Previous IndexNL Next

Nov 15, 2011      `

GW: Bertrand Russell's Liberal Decalogue

   "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and its angels."
    -- Jesus of Nazareth
    (Matthew: 25:41)


The following quotation from Bertrand Russell (NYT 1951, also in Autobiography part III, cited from here) is quite worthy to stand on its own in my series GW but I thought of it in the context of today's earlier Nederlog, which is also why I leave standing the not so liberal opening words of the son of God, whose decalogue was not the same.

Also, there is an Announcement about Recommended Reading below.

                          Bertrand Russell
        "The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism"

Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it.

The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worth while 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, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon 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 that 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 it is happiness.

I agree with the spirit rather than with all of the words, and all are subject to a proviso I formulated as this desideratum

   Think rationally! Act reasonably! 
   (And do not pretend that is easy!)

For it is precisely the bracketed phrase so many miss: They believe - or pretend to believe - that they are entitled to having an opinion, and should be free to utter their opinions. The truth is that unless you are uncommonly intelligent or uncommonly well informed, you are wasting the time - acting unreasonably, that is - of those more fit to reason or write about the subject than you are. And if you are an adult, you should know what you do not know, and if you don't you know even that, or conveniently forget about it if it serves your interests or satisfies your emotions or needs, you are a danger to others.


Announcement about Recommended Reading:

It seems both a good idea and practically convenient idea to have another series or category in Nederlog: Recommended Reading.

This is a good idea, because the internet is vast, and those who read Nederlog must be interested in what I consider good reading on the net. It is practically convenient, because I plan (hope) to write more for my site that's not fit for Nederlog, so it would be nice to say: Today there is nothing by me in Nederlog - but then there is this you might enjoy.

Of course, it's all up to you, but since I am usually an eminently reasonable man who tries to give reasons for his beliefs, I probably will normally say why I think the reading I recommend might be worthwile.

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

        home - index - top - mail