Intellectual freedom begins when one says with Socrates that he knows that he knows nothing, and then goes on to add: Do you know what you don’t know and therefore what you should know? If your answer is affirmative and humble, then you are your own teacher, you are making your own assignment, and you will be your own best critic. You will not need externally imposed courses, nor marks, nor diplomas, nor a nod from your boss . . . in business or in politics. (from the essay The Last Don Rag)
No, I am not imagining a book-burning, warmongering, anti-intellectual fascist regime – in my plan, there is no place for re ghters who light up the Homers and Lady Murasakis and Cao Xueqins stashed under your bed – because, for starters, I’m not banning literature per se. I’m banning the reading of literature. Purchasing and collecting books and other forms of literature remains perfectly legitimate as long as you don’t peruse the literature at hand.
Spiritual literature can be a great aid to an aspirant, or it can be a terrible hindrance. If it is used to inspire practice, motivate compassion, ad nourish devotion, it serves a very valuable purpose. If scriptural study is used for mere intellectual understanding, for pride of accomplishment, or as a substitute for actual practice, then one is taking in too much mental food, which is sure to result in intellectual indigestion. (152)
The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions. And even a cursory glance at the history of the biological sciences during the last quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion, that the most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of natural knowledge which has come into men's hands, since the publication of Newton's ‘Principia’, is Darwin's ‘Origin of Species.
To learn is to broaden, to experience more, to snatch new aspects of life for yourself. To refuse to learn or to be relieved at not having to learn is to commit a form of suicide; in the long run, a more meaningful type of suicide than the mere ending of physical life. Knowledge is not only power; it is happiness, and being taught is the intellectual analog of being loved.
A scientist is not to teach humans, but to serve humans A philosopher is not to teach humans, but to serve humans. A preacher is not to preach humans, but to serve humans. Any individual who possesses higher intellect than the general population, is meant to be at the forefront of service to humanity.