I would simply ask why so many critics, so many writers, so many philosophers take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is ineffable, that it escapes by definition all rational understanding; why are they so eager to concede without a struggle the defeat of knowledge; and where does their irrepressible need to belittle rational understanding come from, this rage to affirm the irreducibility of the work of art, or, to use a more suitable word, its transcendence.
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.
So far from a political ideology being the quasi-divine parent of political activity, it turns out to be its earthly stepchild. Instead of an independently premeditated scheme of ends to be pursued, it is a system of ideas abstracted from the manner in which people have been accustomed to go about the business of attending to the arrangements of their societies. The pedigree of every political ideology shows it to be the creature, not of premeditation in advance of political activity, but of meditation upon a manner of politics. In short, political activity comes first and a political ideology follows after; and the understanding of politics we are investigating has the disadvantage of being, in the strict sense, preposterous.Let us consider the matter first in relation to scientific hypothesis, which I have taken to play a role in scientific activity in some respects similar to that of an ideology in politics. If a scientific hypothesis were a self-generated bright idea which owed nothing to scientific activity, then empiricism governed by hypothesis could be considered to compose a self-contained manner of activity; but this certainly is not its character. The truth is that only a man who is already a scientist can formulate a scientific hypothesis; that is, an hypothesis is not an independent invention capable of guiding scientific inquiry, but a dependent supposition which arises as an abstraction from within already existing scientific activity. Moreover, even when the specific hypothesis has in this manner been formulated, it is inoperative as a guide to research without constant reference to the traditions of scientific inquiry from which it was abstracted. The concrete situation does not appear until the specific hypothesis, which is the occasion of empiricism being set to work, is recognized as itself the creature of owing how to conduct a scientific inquiry.Or consider the example of cookery. It might be supposed that an ignorant man, some edible materials, and a cookery book compose together the necessities of a self-moved (or concrete) activity called cooking. But nothing is further from the truth. The cookery book is not an independently generated beginning from which cooking can spring; it is nothing more than an abstract of somebody's knowledge of how to cook: it is the stepchild, not the parent of the activity. The book, in its tum, may help to set a man on to dressing a dinner, but if it were his sole guide he could never, in fact, begin: the book speaks only to those who know already the kind of thing to expect from it and consequently bow to interpret it.Now, just as a cookery book presupposes somebody who knows how to cook, and its use presupposes somebody who already knows how to use it, and just as a scientific hypothesis springs from a knowledge of how to conduct a scientific investigation and separated from that knowledge is powerless to set empiricism profitably to work, so a political ideology must be understood, not as an independently premeditated beginning for political activity, but as knowledge (abstract and generalized) of a concrete manner of attending to the arrangements of a society. The catechism which sets out the purposes to be pursued merely abridges a concrete manner of behaviour in which those purposes are already hidden. It does not exist in advance of political activity, and by itself it is always an insufficient guide. Political enterprises, the ends to be pursued, the arrangements to be established (all the normal ingredients of a political ideology), cannot be premeditated in advance of a manner of attending to the arrangements of a society; what we do, and moreover what we want to do, is the creature of how we are accustomed to conduct our affairs. Indeed, it often reflects no more than a discovered ability to do something which is then translated into an authority to do it.
The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have...Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.
The ufo is nothing more than an assertion of herself by the Goddess into history, saying to science and paternalistically governed and driven organizations: You have gone far enough. We are going to turn the world upside down. Your science is going to be shown up for what it is, nothing more than a pleasant metaphor usefully extrapolated into the production of toys for healthy children. That's what science is good for.It is not some meta-theory at whose feet every point of view from astrology to acupressure to channeling need be laid to have the hand of science announce thumbs up or thumbs down.
The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay 0 to save 2,000 birds, 8 to save 20,000 birds, and 8 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters. What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.
The incommensurability between the modern economic system and the people who staff it explains why modern workers have so often been depicted as 'cogs' in the larger 'machinery' of industrial civilization; for while the practical rationalization of enterprise does require workers to be consistent, predictable, precise, uniform, and even to a certain extent creative, it does not really require them to be persons, that is, to live examined lives, to grow, to develop character, to search for truth, to know themselves, etc.
Our time prides itself on having finally achieved the freedom from censorship for which libertarians in all ages have struggled...The credit for these great achievements is claimed by the new spirit of rationalism, a rationalism that, it is argued, has finally been able to tear from man's eyes the shrouds imposed by mystical thought, religion, and such powerful illusions as freedom and dignity. Science has given us this great victory over ignorance. But, on closer examination, this victory too can be seen as an Orwellian triumph of an even higher ignorance: what we have gained is a new conformism, which permits us to say anything that can be said in the functional languages of instrumental reason, but forbids us to allude to...the living truth...so we may discuss the very manufacture of life and its 'objective' manipulations, but we may not mention God, grace, or morality.