Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.' I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!
My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them. This is what I aim at because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.
When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.
It's a fact— everyone is ignorant in some way or another. Ignorance is our deepest secret. And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don't know it or don't want to admit it. Here is a quick test: If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant. Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion , believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation. It will do both of you good.
People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.
In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Anyone who chooses a religion is also choosing a collective way for worshipping and sharing the mysteries. Nevertheless, that person is the only one responsible for his or her actions along the way and has no right to shift responsibility for any personal decisions on to that religion.
Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone. But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.
I would rather have strong enemies than a world of passive individualists. In a world of passive individualists nothing seems worth anything simply because nobody stands for anything. That world has no convictions, no victories, no unions, no heroism, no absolutes, no heartbeat. That world has rigor mortis.
To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed. It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended. The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness - and the other represents oppression
Fiction is written with reality and reality is written with fiction. We can write fiction because there is reality and we can write reality because there is fiction; everything we consider today to be myth and legend, our ancestors believed to be history and everything in our history includes myths and legends. Before the splendid modern-day mind was formed our cultures and civilizations were conceived in the wombs of, and born of, what we identify today as "fiction, unreality, myth, legend, fantasy, folklore, imaginations, fabrications and tall tales." And in our suddenly realized glory of all our modern-day "advancements" we somehow fail to ask ourselves the question "Who designated myths and legends as unreality? " But I ask myself this question because who decided that he was spectacular enough to stand up and say to our ancestors "You were all stupid and disillusioned and imagining things" and then why did we all decide to believe this person? There are many realities not just one. There is a truth that goes far beyond what we are told today to believe in. And we find that truth when we are brave enough to break away from what keeps everybody else feeling comfortable. Your reality is what you believe in. And nobody should be able to tell you to believe otherwise.
It is easier to tell a person what life is not, rather than to tell them what it is. A child understands weeds that grow from lack of attention, in a garden. However, it is hard to explain the wild flowers that one gardener calls weeds, and another considers beautiful ground cover.
Senses of humor define people, as factions, deeper rooted than religious or political opinions. When carrying out everyday tasks, opinions are rather easy to set aside, but those whom a person shares a sense of humor with are his closest friends. They are always there to make the biggest influence.
Humanity does not suffer from the disease of wrong beliefs but humanity suffers from the contagious nature of the lack of belief. If you have no magic with you it is not because magic does not exist but it is because you do not believe in it. Even if the sun shines brightly upon your skin every day, if you do not believe in the sunlight, the sunlight for you does not exist.
Meaning is a shaky edifice we build out of scraps, dogmas, childhood injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old fillms, small victories, people hated, people loved; perhaps it is because our sense of what is the case is constructed from such inadequate materials that we defend it so fiercely, even to death.
There is no need for us all to be alike and think the same way, neither do we need a common enemy to force us to come together and reach out to each other. If we allow ourselves and everyone else the freedom to fully individuate as spiritual beings in human form, there will be no need for us to be forced by worldly circumstances to take hands and stand together. Our souls will automatically want to flock together, like moths to the flame of our shared Divinity, yet each with wings covered in the glimmering colors and unique patterns of our individual human expression.
The world is a goddamned evil place, the strong prey on the weak, the rich on the poor; I’ve given up hope that there is a God that will save us all. How am I supposed to believe that there’s a heaven and a hell when all I see now is hell.
If anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the set of beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably—after careful considerations of their relative merits—choose that of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best.
We all ought to understand we're on our own. Believing in Santa Claus doesn't do kids any harm for a few years but it isn't smart for them to continue waiting all their lives for him to come down the chimney with something wonderful. Santa Claus and God are cousins.
It is a better world. A place where we ate responsible for our actions, where we can be kind to one another because we want to and becauseit is the right thing to do instead of being frightened into behaving by the threat of divine punishment.
We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours. (22)
Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, 'fertility cults,' we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as 'sterility cults.
Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.
Children who are victimized through sexual abuse often begin to develop deeply held tenets that shape their sense of self: 'My worth is my sexuality. I'm dirty and shameful. I have no right to my own physical boundaries.' That shapes their ideas about the world around them: 'No one will believe me. Telling the truth results in bad consequences. People can't be trusted.' It doesn't take long for children to being to act in accordance with these belief systems. For girls who have experienced incest, sexual abuse, or rape, the boundaries between love, sex, and pain become blurred. Secrets are normal, and shame is a constant.