Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breaking Through A Tyranny of Custom

The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without  the co-operation or consentr of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious, common object rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected.

As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find, that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.

Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder  by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect.

- Bertrand Russell

No comments: