It is true that there are exercises that can strengthen the ‘muscle’ that enable us to push back the bounds of acceptation. But these are relatively unimportant. The real problem is that we are trapped in misconceptions that always deceive us, as the matador’s cape deceives the bull; that continue to deceive us a million times over the course of a lifetime. Wittgenstein once said that traditional philosophy causes a form of mental cramp, and that the aim of his philosophy was to remove this mental cramp, or to ‘show the fly the way out of the bottle’. Our misconceptions involve the passive fallacy and notion that consciousness is a plane mirror that cannot lie about the world it reflects.
The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.
Isaiah Berlin once said that there are two kinds of writers, hedgehogs and foxes. He said the fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows just one thing. So Shakespeare is a typical fox; Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are typical hedgehogs. Now, I’m a typical hedgehog. I know just one thing, and I repeat it over and over again. I try to approach it from different angles to make it look different, but it’s the same thing.
Topics: Authors & Writing
Dr. Miller says we are pessimistic because life seems like a very bad, very screwed-up film. If you ask “What the hell is wrong with the projector?” and go up to the control room, you find it’s empty. You are the projectionist, and you should have been up there all the time.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Alan Watts British-American Philosopher
- Bertrand A. Russell British Philosopher, Mathematician
- John Stuart Mill English Philosopher, Economist
- David Hume Scottish Philosopher, Historian
- R. G. Collingwood British Historian, Philosopher
- F. H. Bradley British Idealist Philosopher
- Martin Heidegger German Existential Philosopher
- C. S. Lewis Irish-born Author, Scholar
- Doris Lessing British Novelist, Poet
- Rudyard Kipling British Children’s Books Writer