â€œI should like to say two things. One intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: when you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think could have been efficient socially if it were to be believed; but look only and solely at what are the facts. This is the intellectual thing I should wish to say. The moral thing I should like to say is very simple. I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we donâ€™t like. We can only live together in that way. If we are to live and not die together we must learn the kind of charity and kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.â€
Bertrand Russel, Message to the future generations
Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. Iâ€™ve examined all the stock arguments in favour of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.
Q: Do you think thereâ€™s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?
Russell: Well, there canâ€™t be a practical reason for believing what isnâ€™t true. Thatâ€™s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isnâ€™t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isnâ€™t, you shouldnâ€™t. And if you canâ€™t find out whether itâ€™s true or whether it isnâ€™t, you should suspend judgment. But you canâ€™t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think itâ€™s useful, and not because you think itâ€™s true.
Q: I was thinking of those people who find that some kind of religious code helps them to live their lives. It gives them a very strict set of rules, the rights and the wrongs.
Russell: Yes, but those rules are generally quite mistaken. A great many of them do more harm than good. And they would probably be able to find a rational morality that they could live by if they dropped this irrational traditional taboo morality that comes down from savage ages.
Q: But are we, perhaps the ordinary person perhaps isnâ€™t strong enough to find this own personal ethic. They have to have something imposed upon them from outside.
Russell: Oh, I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s true, and what is imposed on you from outside is of no value whatever. It doesnâ€™t count.
Q: Well, you were brought up, of course, as a Christian. When did you first decide that you did not want to remain a believer in the Christian ethic?
Russell: I never decided that I didnâ€™t want to remain a believer. I decided… between the ages of 15 and 18, I spent almost all my spare time thinking about Christian dogmas, and trying to find out whether there was any reason to believe them. And by the time I was 18, Iâ€™d discarded the last of them.
Q: Do you think that that gave you an extra strength in your life?
Russell: Oh, I donâ€™t… no, I shouldâ€™t have said so, neither extra strength nor the opposite. I mean, I was just engaged in the pursuit of knowledge.
Q: As you approach the end of life, do you have any fear of some kind of afterlife, or do you feel that that is just…
Russell: Oh, no, I think thatâ€™s nonsense.
Q: There is no afterlife?
Russell: None whatever.
Q: Do you have any fear of something that is common amongst atheists and agnostics, who have been atheists or agnostics all their lives, who are converted just before they die, to a form of religion?
Russell: Well, you know, it doesnâ€™t happen nearly as often as religious people think it does. Because religious people, most of them, think that itâ€™s a virtuous act to tell lies about the death beds of agnostics and such. As a matter of fact, it doesnâ€™t happen very often.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
Attributed to Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor 161-180.
ANDREW DENTON: In ’79, I think you would have been about 22, you went to a radio debate with the Reverend Wade Watts…Reverend Wade Watts…who was the state leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People who’d worked with Martin Luther King. And when you got to this debate, he held out his hand for you to shake.
JOHNNY LEE CLARY: Yes, yes he did.
ANDREW DENTON: Did you hesitate?
JOHNNY LEE CLARY: I, I, he caught me off guard. See, I’m expecting this black militant to come in with a great big afro this big and an African dashiki on, with bones hanging around and a button on that says, “I hate honkies” and “Death to crackers,” you know? All that stuff. And I figured he’d have on…
ANDREW DENTON: You seriously thought that?
JOHNNY LEE CLARY: Yeah, that’s what I thought. And I thought he’d come in there with a boom box, blaring out the theme from ‘Shaft’. And I figured he’d flash a switchblade at me and go “Black is beautiful, honky. I’m gonna kill all you white devils.” You know, that’s what I thought I was gonna see. So when the door opened up and in came Reverend Wade Watts and he’s wearing a suit and a tie and he’s carrying a Bible. And he walks up and puts his hand out and goes, “Hello there, Mr Clary. I’m Reverend Wade Watts. I just want to tell you I love you and Jesus loves you.” And I mean, I’m shocked, you know. And he puts his hand out and I’m shaking his hand without thinking, ’cause this was not what I was expecting. And then I realised I’d just broke a Klan rule and I jerked my hand back, you know. And I started looking at my hand, which he saw that and that was meant as an insult. The Klan rule book says, “The physical touch of a non-white is pollution.” And I thought, “I just shook hands with a black person.” And he sees me looking at my hand and he goes, “Don’t worry, Johnny. It don’t come off.” And, you know, I start calling him names, and go, “You no-good, sorry, bleep, bleep, bleep. You mother-this, you this, you that.” And he looked at me and goes, “God bless you, Johnny. You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you. I’m gonna love you and I’m gonna pray for you, whether you like it or not.” And I didn’t know how to deal with that. I had never had that happen to me before.
ANDREW DENTON: A few years later, you burnt down his church, didn’t you?
JOHNNY LEE CLARY: Set fire to his church. What happened was we started off going by his house, calling him names, we got no response. Threw trash all over his lawn, got no response. We showed up with our sheets and hoods and stood out there in his yard, saying, “Get on out here, boy, we got something for you.” And he comes outside and he goes, “Boys, Halloween’s four more months away. I got no trick or treat in here for you. Come back in October.” And he goes back in the house.
ANDREW DENTON: That’s a brave man.
JOHNNY LEE CLARY: Yeah. And, I mean, I didn’t know how to deal with this. And so the Klan goes, “You got anymore bright ideas?” And I said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I’ll tell you what we’ll do.” So we burned a cross across the street from his house. He came outside and asked us if we needed hotdogs or marshmallows for our barbeque, you know. So finally, I said, “I’m tired of messing with him” and we set fire to his church. And they put the fire out before the church was destroyed and I remember I called him up and disguised my voice and I said, “Hey, boy, you’d better be afraid. We’re coming to get you, boy. You don’t know who we are but we know who you are.” And he goes, “Hello, Johnny.” And he goes, “A man like you takes the time to call me, I’m so honoured.” And all that stuff. He goes, “Let me do something to you. Dear Lord, please forgive Johnny for being so stupid. He doesn’t mean to be so ornery, he’s a good boy trying to get out somewhere in there.” And I hung up the phone on him and I said, “How dare him?”
And so, the funniest thing that happened with him, though, is, I didn’t know what to do and I was at my rope’s end. And one day we was watching him and he went into a restaurant, so we got a bunch of us together and about 30 of us went in there and surrounded him. And he had this chicken there on the table. And I walked up and I said, “Hey, boy, this restaurant’s for white people only, we don’t want you here.” I said, “So, I’m gonna make you a promise.” I said, “I promise you we’re gonna do the same thing to you that you do to that chicken. So you think real hard before you touch that chicken.” So he looked at me and looked at the Klan, then he picked up the chicken and he kissed it. And when he kissed the chicken, the whole restaurant acted just like y’all did. They all started laughing and everything. And I looked up and even the Klan was laughing. “You gotta admit, that was funny.” I said, “Every one of you, outside.” I’m outside and they’re doubled over, laughing. I’m going, “You guys are gonna get suspended and lose your robe for two weeks.” I said, “I’m getting tired of this.” And I’m hollering at them and yelling and they’re laughing. I heard a horn honking and Reverend Watts is driving off, going, “Bye, Johnny.” And that’s how he chose… That’s how one old black – we never bothered him again – and that’s how one old black man defeated the entire Ku Klux Klan. Because he used this (Johnny points to his head) instead of brawn.
ANDREW DENTON: And he used this too (Andrew points to his heart). A very brave man.
Few days ago I discovered the only gay graffiti I’ve ever seen. It is written on a building wall in my hometown Pancevo, directly in the neighborhood where I grew up. Good to see it in a pretty much homophobic society.
They wish to make a lot of money. In Europe every American student if more every American adult is regarded as someone who is just out to make a lot of money. Really, what 16%, 16% of these students regarded their main goal and concern in life to make a lot of money. I’m quoting literally, make a lot of money. And you know what the top cat… the top category … you say category or “cat-egory”? What do you say? Category was among… you … excuse me, but I… I know I’m speaking in marvelous accent without the slightest english. You know, you know what the top category was? 78% of these American youngsters were concerned as they expressed it themselves with finding a meaning and purpose in their lives. so this is realistic view of man.
And you know… you won’t believe it gray… gray hair, my age I started taking flying lessons recently you know what my flying instructor told me? If you’re starting here, wish to get here… say… east… heading for this… and you have a crosswind you will drift and you will land here so you have to do what the pilots call crabing – he told me – C, R, A, B: crabing You have to head for north of this… airfield and you have to fly that way, you see? If you head – in this direction – if you ahead in here… above this airfield then you will actually land here but if you head for here, you are landing here. This hold also for man… I would say if we take man as he really is we making worst but if we overestimate him… It’s premature your applause… you will soon know why if we… if we seem to be idealist and we are overestimating … overrating man and looking at him that high… here above you know what happens? We promote him to what really can be So we have to idealist in a way because then we wind up as the true, the real ‘is’ and you know who has said this? If we take man as he is, we making worst but if we take man as he should be we making capable becoming what he can be this was not my flight instructor, this was not me this was Goethe, he said this verbally and now you will understand why I in one of my writings once said… this is the most … maxim and motto for any psicotherapeutic activity so if you don’t recognise a young man’s will to meaning … man’s search for meaning you make him worst…you make him dull you make him frustrated, you still add and contribute to his frustration … while, if you presupose in this man … in this so called criminal or juvenile delinquent or drug abuser, or so forth… there must be a what do you call it? a spark… a spark of search for meaning let’s recognize this… Let’s presupose it and then you will elicit it from him and you will make him become what he in principle is capable of becoming.
Regensburg county (“Landkreis Regensburg”) is one of Bavaria’s counties. Beside Regensburg as its administrative centre, it comprises 41 local communities, with a total of 180.000 inhabitants. Each of the local communities has its own coat of arms.
The gif begins with the coat of arms of Regensburg (two keys, crossed) and is followed by others in alphabetical order. Although I live here for 10 years now, I didn’t notice these interesting designs before. Googling for something else I accidentally discovered them.
Thanks to Kiklop for supporting the idea of making a “gif” out of it.
Stanovnici priobalnog mesta Fudai na severoistoku Japana prezziveli su cunami od 11og marta ove godine zahvaljujuchi zidu visine 15,5 metara. Zid je izdrzzao nalet ogromnog talasa i samo je jedan mali deo vode uspeo da ga predje i pokvasi kuchne pragove naselja sa tri hiljade stanovnika.
Svoje zzivote i occuvanje svoje imovine zzitelji Fudaija duguju prethodnom gradonaccelniku g. Kotaku Wamuri, koji je sedamdesetih godina prosslog veka uprkos snazznoj opoziciji i kritikama da je projekat rasipniccki i nepotreban uspeo da sprovede u delo ideju o podizanju zasstitnog zida visseg od uobiccajenih mera. Danas, dok se malobrojni prezziveli mnogih potpuno unisstenih pribalnih naselja ovog dela Japana bore sa nesagledivim materijalnim i emotivnim posledicama tragedije, stanovnici Fudaija u znak zahvalnosti posechuju grob svog bivsseg gradonaccelnika.
Kao svedok tragiccnih posledica cunamija iz 1933 godine g. Wamura je insistirao da se tako nessto ne sme ponoviti. Podizanje zida u vrednosti od 30 miliona americckih dolara mnogi su ipak osudjivali kao megalomanski poduhvat. I kada je najzad uspeo da ubedi cclanove gradskog vecha da je takva gradjevina jedini naccin da se saccuvaju zzivoti, tokom izgradnje bedema duzzine preko 200 metara vechina stanovnika je sumnjala u ispravnost odluke, a vlasnici u tu svrhu eksproprisanog zemljissta su se i osstro protivili.
G. Wamura, koji je bio gradonaccelnik Fudaija tokom 10 mandata – od kraja II. svetskog rata pa do 1987 godine – upornim zalaganjem uspeo je da od malog ribarskog naselja napravi prosperitetnu i turisticcki atraktivnu zajednicu. Preminuo je 1997 godine, u svojoj 88 godini. Na ceremoniji odlaska u penziju okupljenim sugradjanima je poruccio da “ccak i ako se suocciss sa protivljenjem, sledi svoja ubedjenja i dovrssi zapocceto. Ljudi che na kraju razumeti.”