Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quotes of the Day: Douglas Murray vs. Confucius

 

“All readers must at some stage contend with the question of why some of the kindest and most decent people have never read a book.” — Douglas Murray

“No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance” — Confucius

Buddha and Socrates believed that the correct beliefs would lead to virtue. But how do so many illiterate people live decent lives?

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  1. Saint Augustine Member

    Did Buddha and Socrates get correct beliefs by reading?

    Some people read a lot and have a lot of wrong beliefs. Reading the wrong books, maybe.

    • #1
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:28 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne: “All readers must at some stage contend with the question of why some of the kindest and most decent people have never read a book.”

    Maybe they are kind and decent, but they aren’t contributing to my bottom line. 😁


    This is the Quote of the Day. Thanks to Henry for stepping up to fill a blank spot in the schedule. There are still more blank spots tomorrow, the 24th, and the 28th. Or, if you have a hankering for the hither horizon, we also have openings in October.

    If quotations aren’t your thing, perhaps you would like to join in on the Group Writing Project. Clifford still has the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th available with the writing cue of If I was a _____, I would _____.

    If you’ve never started a conversation before on Ricochet, these are the ways to do it. You can borrow another’s wisdom in QotD, or have fun telling us how you would change the world with Group Writing. Come join us.

    • #2
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:34 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne: But how do so many illiterate people live decent lives? 

    As Augie said above, just because one doesn’t read doesn’t mean one can’t know what matters, and those who do read do not necessarily read what matters. A lot of times, illiterate people are too busy working and taking care of their families to worry about what they are or are not missing in books.

    • #3
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:39 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Saint Augustine Member

    Henry Castaigne:

    “All readers must at some stage contend with the question of why some of the kindest and most decent people have never read a book.”

    –Douglass Murray

    “No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance”

    — Confucius

    There’s also this: Confucius thinks people who don’t read can still live pretty decent lives by following the right 禮 / 礼 lila-ee3 / rituals / customs / rites. But it falls short of the understanding that requires reading. “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”

    • #4
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:43 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”

    And I don’t agree with that. Elitism is what it is.

    • #5
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:53 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne:

    “All readers must at some stage contend with the question of why some of the kindest and most decent people have never read a book.”

    –Douglass Murray

    “No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance”

    — Confucius

    There’s also this: Confucius thinks people who don’t read can still live pretty decent lives by following the right 禮 / 礼 li / la-ee3 / rituals / customs / rites. But it falls short of the understanding that requires reading. “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”

    A people as old as the Chinese would agree. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRdfX7ut8gw

    • #6
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Saint Augustine Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”

    And I don’t agree with that. Elitism is what it is.

    Seems a pretty fair criticism of Confucius.

    • #7
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Seems a pretty fair criticism of Confucius.

    He was consistent about it.

    • #8
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:08 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Castaigne:

    “All readers must at some stage contend with the question of why some of the kindest and most decent people have never read a book.”–Douglass Murray

    “No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance”–Confucius

    Some of the kindest and most decent people I’ve ever known were barely literate, or rarely read anything. Some of the nastiest and most destructive read quite a bit. I’m not sure that the amount of reading he does can, per se, can be used as any measure of the man.

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Some people read a lot and have a lot of wrong beliefs. Reading the wrong books, maybe.

    I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “wrong” book. In the best of all possible worlds, a person has the power of discernment, and doesn’t absorb beliefs he believes to be wrong, whether he finds them in books or in life. Sometimes we need encounters with “wrong” beliefs to help us figure out what is just and what is right.

    That’s why I’m viscerally opposed to all these warnings and disclaimers on books, movies and just about everything else, telling us what is wrong with them, or that they may present offensive thoughts or triggers. Because those who label everything for us would take away that power of discernment from us.

    • #9
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:18 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  10. Saint Augustine Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Some people read a lot and have a lot of wrong beliefs. Reading the wrong books, maybe.

    She (View Comment):

    I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “wrong” book. In the best of all possible worlds, a person has the power of discernment, and doesn’t absorb beliefs he believes to be wrong, whether he finds them in books or in life. Sometimes we need encounters with “wrong” beliefs to help us figure out what is just and what is right.

    Oh, well said. Maybe we say they’re not reading the best books and are believing some of the sillier ones?

    • #10
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    “The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.”

    And I don’t agree with that. Elitism is what it is.

    Seems a pretty fair criticism of Confucius.

    As C.S. Lewis put,

    Every intrusion of the spirit that says, “I’m as good as you” into our personal and spiritual life is to be resisted just as jealously as every intrusion of bureaucracy or privilege into our politics… Human nature will not permanently endure flat equality if it is extended from its proper political field into the more real, more concrete fields within. Let us wear equality; but let us undress every night.

    People aren’t equal. It’s a mean thing to say but we are better if we admit it. 

    • #11
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    People aren’t equal. It’s a mean thing to say but we are better if we admit it.

    It’s not a mean thing to say. It’s simple truth. But there are a million measures of a man. Next to our brothers, on some we will be better, and on others fall far short. Stars are not equal, but all of them shine in one form or another.

    • #12
    • September 21, 2020, at 4:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Saint Augustine Member

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    • #13
    • September 21, 2020, at 5:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The trick is the ratio of reading to writing. The people with correct beliefs read much more than they write. Niall Ferguson recommends that one read 1000 words for every word one writes. I wager that no Ricochetoi lives up to that standard. I certainly don’t.

    • #14
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    The degree to which Confucius deferred to authority in his own life might be the key to that argument.

    On the other hand, if one always defers to authority would that not reinforce the claim that one subscribes to elitism?

    • #15
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:10 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Saint Augustine Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    The degree to which Confucius deferred to authority in his own life might be the key to that argument.

    On the other hand, if one always defers to authority would that not reinforce the claim that one subscribed to elitism?

    You’re thinking of him as someone who defers to authority rather a lot?

    • #16
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. MarciN Member

    Writing and reading are only one form of communication. And within that form are hundreds of variations. In fact, the amount of information this form of communication can accurately transmit is actually limited. It works well for some types of information and inspiration, not as well for others. I have read in painful detail descriptions of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony that fail miserably to capture the wondrous experience of actually hearing it performed by an orchestra.

    Writing, reading, and publishing have certainly been responsible for raising the standard of living over the course of human history–consider Thomas Paine–but they have also been responsible for lowering it–consider Karl Marx. 

     

     

    • #17
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Hoyacon Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    The trick is the ratio of reading to writing. The people with correct beliefs read much more than they write. Niall Ferguson recommends that one read 1000 words for every word one writes. I wager that no Ricochetoi lives up to that standard. I certainly don’t.

    That is a tough one. I guess I’m off to read fourteen thousand words 

    • #18
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Bob Thompson Member

    Henry Castaigne:

    Buddha and Socrates believed that the correct beliefs would lead to virtue. But how do so many illiterate people live decent lives? 

    Because there is no relationship between those two things?

    • #19
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    The degree to which Confucius deferred to authority in his own life might be the key to that argument.

    On the other hand, if one always defers to authority would that not reinforce the claim that one subscribed to elitism?

    You’re thinking of him as someone who defers to authority rather a lot?

    It’s more like a question: Did Confucius practice what he preached?

    • #20
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. SpiritO'78 Member

    I read a lot and I’m proud of it. Reading has expanded my horizons. I work with a lot of people who don’t read. Most are salesmen who work long hours, coach little league for their kids’ team and generally contribute to society. Maybe we overthink the value of reading just a bit.

    • #21
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  22. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    The trick is the ratio of reading to writing. The people with correct beliefs read much more than they write. Niall Ferguson recommends that one read 1000 words for every word one writes. I wager that no Ricochetoi lives up to that standard. I certainly don’t.

    We appreciate your help.

    • #22
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come from intellect. And some of the smartest people I know are foolish and dumb.

    • #23
    • September 21, 2020, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  24. Saint Augustine Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    The degree to which Confucius deferred to authority in his own life might be the key to that argument.

    On the other hand, if one always defers to authority would that not reinforce the claim that one subscribed to elitism?

    You’re thinking of him as someone who defers to authority rather a lot?

    It’s more like a question: Did Confucius practice what he preached?

    I think he did. But what do you think he preached exactly?

    • #24
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:27 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Stina Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    (You know, I might have in the back of my head a partial defense of Confucius from the charge of elitism. But I’m worn out and out of time. Ask me tomorrow–or next week, or never.)

    Paul made some charge to one of the churches to follow the traditions.

    Skip pointed out on the last Bosphorus post that reading wasn’t the only means to pass knowledge.

    Confiscious may have hit on the same thing.

    On the subject of much reading, the most learned are the most like to be proud. Those who don’t read are most like to be humble. Where does kindness come from? Pride or humility?

    • #25
    • September 21, 2020, at 3:16 PM PDT
    • 5 likes