Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. Andre Gide

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A blogger's ten commandments

I came by this the other day via a friend: A Liberal Decalogue, by the great philosopher Bertrand Russell. Thought you might enjoy it too.

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. 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.

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

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.

Source: A Liberal Decalogue, Bertrand Russell (1951)


  1. Good advice all 'round. I will have to share it with my MBA class tonight.

  2. On #4, Bertrand clearly was living in a different age, thinking that it was actually possible to exercise "authority" over family members (or anyone else, for that matter). You could actually add to this by saying that, given that there is no avenue for exercising authority, in some cases you should just shut up and stop arguing.