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David Bohm

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For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution. Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles. It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is "hidden" because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.

 
David Bohm

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"The poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he..." [Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates 1647] This is one Liberal Text. And it is more distinctive than may at first appear. It asserts the individual and the value of any individual - even the poorest He. But it asserts it without envy. It does not demand that the rich be made poor - nor even claim that the poor are more deserving than the rich. It demands equality in one thing only, the right to live one's own life.

 
Jo Grimond
 

We cannot point to a single definitive solution of any one of the problems that confront us — political, economic, social or moral, that is, having to do with the conduct of life. We are still beginners, and for that reason may hope to improve. To deride the hope of progress is the ultimate fatuity, the last word in poverty of spirit and meanness of mind. There is no need to be dismayed by the fact that we cannot yet envisage a definitive solution of our problems, a resting-place beyond which we need not try to go.

 
Peter Medawar
 

I call this Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up "our own" when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is "nothing better" now to be had.

 
C. S. Lewis
 

What I mean by 'thought' is the whole thing — thought, 'felt', the body, the whole society sharing thoughts — it's all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it's all one process; somebody else's thought becomes my thought, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thought, your thought, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings. I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system. A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent — not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence. A corporation is organized as a system — it has this department, that department, that department... they don't have any meaning separately; they only can function together. And also the body is a system. Society is a system in some sense. And so on.
Similarly, thought is a system. That system not only includes thought and feelings, but it includes the state of the body; it includes the whole of society — as thought is passing back and forth between people in a process by which thought evolved from ancient times. Thought has been constantly evolving and we can't say when that system began. But with the growth of civilization it has developed a great deal. It was probably very simple thought before civilization, and now it has become very complex and ramified and has much more incoherence than before.
Now, I say that this system has a fault in it — a 'systematic fault'. It is not a fault here, there or here, but it is a fault that is all throughout the system. Can you picture that? It is everywhere and nowhere. You may say "I see a problem here, so I will bring my thoughts to bear on this problem". But "my" thought is part of the system. It has the same fault as the fault I'm trying to look at, or a similar fault.
Thought is constantly creating problems that way and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn’t notice that it's creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates.

 
David Bohm
 

As Voltaire once remarked, "It is the privilege of the real genius, especially one who opens up a new path, to make great mistakes with impunity." The Copernican revolution brought about by Kant was, I think, the most important single turning point in the history of philosophy. For that reason there has been, ever since, a watershed in understanding between those who have taken his work on board and those who have not. For a good many of the problems he uncovered, the solutions he put forward have not stood the test of time, but his uncovering of the problems remains the most illuminating thing a philosopher has ever done. Because of the fundamental character of these problems, and because Kant did not solve them, confronting them has been the most important challenge to philosophy ever since.

 
Bryan Magee
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