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“Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.”
From the third volume of The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: 1944-1969 comes this remarkable micro-manifesto, entitled A Liberal Decalogue — a vision for responsibilities of a teacher. It originally appeared in the December 16, 1951, issue of The New York Times Magazine, at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism.”

"Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

- Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

- Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

- Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

- When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

- Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

- Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

- Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

- Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

- Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

- Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness."

Source: http://www.brainpickings.org/
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13 comments
 
Bertrand Russel was a fantastic man. This is one of my favorites - I think all politicians and managers ought to be force to learn these by heart ;)
 
A revelation of intelligence and wisdom.
 
Perfectly true. I am a proponent of this logic to a great degree. If you knew me you'd know this. However, there are times when grace IS the answer to an argument or disagreement and compromise or sitting on a comment is the wisest strategy to employ.
 
+Robert Redl I have a suit like that...but mine's actually pin striped black velvet. True story.
 
Is that a teapot I see?
 
be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth forces you to acknowledge an ultimate authority
 
+John Hanlon Just because there is something we can't explain yet doesn't inherently mean there is a higher authority.
 
The feeling/understanding absolutely certain of anything is the obvious base of creating "the best answer" whether right or wrong about anything.

It seems, Bertrand Russell has said most of these comments after crossing the age 50, in the period of his life regression.
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