Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Nov/15

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Isaiah Berlin: Half Right

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Riga, Aug 09 (AS)

Isaiah Berlin:

As for the meaning of life, I do not believe that it has any: I do not at all ask what it is, for I suspect it has none, and this is a source of great comfort to me — we make of it what we can, and that is all there is about it. Those who seek for some deep, cosmic, all-embracing, teleologically arguable libretto or god are, believe me pathetically deluded.

So far as I’m concerned, Berlin is right about that meaning of life thing. It’s nothing but a relief to me that there is none, and for the reasons he gives.  On the other hand, to describe those who have found some sort of god as ‘pathetically deluded’ is too smug and so far as that ‘pathetically’ is concerned, often inaccurate. As a species we seem to be hardwired for faith. Upbringing and culture will generally dictate the form that the faith takes, sometimes disastrously so, frequently not.

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1 comment

  • Mark English · December 8, 2015 at 4:19 am

    “Pathetically deluded” may be a bit rhetorical (or smug, as you say), but we agree that those who seek an over-arching purpose are quite misguided.

    The lack of such a “libretto” is certainly no comfort to me, however, and I don’t see why it should be others. (People are wired differently, I suppose).

    Comfort? Relief? Really?

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