The Art of Tetman Callis

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Blind yourself with science!

April 4th, 2013 · 3 Comments

“Is it not sheer dogmatic folly to say that our inner interests can have no real connection with the forces that the hidden world may contain? In other cases divinations based on inner interests have proved prophetic enough. Take science itself! Without an imperious inner demand on our part for ideal logical and mathematical harmonies, we should never have attained to proving that such harmonies be hidden between all the chinks and interstices of the crude natural world. Hardly a law has been established in science, hardly a fact ascertained, which was not first sought after, often with sweat and blood, to gratify an inner need. Whence such needs come from we do not know; we find them in us, and biological psychology so far only classes them with Darwin’s ‘accidental variations.’ But the inner need of believing that this world of nature is a sign of something more spiritual and eternal than itself is just as strong and authoritative in those who feel it, as the inner need of uniform laws of causation ever can be in a professionally scientific head. The toil of many generations has proved the latter need prophetic. Why may not the former one be prophetic, too? And if needs of ours outrun the visible universe, why may not that be a sign that an invisible universe is there? What, in short, has authority to debar us from trusting our religious demands? Science as such assuredly has no authority, for she can only say what is, not what is not; and the agnostic ‘thou shalt not believe without coercive sensible evidence’ is simply an expression (free to any one to make) of private personal appetite for evidence of a certain peculiar kind.” – William James, “Is Life Worth Living?” (emphases in original)

Tags: Lit & Crit

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carolynn Pianta // Apr 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    “Science as such assuredly has no authority, for she can only say what is, not what is not;…”

    BUT by saying ‘what is’, what’s left is either what’s not, or at least a, I don’t know and even if I did I don’t give a fuck because I don’t believe anyway.
    Tet, the way you make me think hurts my head 🙂

  • 2 Tetman Callis // Apr 5, 2013 at 5:09 am

    you must believe in something. that’s what it comes down to for everyone, no matter how various may be the details.

  • 3 Tetman Callis // Apr 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    i should be careful about writing comments right after i get up in the morning. it’s hard enough to feed the cats and make a new post.

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