Mysticism and Logic

A truly scientific philosophy will be more humble, more piecemeal, more arduous, offering less glitter of outward mirage to flatter fallacious hopes, but more indifferent to fate, and more capable of accepting the world without the tyrannous imposition of our human and temporary demands.

A tutto ciò vanno aggiunte, in quanto contribuiscono alla felicitá dell'uomo di scienza, la bellezza delle più splendide conquiste, e la coscienza di un'utilità inestimabile per la razza umana. Una vita dedicata alla scienza è dunque una vita felice, e la sua felicità deriva dalle migliori possibilitá che si aprono dinnanzi agli abitanti di questo inquieto e impressionante pianeta

Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realize the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.

El sentido subjetivo de libertad, alegado a veces contra el determinismo, no tiene nada que ver con la cuestión en absoluto. La opinión de que tiene algo que ver se basa en la creencia de que las causas hacen inevitables sus efectos, o que la naturaleza impone la obediencia a sus leyes igual que el gobierno. Eso son meras supersticiones antropomórficas, debidas a la asimilación de causas con voliciones y de leyes naturales con edictos humanos.

È necessario, nei confronti di ogni forma di attività umana, porsi di tanto in tanto la domanda: qual è il suo scopo, qual è il suo ideale? In che modo contribuisce alla bellezza dell'esistenza umana? In relazione alle attività che vi contribuiscono soltanto alla lontana, in quanto si occupano del meccanismo della vita, è bene ricordare che non soltanto il mero fatto di vivere va auspicato, ma l'arte di vivere nella contemplazione delle cose grandi. A maggior ragione, quando ci riferiamo alle occupazioni che non hanno altro fine al di fuori di se stesse, che vanno giustificate, se lo si può, in quanto aggiungono realmente qualcosa alle ricchezze permanenti del mondo, è necessario aver viva la coscienza dei loro obiettivi, una chiara prefigurazione del tempio nel quale deve inserirsi l'immaginazione creatrice

Good and bad, and even the higher good that mysticism finds everywhere, are the reflections of our own emotions on other things, not part of the substance of things as they are in themselves.

Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly.

It is a commonplace that happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly; and it would seem that the same is true of the good. In thought, at any rate, those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires.

La scienza potrebbe anche aver ispirato il detto famoso al quale Platone allude:<>

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty— a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.

Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher; and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately, it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance.

Philosophy which does not seek to impose upon the world its own conceptions of good and evil is not only more likely to achieve truth, but is also the outcome of a higher ethical standpoint than one which, like evolutionism and most traditional systems, is perpetually appraising the universe and seeking to find in it an embodiment of present ideals.

Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true. [...] Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. People who have been puzzled by the beginnings of mathematics will, I hope, find comfort in this definition, and will probably agree that it is accurate.

Pure mathematics consists entirely of asseverations to the extent that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of anything. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true ... If our hypothesis is about anything, and not about some one or more particular things, then our deductions constitute mathematics. Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.

The meta-physical creed, I shall maintain, is a mistaken outcome of the emotion, although this emotion, as colouring and informing all other thoughts and feelings, is the inspirer of whatever is best in Man.

The slave is doomed to worship Time and Fate and Death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour. But, great as they are, to think of them greatly, to feel their passionless splendour, is greater still. And such thought makes us free men; we no longer bow before the inevitable in Oriental subjection, but we absorb it, and make it a part of ourselves.

To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things - this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship.

To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood.