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Sam Harris

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Nothing that I've said makes social and political freedom any less valuable: having a gun to your head is still a problem worth rectifying, wherever intentions come from. So the freedom to do what one wants is still precious. But the idea that we as conscious beings are deeply responsible for what we want I think needs to be revised: it just can't be mapped onto reality, neither objective nor subjective. And if we're going to be guided by reality, rather than by the fantasy lives of our antecessors, I think our view of ourselves needs to change.
Sam Harris at Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2012, Discussion on Free Will.

Sam Harris

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The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. There is a tendency to seek an objective account of everything before admitting its reality. But often what appears to a more subjective point of view cannot be accounted for in this way. So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.

Thomas Nagel

We see that living in freedom and defending freedom are two sides of one and the same coin, for the precious gift of freedom doesnt come naturally, but has to be fought for, nurtured, and defended time and time again. Sometimes this may seem like an endless fight against windmills. But you see, my personal experience is a quite different one. What we dare not dream of today may well become reality tomorrow. Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long.

Angela Merkel

Of greatest significance to me has been the insight that I attained as a fundamental understanding from all of my LSD experiments: what one commonly takes as "the reality," including the reality of one's own individual person, by no means signifies something fixed, but rather something that is ambiguous that there is not only one, but that there are many realities, each comprising also a different consciousness of the ego.
One can also arrive at this insight through scientific reflections. The problem of reality is and has been from time immemorial a central concern of philosophy. It is, however, a fundamental distinction, whether one approaches the problem of reality rationally, with the logical methods of philosophy, or if one obtrudes upon this problem emotionally, through an existential experience. The first planned LSD experiment was therefore so deeply moving and alarming, because everyday reality and the ego experiencing it, which I had until then considered to be the only reality, dissolved, and an unfamiliar ego experienced another, unfamiliar reality. The problem concerning the innermost self also appeared, which, itself unmoved, was able to record these external and internal transformations.
Reality is inconceivable without an experiencing subject, without an ego. It is the product of the exterior world, of the sender and of a receiver, an ego in whose deepest self the emanations of the exterior world, registered by the antennae of the sense organs, become conscious. If one of the two is lacking, no reality happens, no radio music plays, the picture screen remains blank.

Albert Hofmann

When I was 14 or 15 I wanted to be a protest singer like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. My father was a socialist and worked with the unions. I thought change was to change the government and to change from one system, capitalism, to socialism and to make the poor of the world happy. But when I opened the book The Way of Zen by Alan Watts and I opened up the Diamond Sutra, and Lao Tsus Tao Te Ching, I realized that the problem of suffering was much deeper than governments and social problems. The problems were very deep. They were nothing short of changing the way we look at reality. Therefore I became a teacher, or a reflection of the teachings. Phil Ochs, the great protest singer, said I had given up protest, and Joan Baez said to Bob Dylan, Hes given up protest. But what I had given up was looking for the answer in social change. The change was to be a spiritual change. The suffering was coming from an erroneous view of reality...


My belief is that if we live another century or so I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton's bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare's sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would be impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.

Virginia Woolf
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