Quotes Tagged "idealism"
See the exquisite contrast of the types of mind! The pragmatist clings to facts and concreteness, observes truth at its work in particular cases, and generalises. Truth, for him, becomes a class-name for all sorts of definite working-values in experience. For the rationalist it remains a pure abstraction, to the bare name of which we must defer. When the pragmatist undertakes to show in detail just why we must defer, the rationalist is unable to recognise the concretes from which his own abstraction is taken. He accuses us of denying truth; whereas we have only sought to trace exactly why people follow it and always ought to follow it. Your typical ultra-abstractions fairly shudders at concreteness: other things equal, he positively prefers the pale and spectral. If the two universes were offered, he would always choose the skinny outline rather than the rich thicket of reality. It is so much purer, clearer, nobler.
In the end idealism annoyed Bouvard. ‘I don’t want any more of it: the famous cogito is a bore. The ideas of things are taken for the things themselves. What we barely understand is explained by means of words that we do not understand at all! Substance, extension, force, matter and soul, are all so many abstractions, figments of the imagination. As for God, it is impossible to know how he is, or even if he is! Once he was the cause of wind, thunder, revolutions. Now he is getting smaller. Besides, I don’t see what use he is.
Some thoughts on heaven? I have this theory that heaven is different for everyone. It has to be, or it wouldn’t be heaven. My grandmother’s heaven? In her heaven she doesn’t have to share the remote with anyone, and it is Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on all the time, with nary a rerun ever, and the old lady always wins the big money and a trip to Europe to tour a castle or somewhere warm but not too hot with nice churches. In her heaven your knees don’t hurt and your back doesn’t hurt and you get to be whatever age was your favourite age to be and you still have all your teeth and there are bingo games right after dinner and raspberry hard candies and no one ever has to do the dishes. In my gran’s heaven, you can still have yourself a proper smoke in the living room and it doesn’t ruin the new paint job and the lawn never gets too long and the foxes don’t chase the birds off the birdfeeder. In her heaven, a nice bit of cheese won’t give you the bad stomach and real men don’t beat their wives or fuck their children, and every day is payday, and the Friday of a long weekend. Floors wax themselves, but you still get to hang the laundry, but only if you feel like it.
Though I myself am an atheist, I openly profess religion in the sense just mentioned, that is, a nature religion. I hate the idealism that wrenches man out of nature; I am not ashamed of my dependency on nature; I openly confess that the workings of nature affect not only my surface, my skin, my body, but also my core, my innermost being, that the air I breathe in bright weather has a salutary effect not only on my lungs but also on my mind, that the light of the sun illumines not only my eyes but also my spirit and my heart. And I do not, like a Christian, believe that such dependency is contrary to my true being or hope to be delivered from it. I know further that I am a finite moral being, that I shall one day cease to be. But I find this very natural and am therefore perfectly reconciled to the thought.