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Bertrand Russell’s Decalogue of Critical Thinking

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 worthwhile to produce belief 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 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 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 when 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.

From Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments of Honest Thought and Discourse – Right Attitudes

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  • Zaphod February 26, 2022, 4:57 PM

    A nice recipe for losing gracefully.

    There’s a fine line between enlightenment and late stage decadence. Given that we *are* in late stage decadence, such niceties are more hindrance than help. They’ll have their time in the sun again in oh, say, 500 years or so.

    Meanwhile, Torba’s speech at AFPAC, perhaps?

    The hardest thing for us late stage decadents is smashing through our programmed distaste for ‘uncouths’ like Torba. The sorry truth is that he is better than all of us.


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    • Terry February 26, 2022, 6:49 PM

      Thank you for posting the link.

  • Joe Krill February 27, 2022, 7:22 AM

    Zapped, you said “America is a Christian nation, but somewhere along the way our tolerance for evil allowed subversive agents of Satan to invade every facet of our country and culture.” Blame this on the pablum pokers in the pulpits. Most of our problems can be directly attributed to wishy washy spineless so called preachers/priests who have taken the word of God and substituted the word of man.

    It would seem that Russell had a hard time deciding anything, a typical intellectual with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some people have been known to call this a muck whomp problem. His muck was hanging on one side of the fence and his womp hanging on the other side. Jesus Christ had no problem with what was certain, what was true. He affirmed what truth is when He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy word is truth.”