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Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them - David Hume
When I was studying, inter alia, Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh many years ago, local boy made good David Hume was a name never far any philosophy professor or tutor's lips. Aeon wrote movingly of Hume's life:
"While Hume was lying aged 65 on his deathbed at the end of a happy, successful and (for the times) long life, he told his doctor: ‘I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire.’ Three days before he died, on 25 August 1776, probably of abdominal cancer, his doctor could still report that he was ‘quite free from anxiety, impatience, or low spirits, and passes his time very well with the assistance of amusing books’."
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The Royal Society of Arts gathered a high-profile panel of speakers to explore the hidden agendas behind our values and attitudes toward the place of ‘the human’ in today’s societies, and debate what must now be a key issue for the 21st century.
We are working not with Thee but with him... We took from him what thou didst reject with scorn, that last gift he offered Thee, showing Thee all the kingdoms of the earth. We took from him Rome and the sword of Caesar, and proclaimed ourselves sole rulers of the earth... We shall triumph and shall be Caesars, and then we shall plan the universal happiness of man - The Brothers Karamazov, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Brothers_Karamazov
The narrative I live by is the humanist narrative. If we are looking for morality, if we're looking for vices and virtues, we can find them both in humanity—in human creations, human culture, humanity's endeavour to develop our reason and our emotions and developing not only relationships between humans, but with the animal world. I think that that is a superior source of morality and a superior source of spirituality than any form of organised religion. God doesn't answer back. That's the problem. Humans can. You can talk to them and you can improve on what human have said and done. You can't improve on what an invisible entity might say or think because you don't know - Ayaan Hirsi Ali http://bigthink.com/60-second-reads/why-i-live-by-humanism
The humanist sense of a gulf between ourselves and other animals is an aberration. Feeble as it is today, the feeling of sharing a common destiny with other living things is embedded in the human psyche. Those who struggle to conserve what is left of the natural environment are moved by the love of living things, biophilia, the frail bond of feeling that ties humankind to the Earth - John Gray, Straw Dogs
Contemporary humanism is a religion that lacks the insight into human frailty of traditional faiths - John Gray, http://www.markvernon.com/friendshiponline/dotclear/index.php?post/2009…
Fascinating In Our Time episode on Gnosticism, The Gnostics divided the universe into two domains: the visible world and the spiritual one. They believed that a special sort of knowledge, or gnosis, would enable them to escape the evils of the physical world and allow them access to the higher spiritual realm. The Gnostics were regarded as heretics by many of the Christian Church Fathers, but their influence was important in defining the course of early Christianity. A major archaeological discovery in Egypt in the 1940s, when a large cache of Gnostic texts were found buried in an earthenware jar at Nag Hammadi, enabled scholars to learn considerably more about their beliefs.