Writing whilst tired, or perhaps thinking whilst writing (see start of book) caused be to misplace these 2 words, yet this ‘mistake’ has led to the quick, subsequent realisation that these 2 words are very much interchangeable. Light is the source of life – the sun of God.
The senses  are the gateway to the higher world of Love and Truth , for they stir feelings and emotions that we have experienced times before. Once there, we are close to contact with the One , from which all emanates.
Our outward, visible features resemble what the soul within wishes to create; we, in appearance, mimic our soul. Happy and content souls shall have an inviting face, which the sub-conscious of others shall pick up on.
The impending need for conflict resolution creates a need for scholastic, practical philosophy. A true philosopher can only flourish in times of leisure – here I sit, writing next to the breathing sea.
I can only write of what troubles me, for the Good is wholly indescribable – if this Earth isn’t heaven, then what is?
Stubbornness can lead to a whole manner of things. An unwillingness to compromise can mean that no tangible progress is ever made.
Immortality exists in a name, a thought, not in body, nor in soul; it shall remain in the mind of humans.
Whoever condemns sex would not be alive and able to do so if this ‘sin’ had been prohibited. I wrote this in relation to the Church, but having visited the Vatican, their walls and ceilings contain naked people often engaged in orgies, a likeable pastime of our ancestors.
If a holy man is truly holy, he must have the capabilities to delve into the dealings of ‘worldly’ politics. If you have the intelligence and knowledge to make this world better, than act on this. Never consider yourself above the welfare of the state. P.329
We argue over very subtle and abstruse questions, causing grave results, whereas if all of humanity stood in a line watching the sun set, I am sure that we would all join hands.
Even reading about the Church is mentally draining. I acknowledge its merits in establishing unity, but I abhor its theology; praise be to the age in which I am incarnate…nothing good came from easy labour though, so continue with an open mind I must.
The fountain of knowledge, and the knowledge of the fountain of knowledge, is perceived simultaneously through the All-Seeing-I; when one pair of lids shut, it is therefore impossible to die. Consciousness breeds consciousness, perpetually, until all lights go out, trying to make some sense of the manifested mess.
Matter travels through the air without a care of where it is heading, before it is sniffed up by the nostrils and becomes something that we humans call ‘smell’; who can tell if this was its intended purpose?
My eye’s’ perspective believes that it could not be any other way, and that on any given day, the taste of mint on the tongue can never be wrong.
On the contrary, I love to hear the thoughts of those who disagree, for all delving discourse shall eventually produce a balanced harmony, which the I wishes to see.
I find myself welling up, like all the great rivers of this life are inside of me, for I is the measure of all things and these things shall forever touch my soul.
Remember, dear perceiver, that all you hear, see, smell, taste and touch is merely a reflection of self.
Too much came from the over-thinking of plucking some pears from a neighbour’s tree as an innocent child. P.345
Friends ask how I can eat so much and stay thin. I answer that no one runs more circles in the mind than I do.
There’s no need to look in mirrors, internal refection brings positive outward projection. I used to believe that the obsession with mirrors was some weird conspiracy that was pushed on us so that we were constantly reminded that all we supposedly are is flesh. But we are more than that. I now believe, though, that, although vanity and constant selfies are going a little too far, mirrors are great because we can be reminded of this great incarnation. This doesn’t really relate too much to this entry, I just though I’d tell you.
Every human must do what is best for their own sanity and peace of mind; rationalise the irrational, consciously object the bad incidents.
Practise what you preach, or be content with, and subject to, nothingness.
Word of God, World of God. Very similarly spelled, could they be the same?
‘Who are you reading at the moment?’
‘Yes, playdough. The world is God’s putty creation.’
Time is only momentary, yet this moment is constant; everything happens all at once; last year was yesterday, only a split-second ago.
The human mind, the created vehicle, makes time subjective; it expects, considers, and remembers:
The present of things past is memory.
The present of things present is sight.
The present of things future is expectation. P.354
Chastity is a virtue of the mind. Regardless of whether we are living in the moment and are having sex with a new person who is in a presence, the enduring love that you hold for another person can remain in the mind.
So, finally, the 6 days of Creation is explained to me. 6 is a perfect number, consisting of the sum of its factors, 1, 2 and 3. P.359
The flowery year breathes (air) odours in the spring.
The scorching (fire) summer corn doth bear.
The autumn fruit (earth) from laden trees doth bring.
The falling rain (water) doth winter’s moisture give.
These rules thus nourish and maintain all creatures which we see on earth to live.
Beauty can be found in the dirt, dirt in amongst the beauty.
The story of Genesis, and may I add the Bible as a whole, is allegorical, in that it is a story with an under-lying meaning as well as a literal one. The Church has completely missed this fact, mainly due to an individual obsession with power, wealth and legend.
Sin consists in misdirected will, in falsely supposing that something good which is not so. P.406
Separation creates hierarchies, especially when they claim to be God-given. The increased power of the benefactor allows them to be the creator and imposers of law. People should not be referred to as being in a certain class.
The fact that you can supposedly confess and be forgiven therefore gives subconscious permission to commit the deed in the first place.
Simony – The act of selling the duties of the church; ecclesiastical preferment, which follows the order that wealth comes before merit. P.409
Celebrities have private estates as they have to be seen as removed from society.
The intellectual human is a reformer. Intelligence is inherent in evolution; think of something new.
What may be and must be, is. P.417
Reason is subordinate to faith; I believe in order to understand.
There is an exalted status assigned to the merchant in the Muslim system of ethics; i.e. corner-shop owners throughout England.
Discipline when straying from the path should tame any beast. Instead of putting people in prison, they should be educated and taught that they are able to be valuable and contribute to society.
Progression and unorthodoxy is best when covert. We must do the small things and lay the foundations and then build on top of them. Too much change too quickly can be daunting to some.
Only nature can decree whether an investiture (official appointment) is legitimate; nature, time and outcome.
I read with pleasure yet speak with difficulty. Because of all the thoughts that swirl around my mind, finding the correct things to say in certain circumstances is not always easy.
A whole, human, which has parts has no reality of its own, but is a mere word; the reality is in the parts. We walk with our feet, eat with our mouth, type and write with our hands, think with our minds. We are a collection of parts.
Things resemble each other, and these resemblances give rise to universals; the point of resemblance between 2 things is not a thing itself; general concepts are not based in the nature of things, but are confused images of many things. We pile lots of information together and condense this information to create one ‘thing’. P.438
A human may be wise in building a house, a means to a particular end, but all particular ends are subordinate to the end of the universe. There is a plan at work here that we cannot comprehend or see through our version of time-consciousness.
We find various perfections in the (visible) world, i.e. the inside of a flower, and these must have their source in something completely perfect; as again, with flowers we find lifeless things serving a purpose (beauty/pleasure), which must be that of some being outside them, since only living things can have an internal purpose.
God knows not our world of particular things, for he only knows their prime, universal basis and their general truths.
I am happy, and am my own happiness.
Prayer is useful; providence is unchangeable.
If we all come from Adam and Eve, how can the Church condemn incest? We’re all brothers and sisters.
The mythical, mystical Jesus is quoted as saying that except a human born of water and of the spirit can enter into the Kingdom of God. All humans consist of water and a fiery spirit, and we can all enter the Kingdom of God on this planet.
The 4 causes of ignorance: Frail and unsuited authority; the influence of custom; the opinion of the unlearned crowd; the concealment of one’s own ignorance in a display of apparent wisdom. Being overwhelmed with lots of separate forms of influences and opinions make it hard for people to delve into matters of truth, thus causing them to discard this pursuit and entirely lead a life of ignorance.
The active intellect is a substance separate from the soul.
Logic deals with things fabricated by the mind within itself, which cannot exist except through the existence of reason.
The 6 metaphysical terms are as follows: Being; thing; something; one; true; good. These terms have peculiarity that they can all be the subject of another. P.473
X is similar to Z, but not in virtue of a third thing called similarity. Similarity is a term of second invention, and it is in the mind. Though 2 things may appear similar in appearance, or smell, or taste, in the outer world, it is our mind that categorises these things and then applies the term ‘similarity’ to them.
Once you know you can never go back. Once certain information has fired across the synapses in your brain, these pathways are open and impossible to close.
We may with our appetites desire something that with our understanding we reject. I may crave some sweets but I understand that they are filled with excessive amounts of sugar and other detrimental chemicals.
Scientific technique confers a sense of power, but this power is social, not individual, and requires the co-operation of a large number of individuals organised under a single direction – the scientific technique of governmental control, where ends are no longer considered and only the skilfulness of the process is valued. P.494
The problem of a durable and satisfactory social order can only be solved by combining the solidity of the Roman Empire with the idealism of the City of God; to achieve this, a new philosophy will be needed…
Power is for those who have the skill to seize it in a free competition; ‘rights’ prevail because they have superior power.
Civilised humans are unscrupulous egoists; it would be easier to establish a modern republic with countrymen and mountaineers, as humans of a city are corrupt.
If you should write again so eloquently, please do add a commentary.
Folly: She sings her praises with great gusto; she covers all parts of human life, and all classes and professions; she counsels, as an antidote to wisdom, taking a wife, a creature so harmless and silly, as might soothe and make possible the stiffness and acute humour of men; but for her the human race would die out, for who can marry without folly? The best happiness is that which is based on delusion, since it costs the least; it is easier to imagine oneself a king to make oneself a king in reality.
True religion comes from the heart, not the head, and all elaborate theology is superfluous. We must trust what our heart feels, though it may sometimes contradict with established religious dogma within our minds.
Discovery is delightful, and system is its enemy. Diversity is essential to happiness, this is a defect of all planned social systems, actual as well as imaginary.
If you allow yourself to be influenced by aesthetic motives, it is self-evident that all celestial motions must be circular and uniform, our position in this universe can be dethroned of its geometrical preeminence. P.526
Parallax – an apparent change in an object’s position due to a change in the observer’s position.
When several forces act simultaneously, the effect is as if each acted in turn. Suppose that you are on the deck of a moving ship, and you walk across the deck. While you are walking, the ship has moved on, so that, in relation to the water, you have moved both forward and across the direction of the ship’s motion. If you want to know where you have got in relation to the water, you may suppose that first you stood still while the ship moved, and then, for an equal time, the ship stood still while you walked across it. The same principle applies to forces. P.533
If Plato sat under a bright, artificial, torch light whilst writing, he would have had a lot more to say about this existence. One can see the particles, the atoms, the souls of life floating continuously amongst us. Let us influence them using our constructive, creative words and let reality become manifest.
The triumph of faith is greatest when, to the unassisted reason of mind, a widely-held truth appears absurd.
Induction, not deduction; take your reasoned conclusion from particular instances. You may experience unique moments in life where things happen beyond our comprehension, such as thinking of something and then seeing it manifest in front of you in the near future. It is these moments, taking place in only our mind, that we must believe in.
Do not trust to induction by simple enumeration, you must follow every possible truth down to the smallest degree. We start off with general laws, and then reach laws of the second degree of generality, and so on.
The 4 bad habits of mind:
 Those of the tribe, i.e. in human nature and expecting more order in life than is to be found.
 Those of the cave, i.e. personal prejudices.
 Those of the market-place, i.e. the oppressing use of words.
 Those of the theatre, i.e. the thoughts that are hard-wired in our minds from past generations. P.544
The succession of our thoughts is not arbitrary, but governed by laws – sometimes by association, sometimes by a purpose in our thinking.
Endeavour is a small beginning of motion – towards something it is called desire, away from a goal is aversion.
Fear of invisible power, if allowed by consensus, is called religion, if not, then superstition. What is accepted by the masses, regardless of how farfetched it may seem, can be deemed a religion, but if there is a group who worship say, nature, as god, then these people are considered to be superstitious and often heretic.
Happiness is a continual process; it consists in prospering, not in having prospered, except of course the joys of life, which surpass our comprehension. Random acts of kindness that we witness often stop us in our tracks and make us grateful for our incarnation, but striving towards an inner goal, and constantly re-evaluating this goal is how we get happiness.
The agreement of humans cannot be natural, but must be an artificial covenant.
The soul, residing in the pineal gland, coming into contact with vital spirits, cannot affect the total quantity of motion of these vital spirits – A.S.A (also said as) the effect of mind on matter. P.561
Mind and body: Each is wound up by God to keep time with the other, so that when I choose, the laws of physics causes my arm to move, with my will not really having acted on my body – the appearance of interaction and the denial of reality.
Tangible nature is less easy to question than beliefs about particular things i.e. arithmetic is more certain than astronomy.
I may have no body, this might be an illusion, but thought is different. No demon could deceive me if I did not exist; I exist while I think. I am a thing that thinks, a substance of which the whole nature consists in thinking. I think therefore I am.
A thing that thinks: Doubts, understands, conceives, affirms, denies, wills, imagines and feels (feeling as it occurs in dreams is a form of thinking).
The mind must always think, even during sleep; I exist while I think; thought is essence. Whilst reading this book, my dreams were vivid and I intended to next read a book about the interpretation of dreams, and why we dream. Little did I know that philosophy would answer this question for me. We dream because our minds must always be thinking, this is our being.
I understand by the sole power of judgement, which resides in my mind, what I thought I saw with my eyes.
Since God is good, he will not give me cause for doubt, meaning that my inclination to believe in things must be true as God would be deceitful if they were not so.
Spinoza is the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers. In controversy he was courteous and reasonable, never denouncing, but doing his utmost to persuade.
Nothing finite is self-subsistent, and is defined by its boundaries; all determination is negation. This again relates to form, as if we did not have boundaries, we would encompass everything and things in the whole would not be distinguishable. To use a crude example, we know an apple is an apple because it is not a pear, we know it is safe to eat because it is not bitter. P.571
The evil, in what seems to us as sin, does not exist when they are viewed as parts of the whole.
Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavours to persevere in its own being – hence the formation of love and hate and strife; he who conceives that the object of his hate is destroyed will feel pleasure. It is possible to feel pleasure if we are able to destroy a competitor. This perverse pleasure creates separation and ego.
We seem more concerned and our emotions are effected by what happens in our own time, but this is irrational, as time is eternal to God; the wise human endeavours to see the world under the aspect of eternity.
In so far as a human is an unwilling part of the whole, they are in bondage; but, through understanding, if they have grasped the sole reality of the whole they are free. The trivialities of the present can be escaped when we take a deep breath and remind ourselves that there has been plenty of history before us and plenty more to come.
As all things whereof a human is the efficient cause are good, no evil can befall them except through supposed external causes. If I made a journey, the notion of me must from all eternity have included the notion of this journey, which is absolute. When we bring happiness to each other, this is the truest form, and we can only be brought down from the joyous pedestal if we begin to see subsequent events as external, whereas we should see them as a part of our long journey. The essence, the notion, of me consists of all the things that will ever happen to me. I am a subject of my experiences.
The intellectual love of the mind towards God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves itself. When something clicks in our mind it is as if God has undone a kink in his workings and is happy and delighted with the subsequent outcome.
Spiritual unhealthiness and misfortunes can be traced by excessive love to something that is subject to many variations. Humans can change rapidly, often going from one extreme to another and back again. When we cling too tightly to the love of another, we often hurt ourselves in the process, wondering why this always seems to happen to us. To love something truly, we must allow it to breathe.
We ought to be as resigned to events as to the fact that 2+2=4, since they are equally the outcome of logical necessity.
Hatred which is completely vanquished by love, passes into love; and love is thereupon greater, than if hatred had not preceded it. On a survey of the known world, we find things which cannot be explained as the product of natural forces and have evidence of a beneficent purpose; God could have created a world with no evil, but some of the greatest good are logically bound up with certain evils – free will sin – this thesis though could lead to the opposite assertion that God is actually the Devil, and he wishes to heighten evil. We may only be able to discover the correct way to do something if we learn from the mistakes of the past and our ancestors.
In me, God set a challenge.
Thought is liquid. They come and go freely, or they can be frozen to memory, never to be refuted, or they can be evaporated and never to be thought of again.
The infinite number of substances, monads, have some of the properties of a physical point, but only when viewed as an idea: Each monad is a soul, and there is a pre-established harmony between the changes in monads, which produces the artificiality of interaction. P.583
2+2=4 is always true, and all statements to do with essence are always true or never true. These eternal truths must be part of an eternal mind, and are called necessary truths. There are some rules which must always apply for this life to continue to function and flow.
The existent is the being which is compatible with the most things. What ever exists must do so in harmony.
There can be no vacuum of spaces. God created everything and it must therefore be filled with the particles of being.
All men are born equal and are products of circumstance, which is why we must act and educate properly.
In order for an argument to be fair, the same intellectual standards must be accepted by both parties. In an argument that is being observed, if one person begins to quote facts beyond the comprehension of the other, then they may appear to be more knowledgeable in general and judged to be the victor.
A philosophy developed in a politically and economically advanced country, which is, in its birthplace, little more than a clarification of prevalent opinion, may become elsewhere a source of revolution – practise inspires theory, and then theory inspires practise. Established customs, for example women’s rights, in one country may, when discovered, lead to a demand for this to be established in a country that does not apply these customs.
Successful revolutions are stimulating to those who believe in them. The energy brought forth by a change in political party, or a shift from the right to the left, can be the catalyst for a whole nation to prosper.
A principle may be nearly true as to deserve theoretical respect, yet may lead to absurd practical consequences; there is therefor a justification for common sense in philosophy. P.606
When there is a multiplicity of inconsistent revelations, truth becomes purely personal and loses its social character. Lies from the government may only be able to be deciphered by those who study them closely. These individuals must have the self-belief to trust their findings and not succumb to the generally accepted truths and opinions. The love of truth is to not entertain any proposition with general assurance than the proof it is built upon will warrant.
Let us suppose that the mind is white paper, how does it come to be painted? From experience, in that all our knowledge is founded, and from it it ultimately derives itself; none of our knowledge can ante-date experience. P.610
Perception is the inlet of all the materials of knowledge.
To argue about the essence of things is to argue merely about words – no harm can result so long as we adhere to our own definition.
The boundaries of the species, whereby humans sort them, are made by humans. We have determined our own cycle of evolution by applying a linear line to it. Perhaps if viewed as a whole, we are all connected more closely.
The odds are Gods – the ground of probability lead way to realisation, so long as they conform with our own experience.
We should be busier informing ourselves than restraining others. Our own experience is the most important, the knowledge that we gain can change nations. If we encounter any singular, stray souls on our journey, we should allow them to continue along their path and learn for themselves. It is safer to sit in a room and read and store knowledge that to attempt to pass this knowledge onto others, as we do not know whether this knowledge that benefits us will do so for others.
A philosophy which is not self-consistent can very well be wholly true, but a philosophy which is self-consistent can very well be wholly false. P.613
Your desire is moved by happiness.
If you substitute human laws for God, then each human, in pursuing their own happiness, should be compelled to the general happiness – in modern times though, money is too often regarded as the general happiness. It is in nature for a balanced state to be desired, so if we therefore each pursue our desires then this should lead to a mutually beneficial world.
Pleasures lose their attractiveness, and pains their terrors, in proportion to the future distance. P.614
Morality is capable of demonstration: No government allows absolute liberty – the idea of government being the establishment of society upon certain rules or laws, which require conformity to them; and the idea of absolute liberty being for anyone to do whatever they please: I am as capable of being certain of the truth of this proposition as of any in mathematics.
I try not to think too much so that I can become part of non-existence, which is the ultimate. When we still and quiet our mind, we blend into the tranquil cosmos.
Everyone is someone- arm, leg, leg, arm, head - this is God's body. We are all special.
The earth, conscious in its whole, is an eyeball in the universal face of God- hence the wondrous colour and uniqueness of every human's eyes.
Everything, to human, is like the dog being walked on the lead – an extension of self.
I have to look to see what is real.
There are more than 5 senses; my perceptions are endless. I have a sense of how to climb, I have a sense of what to say next, to communicate; I have a sense to judge what is actually occurring. The sixth, eternal sense of mind.
Humankind is naturally endowed and born free from all subjection, with the power that anyone has over others being bestowed by the discretion of the multitude. P.618
It is impossible in nature for a human to give a law unto theirself. Laws are laws because they are agreed upon by more than one person.
We think it natural that a human should leave their property to their children – we accept the hereditary power economically but not politically.
If at any point a human law is in conflict with a natural law, then it ceases to be a law, or a mere perversion.
The human who first thinks a new idea is so much ahead of their time that everyone thinks them silly, so that they remain obscure and soon forgotten. But when the world is ready for the idea, the person who proclaims it at the fortunate moment gets all the credit.
In what circumstances is war justified? So long as no international government exists, the answer to this question is purely ethical and not legal. P.628
Civil government is the result of a contract, and is an affair purely of this world, and not of divine authority.
Absolute monarchy is as if humans protected themselves against foxes, but are content and think it is safe to be devoured by lions.
It was once supposed that many questions have to be decided too quickly for it to be possible to ascertain the opinion of the electorate – not any for more, for we have the internet. With the power of the internet, we are able to much more effectively communicate and decide matters as a whole notion, leaving the notion of elected peers to do this for us as obsolete.
Coercion is the essence of government. P/633
A man may own as much land as he can harvest, but not more. We have a big divide in this world with people having too much and therefore discarding it or not using it regularly and also people who are constantly striving for survival and unable to access facilities that may bring them joy.
To some extent, civilisation is furthered by social injustice, being the basis of conservatism. P.637
How can one not love to indulge the senses in the taste of an olive? They have a unique acquired taste and they indulge the senses. I find them very tasty and they make me feel glad to be alive.
Material objects only exist through being perceived. If no one was looking at a tree, it would still be there and not have a jerky existence as God always perceives everything (the universal eye/the 3rd person, always there). There was a young man who said ‘God must think it exceedingly odd if he finds that this tree continues to be when there’s no one about in the quad.’. ‘Dear sir: Your astonishment’s odd: I am always about in the quad. And that’s why the tree will continue to be, since observed by yours faithfully, G.O.D.’
Great heat is a pain, and must be in the mind – therefore heat is mental. A sweet taste is a pleasure and a bitter taste is a pain, with pleasure and pain being mental – a sweet taste is a pleasure and a bitter taste is a pain, true, though this does not mean that they are mental and perceived; no, these qualities are in the very essence of the colour and being. A red blackberry should not be picked. This is inherent, natural knowledge. P.649
Things look big when we are near them and small when we are far off; a movement may seem quick to one but slow to another.
There is nothing in the mind, only objects before it.
Logic and empiricism combined.
Sound, as heard, cannot be identified with the motions of air that physics regard as its cause. There is a difference between how science and physics likes to measure sound and how it is actually experienced. This shows the limitations of science; sometimes we just aren’t supposed to know and understand the working of this miraculous universe.
Things, as we know them, are bundles of sensible qualities. A table has shape, hardness, noise (echo) and smell.
When we say that an event is perceived, we mean more than an occurrence. It has been remembered, a mental phenomena. A burnt child fears the fire, a burnt poker does not.
The difference between all possible truths is linguistic.
The mind is a group of events connected with others by memory-chains, backwards and forwards. P.658
All of our simple ideas are derived from simple impressions.
The mind cannot form any notion of quantity or quality without forming a precise notion of degree of each, though vagueness is different from generality, but having some of the same characteristics. P.662
Our perceptions succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement; my knowledge cannot know my true self. I am constantly evolving into my true self and these slight adjustments are something that are unable to be perceived and therefore cannot be known.
The power by which one subject produces another is not discoverable from the ideas of the 2 objects, and therefore cause and effect can only be known from experience, not reason or reflection. P.664
A constant conjunction of events – the sight of A causes an expectation of B; we cannot penetrate into the reason of the conjunction. The sight of a husband may lead us to expect to see his wife in the next couple of seconds, yet the significance of this expectation is hard to understand and quantify. P.665
Objects have no discoverable connection together, besides custom operating upon the imagination; it is this impression, or determination, which affords me the idea of necessity.
It is not solely in poetry and music, but in philosophy that we must follow our taste. We must adapt a philosophy that puts our mind at ease and one that allows thoughts to flow through us unobstructed by questions.
Nature, by an absolute necessity, has determined us to judge as well as to breathe and feel; we cannot escape what is to be.
There is no reason for studying philosophy except that, to certain temperaments, it is an agreeable way of passing time.
The sage is someone who retires from the corruption of courts and money to enjoy the peaceful pleasures of an unambitious rural existence – ‘Happy the human whose wish and care a few paternal acres bound, content to breathe his native air on his own ground.’.
The orderly cosmos, with the planets unchangingly revolving around the sun, law-abiding, is an imaginative symbol of good government.
Monsters are those gentle beings, longing for human affection, but driven to hatred and violence by the horror which their perceived ugliness inspires in those whose love they attempt to gain. Monsters, due to the fact that we are all reactions of what we experience, are created by those who shun others; this is why we should strive to act in a proper and caring manner. P.680
When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and majesty of goodness.
By self-interest, humans have become fond of company, but in instinct we have remained to a great sense solitary. When I first read this entry, I considered it to be negative that we have remained solitary in instinct, but upon consideration, we must all do what is best for our own surety. If it is called ‘instinct’ then surely it cannot be trained in a way so as to benefit the commune? Perhaps the content of the passage it has been taken from is needed to clarify this entry. P.681
I must find a compromise between the search for isolation and the necessities of passion and economics; the comforts of civilised life are not obtainable by a hermit, and a person who wishes to write books must submit to the ministrations of others.
Nations are possessed of a mystical individuality, and can have human attributes; international co-operation, however, is impossible if national liberty is absolute.
When humans discovered that others have the same ego, then the once disappointed desire for tenderness turned to hatred and violence; humans are not a solitary animal, and so long as social life survives, self-realisation cannot be the supreme principle of ethics. We must sacrifice a little of ourselves for the general good.
…‘I threw the blame from myself on the first object (mind) that presented itself.’ – the mind’s instinct to survive and preserve body. This is an example of how we push our own misgivings on to others and blame them for our circumstances. Continuing along the solitary theme, we appear at present to be a species that cannot break free of individual sustenance.
Humans are naturally good, and only by institutions are we made bad. P.687
The natural human, when they have dined, is at peace with all nature and a friend of all fellow creatures. It is the simple things in life.
The state of nature is one that exists no longer, perhaps never existed, probably never will exist, and of which nonetheless it is necessary to have just ideas, in order to judge well our present state. Nature, perhaps under the term ‘Utopia’, is something that we must look to work towards an ideal.
I believe in God as strongly as I believe in any other truth, because believing and not believing are the last things that depend on me. Whether something is categorically true or not remains true regardless of whether we believe it.
I do not deduce these rules from the principle of a high philosophy, but I find them in the depths of my heart, written by nature in ineffaceable characters – thanks be to heaven we are thus freed from all this terrifying apparatus of philosophy; we can be men without being learned, dispensed from wasting our life in the story of morals – natural feelings lead to common interest, while reason urges selfishness, meaning that feeling is greater than virtue. Perhaps if we didn’t think so much about where this world is going and who is taking us there, then we would collaborate to build the natural utopia that our aching hearts yearn for.
As I was born a citizen of a free state, and a member of the sovereign, I feel that, however feeble the influence of my voice may have been on public affairs, the right of voting on them makes it my duty to study them.
The subordinate associations of humans leads us to say that there are no longer as many votes as there are humans, but only as many as there are associations. Governing corporations pretend that there is already identity of interests between the governors and the governed, but reformers made it clear that this identity does not yet exist, and try it bring it about. Corporations and unions often speak on behalf of their members, without full, proper, prior discussion taking place beforehand.
Were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic. So perfect a government is not for humans. Perhaps not all humans are able to coexist and be democratic, which is why we elect leaders to take this responsibility.
The luxuries of evil should be confined to a monarch and their court rather than diffused throughout the population. The great indifferent sins of our leaders could be seen as being necessary so that they take away these possibilities of sin from the rest of the population.
Simple ideas are the product of things operating on the mind in a natural way.
I receive a joy in understanding when, after re-reading 2 or 3 times, the beauty of the style no longer shields the important matter and content.
Night is sublime, day is beautiful. The sea is sublime, the land is beautiful. Man is sublime, woman is beautiful. P.706
The outer world causes only the matter of sensation, but our own mental apparatus orders this matter in space and time, thus supplying our experience; whatever we experience will exhibit the characteristics of geometry, space and time. Our brains are mega-computers that order the universe.
A purely intellectual use of reason leads to fallacies; it’s only right use is directed to moral ends. Moral worth exists only when you act from a sense of duty; only a rational being has the power of acting according to the idea of law, i.e. by will. Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a general natural law. Treat your actions as though they were actions which would then be carried out by all humankind. P.711
Space is a necessary pre-determined presentation, which underlies all external perceptions, for we cannot imagine that there should be no space, although we can imagine that there should be nothing in space.
As it takes time to count, this must be an act of outdating all sensible matters. Counting is something that we commit to; it begins in one moment and can end any time in the future.
There is a subjective and an objective space, one known in experience and the other inferred by means of causation; while there is an important sense in which perceptual space is subjective, there is no sense in which perceptual time is subjective; we see thunder and then hear the lightening. P.717
Perceptual phenomenon have forms which we carry about with us since before birth as it is not dependant upon environment or experience.
You are beautiful, so that must mean that I, too, am beautiful; you are your own, choose what you like; I stand tall as my eyes perceive all it is that I can behold, shape, create and influence.
Academic philosophy has often been out of touch with the thought of the age. Whenever this happens, the historian of philosophy is less concerned with the professors than with the unprofessional heretics; an appeal less to professional philosophy than to artistic and literary people in search of a philosophy that they could believe. It is often not the learned teachers, restricted by conformity, who bring about progression, but more the people who observe the activities of their current time from their own viewpoint.
In every individual, their talents and virtues are the effect of their instruction. Humans are born ignorant, not stupid. We are made stupid by bad education.
We are sensitive beings, capable of making reasoning and acquiring moral ideas; we must apply this to morals, politics and economics, so that we can be almost as sure in these sciences as we are in the natural sciences. At present, there is a ‘me vs. you’ philosophy in politics and economics, but surely if we studied what would benefit the majority of mankind (utilitarianism) then we would come up with a formula that can be applied.
The omnipotence of education. We are forever learning and reevaluating.
In old days, peasants lived as their parents and grandparents lived, and thought as they thought. Now, authorities can decree what we shall learn in school. This new belief in power, over nature and over humans, has led to a diminution of fixity; no change seems impossible. P.728
To frame a philosophy of coping with humans intoxicated with the power and prospect of being unlimited and also with the apathy of the powerless is the task of our time.
Nothing is ultimately and completely real, except the whole, which is an organism, and is the Absolute.
Ordinary predicates turn out to be self-contradictory – to suppose that the universe is spherical is impossible, as it would have to have space outside of itself.
‘Reality is an uncle.’ – this is the thesis since nothing exists but the Absolute, and as we are committed to the existence of a nephew, we say ‘The Absolute is a nephew.’ – this is the antithesis. ‘The Absolute is the whole composed of uncle and nephew.’ – this is the synthesis. Though, a man can be an uncle only with a brother and sister – we are then driven by logic to include everything, which is the ‘Absolute Idea’. P.732
Our views of reality develop by the continual correction of previous errors, all of which arose from undue abstraction.
Thoughts shall become fluent and interfuse. Nothing is wholly false, and nothing that we can know is wholly true. ‘Where was Caesar born?’ has a straightforward answer, but in a philosophical sense, the truth is the whole, and nothing partial is quite true. If we had to answer ‘Where was Caesar born?’ to the minutest detail, such a sentence could potentially go on forever; this is why we generalise.
Spirit, the rational and necessitated will of the Absolute Idea, is the director of the events of the world’s history. To become acquainted with spirit in this, its office of guidance, is the object of our present undertaking.
In every age, there is some one nation which is charged with the mission of carrying the world through the stage of the process that it has reached.
Is there more reality and value in a whole than its parts?
Seeing may be a means or an end; it is a means when it shows us food and enemies, it is an end when it shows us something that we find beautiful.
If all knowledge were knowledge of the universe as a whole, there would be no knowledge – this is where generalisation comes in. If we knew everything, then we wouldn’t have a concept of knowledge, because we can only label and comprehend things that have a limit. P.745
Those who are hungry have no need of an elaborate philosophy to stimulate or excuse discontent, and anything of the kind appears to them merely an amusement of the idle rich. They want what others have, not some intangible and metaphysical good – the good is enough to eat, and the rest is talk. No hungry human is likely to think otherwise.
…as independent as a cherokee chief who coins no cash at all, but enjoys what is more precious: Liberty.
…the danger that I may bleed to death through the truth that I recognise. Sorrow is knowledge: They who know the most must mourn the deepest over the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge is not that of life – When the veil of illusion is lifted, a human takes on the suffering of the whole world. When we know and understand that sometimes the suffering of others is inevitably going to continue and once you accept the breaking down of time and embrace the outcome of the whole, it is possible to become downhearted at your lack of ability to change existing circumstances. P.750
The body is the appearance of which will is the reality, as the ability to decide things for oneself means this must be so. We commit to moving our body in a specific way, with sports being a good example of this. The thought is real and this produces the movement.
Will has no fixed end, which if achieved would bring contentment. Death will conquer in the end as we pursue our futile purposes – we blow out a large soap bubble knowing perfectly well that it will burst.
Instinct urges humans to procreation which brings into existence a new occasion for suffering and death.
No will, no idea, no world.
The good human will practise voluntary poverty, fasting and self-torture, to break down his individual will. The saint’s purpose is to come as near as possible to non-existence. P.757
The suffering of the majority can be seen as necessary for the production of a few great humans. Perhaps great souls can only be born out of total mess and mayhem, as they are forced to dwell on present circumstances and thus learn how not to act. P.771
Do not be ruined by the sight of suffering.
Seeing as no religion is really true, we must judge them by their social effects.
Christianity is the most fatal and seductive lie that ever existed – we are heirs to the conscience-vivisection and self-crucifixion of 2,000 years. It surely is time to advance forth into a new age and modern values.
The poets, artists and musicians have all caught glimpses of the divine beatitude. I strive to protect artists and poets and all who happen to be masters of some skill, but as a member of a higher order then those who already know to do something. Understanding that those who have great self-expression, such as the musicians, need protecting is perhaps a greater thing than being one of those musicians yourself.
The saint of nature: A spontaneous love of humankind; does good because to do so gives him happiness.
The saint from fear: Would be wicked if they were not restrained by the thought of punishment. This links into the pathways that Christianity forges in the mind, with fear of hell often being a driving force, instead of a natural spontaneity of love.
The word ‘desirable’ is not synonymous with ‘desired by me’, instead it has a shadowy claim to universal legislation.
The business of the legislator is to produce harmony between public and private interests;
it is to the interest of the public that I should abstain from theft, but it is not to my interest except where there is an effective criminal law. P.775
Wars and storms are best to read of, but peace and calms are better to endure.
Do not excuse anything on the grounds of it being traditional.
Not the intention, but the effect of an action determines its happiness and goodness. We may have a pure heart, but we still need to grasp and understand what actions act may lead to.
Free competition in orthodox economics is artificial; hedged in by legal restrictions: You may outsell a competitor, but not murder him; you may not have the good fortune to possess capital but must not seek to improve your lot by revolution – Darwinian competition was not of this sort; there were no rules against hitting below the belt. P.780
All sensation is an interaction between subject and object; the bare object, apart from the activity of the percipient, is a raw material, which is transformed in the process of becoming known.
Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, but the real task is to alter it.
Both subject and object, both the knower and the thing known, are in a continual process of mutual adaptation. A change in our location, such as walking towards an object, is an example of this. The size may change, the smell may change; what we thought we saw originally may now be something different.
Sensation would better be called noticing – we only notice things as part of the process of acting with reference to them, and any theory which leaves out action is a misleading abstraction. P.784
We find it hard to maintain an attitude of sceptical detachment on many issues as to which pure reason is silent – a ‘philosophy’ is an organic whole of such extra-rational decisions.
Social causation largely ceases to apply as soon as a problem becomes detailed and technical. Questions on the nature of life only tend to apply to those who study these questions and the finer the criteria becomes the less impact it has on society as a whole.
Philosophies of feeling: Inspired by love and happiness; either optimistic or pessimistic.
Theoretical philosophies: Inspired by the love of knowledge.
Practical philosophies: Inspired by the love of action, considering happiness an effect and knowledge as an instrument.
The life that we see is the clash and conflict of 2 opposite motions: Life, which climbs upwards, and matter, which sinks. Life gradually learns to use matter by means of organisation, though seeking always greater liberty of movement amid the opposing walls of matter. Intellect separates in space and fixes on time, it represents becoming as a series of states; becoming can be up (life) or down (matter). P.792
There is no town, no definitive goal, at the end of the road along which evolution travels; it is truly creative – there is an impulse to action, an undefined want, but until this is satisfied, it is impossible to know the nature of what will satisfy it.
Intellect is the misfortune of humans, while instinct is seen at its best in ants and bees. They produce marvellous works of intricacy, the thoughts for which come to them naturally, and all members have a duty and a role in the whole commune.
The time of the essence of life is not mathematical, it is called duration, and in memory the past survives in the present.
A human is said to remember a poem if they can repeat it by heart, i.e. by habit or mechanism. He may also be able to repeat the poem without recollection of the last time he heard it, thus no consciousness is present – the second sort of memory is when they recollect separate occasions when they have read the poem, each unique and with a date. This cannot be habit as it happened once and made its immediate impression – as a rule, only what is useful comes into consciousness. The past must be acted by matter, imagined by mind. P.797
The function of the brain is to limit our mental life to what is practically useful. But for the brain, one gathers, everything would be perceived, but in fact we only perceive what interests us.
The body, always turned towards action and perception, has for its essential function to limit, with a view to action, the life of the spirit. It is in fact an instrument of choice.
Pure experience is the immediate flux of life which furnishes the material to our later reflection. P.813
The burnt child fears the fire, even if they have no recollection of the occasion on which they were burnt – an event is classed as ‘experienced’ when it sets up a habit. We may unconsciously draw our fingernails towards the mouth and nibble on them, this is because we have experience this repetitively from a young age. Like the sucking of a thumb, some habits can be overridden.
Believe truth and avoid error.
If I have been hoping to meet a man called Tom Shirley for years, positive as opposed to negative belief should prompt me to assume that this is the name of every stranger I meet, until I acquire conclusive evidence to the contrary. Think positively.
If 3 possibilities could be true, they are likely to be false when viewed alone (33% chance). This is why we pool together lots of information when doing research as separate parts form together to form a conclusive whole.
Philosophy is an instrument, not an answer to an enigma – to find out what difference it makes to you or me if this or that world-formula is true; an idea is true so long as to believe it is profitable to our lives – truth is one species of good, not a separate category.
The interest of religion as a human phenomenon, not an interest in the objects that it contemplates. Religion can be beneficial when viewed and studied in the ways in which it brings people from all walks of life into the same building and teaches them to think and believe coherently.
The perfect model of truth is the multiplication table, which is precise and certain and free from the temporal dross.
Each piece of knowledge, when achieved, is regarded as something final. When we learn something new, that becomes the only truth in its category in our mind – if and until something else shall come along and replace it.
Truth or falsehood comes from the significance of a sentence – if you translated the year that I was born, 1993, into the Eastern calendar, you would have to alter the year to the corresponding era.
It would be better to speak of the body as an organism, leaving the division of mind and muscle (flesh) undetermined.
A false belief is one which, in suitable circumstances, will cast the person entertaining it to experience surprise; truth or false, objectively, is the state of the organism, but something is true or false in general in the virtue of occurrences outside the organism. P.822
A sentence imitates an event if it promotes behaviour which the event would have promoted. We can only truly describe events with words if we are able to stir emotions within the listener to make their body believe that it is actually occurring. Horror stories are good at doing this.
Ideas can be too static. I am a dynamic person, and when I enquire into any subject-matter I first alter it in such a way as to make the enquiry easy.
Truth is the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate. We are only what is agreed upon by others. You may be a hidden gem, an unknown talent, but the world will not remember you so. Consensus in necessary for something to be true – and therefore real.
Change the truth of the past so that it fits the future. Things can be interpreted in many ways, and nowadays often the ‘truth’ is dictated to us from our leaders. If we delve into the past, events can be found to suit the future narrative.
Don’t imitate God, imitate Christ; sacrifice yourself. I am grateful for every breath of life, I truly embrace my existence. I do not have a stand-out talent, but my friend does. My friend is an excellent singer who wishes to go to a university to study and develop their talent more, but cannot afford the tuition fees. I shall work hard myself, taking joy solely from any bird that I see, and pay for your tuition.
When errors in syntax are avoided, a philosophical problem is thereby either solved or shown to be insoluble. If we study correctly and write properly and truly, the answers shall be clarified.
Existence can only be asserted of descriptions, in which something is designated not by name but by a property that is known to distinguish it. The house? No, the house located at number 23 Providence Road. The bird? No, the bird who carried my letter from Manchester to London. Specifics are key.
The number of even
numbers that exist must be
the same as the number of all
2,4,6,8,10,12 The list of numbers, if you think about it, must go on endlessly.
What has been thought of as a particle will have to be thought of as a series of events; matter is not part of the ultimate material of the world, but merely a convenient way of collecting events into bundles. P.832
In an atom, a certain state of affairs persist for a certain time and then suddenly is replaced by a finitely different state of affairs. Continuity of motion appears to have been a mere prejudice. The world is subject to lucky, random changes.
The true philosopher is prepared to examine all preconceptions. I do not take my own beliefs for granted and I am certainly willing to question anything that contradicts my current state.
In abandoning a part of its longstanding pretensions, philosophy does not cease to suggest and inspire a way of life.
If there is any unity in the movement of history, if there is any intimate relation between what goes before and what comes later, it is necessary that earlier and later periods should be synthesised in a single mind. Hence why I read ‘A History of Western Philosophy’.
Between theology and science there is a no man’s land, exposed to attacks on both sides, this no man’s land is philosophy.
Reciprocal causation: The circumstances of human’s lives do much to determine their philosophy; their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances.
To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralysed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do for those who study it. I have a freedom relating to the unknown that liberates me, yet I do not fear what the future holds and I am not scared of commitment.
The page notifications now return to the start of the book, as I did not start writing The Annotations until I was 100 pages into ‘A History of Western Philosophy’. This accidental quirk is something though that pleases me, as the philosophy of our ancients is much more pure and simple than some of the overwhelming metaphysical questions that confronted more recent minds.
What is more beautiful than the tiger, who owes its splendour to its fierceness? Tigers are more beautiful than sheep but we prefer them behind bars. The typical romantic removes the bars and enjoys the magnificent leaps with which the tiger annihilates the sheep.
To speculate freely about the nature of the world and the ends of life, without being bound in the fetters of any inherited orthodoxy. This is philosophy at its finest.
Writing begins with a picture of the object intended. We think in terms of pictures, sometimes whether we like it or not.
The civilised human is distinguished from the savage mainly by prudence or forethought; no impulse is urged, because reason suggests that you will profit at a later date. I take time off work to write this book, losing out on potential income, but my mind and forethought informs me that in the future I may profit off this present endeavour.
Enthusiasm means, etymologically, ‘having the God enter into the worshipper’.
You (your name) become immortal only when dead.
Find your escape from the burdens and cares of civilisation into the world of non-human beauty and the freedom of wind and stars.
Do not allow yourself to be driven mad or otherwise brought to grief by the gods in resentment for your supposed blasphemy. P.19
…the imagination to conceive heaven and the wilful self-assertion that creates hell. We are often at war with ourselves.
The earth rests on water – the original substance.
Into that from which things take their rise they pass away once more, as is ordained, for they make reparation and satisfaction to one another for their injustice according to the ordering of time; there is a necessity and natural law (justice) which perpetually redresses the balance of the elements; where there has been fire, there in now ashes of the earth.
Just as our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and air encompass the whole world; it seems that the world breathes. As I watch the tide wash in and then go back out, this does in fact seem to be true.
It might seem that an empirical philosopher is a slave to their sense, whereas the mind, like a musician, is a free creator of a world of ordered beauty. P.33
Be an embodiment of your philosophy. Equality means equal leisure time. Everyone should work and contribute to keep the world ticking over. This is practical, not contemplative, philosophy. My political conception of ‘Utopianism’ consists of 5 hour working days, thus serving society, followed by free-time with multiple enrichment options being offered.
No sensible object is exactly circular; all exact reasoning applies to ideal as opposed to sensible objects – the objects of thought are more real than those of sense; the generalisation of life as we experience. We’d like things to be perfect, but they never quite are. The circle we draw will always be slightly askew, but the concept of a circle in our minds in perfect.
We must learn to conceive the universe in numerous ways, as there is genuine knowledge in the discovery of what is involved in making each of them consistent with itself and with known facts.
The certain truth there is no one who knows, nor shall ever be, about the gods and ways of life. Even if you should chance to say something utterly right, you still yourself know it is not – there is nowhere anything but guessing. Even if you have ever correctly stated the origins of life, it can never be proven comprehensively.
Everything, like the flame of a fire, is born by and out of the death of something else. P.41
It is hard to fight with one’s heart’s desire. Whatever it wishes to get, it purchases at the cost of the soul. Sometimes, especially when we consider ourselves to be in love, we will sacrifice momentary purity for future gains, often cutting across the paths of others along the way, just so that we can get to where we feel we deserve to be.
If you have muddy feat, do not wash them in the mud, this is vain purification and utterly mad. I guess this is another way of saying that 2 wrongs don’t make a right.
We do not know how what is at variance agrees with itself. It is an attunement of opposite tensions, like that of the bow and the lyre. In strife, opposites combine to produce a harmonic motion. P.43
God is day and night, winter and summer, but it takes various shapes, just as fire, when it is mingled with spices, is named according to the savour of each. The beauty of life is all around us and can be referred to and experienced and felt in numerous ways.
You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing upon you; we are, and are not. P.45
The search for something permanent leads to philosophy, derived from love of home and a desire for a refuge from danger. Some of us have a yearning to understand, and bring about comfort to our chattering minds.
Time transfixes the flourish set on youth, and delves the lines in beauty’s brow. It feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth, and nothing stands but for its scythe to mow…and yet to times in hope this verse shall stand, praising thy worth, despite thy cruel hand.
For change in the world consists in the rearrangement of persistent elements.
How can what is be going to be in the future? Or how could it come into being? If it came into being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future. Thus is becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of – there can be no thought corresponding to a name that is not the name of something real. Whatever can be thought or spoke of must exist at all times.
Love and strife are primitive substances accompanying the 4 elements; the changes in the world are not governed by purpose but by chance and necessity. Regardless of whether we survive in an aesthetically good or bad way, survival and stability is achieved at all costs.
I am bound to change one toilsome path for another, for the mighty air drives me into the sea, and the sea spews me forth upon the dry earth, and the earth tosses me into the beams of the blazing sun, which then flings me back into the eddies (circular movement) of air.
Mind is a substance that enters into the composition of all living things, distinguishing them from dead matter. In everything, there is a portion of the 4 elements, with one preponderating, except mind, which is contained only in some things.
Mind is uniform, and is just as good in animals as in humans, the difference of intelligence being merely bodily, as we have hands. P.63
The conception of purpose is only applicable within reality, not to reality as whole. Only our consciousness can comprehend a purpose as we are living and experiencing all around us; the all around us does not have a purpose in itself.
All casual explanations must have an arbitrary beginning – as this can go on endlessly, I shall not dwell on it too much, and would rather leave the movement of the atoms of life unaccounted for. Let it be.
The many move in the void and by coming together they produce coming-to-be, while by separating they produce passing-away. P.68
Space is not nothing, but is of the nature of a flask, which may or may not have any given part filled with matter.
Worlds on worlds are rolling ever from creation to decays, like the bubbles, on a river sparkling, bursting, borne away.
Thought is a kind of motion, and is thus able to cause motion elsewhere. We are special and powerful beings contributing to what appears around us yet this fact is not preached enough, with the Copernican model of the universe considering us just to be floating hopelessly in space. No, we are human beings and this is our manifested planet. We set in motion what comes next. I have a sudden thought on how to construct the next ground-breaking architecture and somewhere down the line of time it is built.
Warmth, taste and colour are due to our sense-organs, not in the object. Weight, density and hardness are really in the object. P.72
Cheerfulness is the goal of life, with moderation and culture and interaction the best means to it.
Political democracy is associated with cultural conservatism, while those who are cultural innovators tend to be political reactionaries.
Sure knowledge is hindered by the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of human life. We aren’t meant to peer into the fabrics of reality.
Humans are the measure of all things, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not – each human is their own measure, and there is no objective truth when one is right and the other is wrong. One opinion can be better than another, though not truer. The opinion of a healthy human is better than a sick human. P.77
We cannot know in advance that the truth will turn out to be what is thought to be edifying in a given society.
Do not proceed on the assumption that you already know the conclusions to be reached. You have a list of names to send letters to, with the first 99 names being ‘John Williams’, do not therefore, after say, 60, address them all as ‘John Williams’, for the 100th letter, destined for ‘Mike Carrington’, will go undelivered.
The mind is a bystander to the activity of the material world, eternally watching.
Each and their own finds a way to justify all past actions so that the mind can have peace and closure, moving on without dwelling. Live and learn.
Life-form is created by maths. Our bodies’ form is what (equation) has been entered set in the system/entered into the computer. We must accept these limitations of capability.
Is the human what they seem to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water crawling impotently on a small and unimportant planet? Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is of inferior quality and value, or are all ways of living merely futile? Is wisdom the ultimate refinement of folly? These are the bugbear questions that fill a philosophers mind and the questions that are attempted to be solved whenever we put pen to paper and express the syntax of our metaphysic. I, myself, would prefer a more practical embodiment of philosophy.
Though toilsome and intense, I learned from ‘A History of Western Philosophy’ that there is a joy to be found in understanding, like a flick has been switched in the mind.
Instead of expressing my own philosophy in these last lines, I have realised that too much has already been said, over-discussed and over-thought. I would therefore like to be seen as a practical and physical embodiment of my enthusiastic philosophy, noting that once a philosophy becomes practical in this modern state, it must subsequently become political, which is what I intend to be. I am a member of a state, I have a right to vote, and it would be foolish of me not to be an active member of a political party, as this is what dictates social life, with education and personal liberty being especially key. I shall endeavour to do a proper job in all that I do.
2 syntaxical notes that I would like to emphasise on my own behalf are: First, the concept of a 3rd person, whether that be in the form of an unknown relative who you should have nothing but love and respect for, or a spiritual, eternally-watching entity, in the form of a black cat perhaps. This should be what makes us think twice before we behave detrimentally; second, the visual fact that life in its particle form is floating continuously around us with vast density, and that the spirit within bears witness to this, itself. Use a torch to test this for yourselves, we are surrounded by life and energy. We have the gift of life, let us not muddy ourselves with internal or external strife, and go forth, you and me in unity.
The observant amongst you will have noticed that not a single smiley face appeared at the end of any entries in the book. Do not worry, I am not unhappy. This is because, whilst typing this book up from the paper-form that I had originally written, I became aware that some of the passages that I had previously liked did not resonate as much with me this time around, whilst some others did. This just goes to show that on this journey of life, we are continually learning and reassessing and adjusting what we think or thought to be true. I therefore decided to leave all without a smiley face.
Also, it became evident during the tying process that some of these entries appeared not to make total sense without the context from which they came from. Whilst reading the whole book, I was immersed in the topic at hand, but read individually these quotes appear fragmented. I therefore decided to add some personal commentary in italics and also put in the page numbers so that if there is something that strikes a chord with you and your mind, then you can go and read the pages that surround the quote. I used the Simon and Schuster version of the book, available to be found via a simple Google search in PDF format, via ntslibrary.com.
I know that being contemplative about life is not always beneficial as the excessive thoughts can weigh you down and take you out of the eternal moment, but I also know that reading snippets like the ones in the book help to put some of your present worries and troubles into a larger perspective.
None of us can ever be too busy to wonder how to make ourselves and this world better, fairer and more enjoyable.
Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed reading this then I recommend that you also read ‘Meditations’, composed by Marcus Aurelius, which is the book that allowed me to believe that a book written in this style and content was possible to write.
I read big so that you can read small. 'If the Dao, the Way, is being followed in the world, then show yourself. If it is not, then retire in seclusion. In a state that has the Way, to be poor and of low status is a reason for you to be ashamed; in a state that does not follow the Way, to be rich and famous is equally a cause for being ashamed of yourself.' It was a quote attributed to Confucius coming from the East that led me to the Isles of Scilly, 30 miles removed at the south of the British mainland, to reflect on what our current state has to offer, and to begin studying 'A History of Western Philosophy', written by Bertrand Russell. The following pages are my favourite excerpts from his 900-page book, hence the front-page the tag line 'I read big so that you can read small.'. In amongst these excerpts are some of my own thoughts put into words. Any entries that follow with a smiley face are my personal favourites. I hope that you enjoy. If you enjoyed reading this then I recommend that you also read 'Meditations', composed by Marcus Aurelius, which is the book that allowed me to believe that a book written in this style and content was possible to write.