Monday, January 12, 2015

Intellectual hospitality & Freedom of thought by Robert Ingersoll

Tom Barabas - After the Rain

Every man should be Mentally honest.
He should preserve as his most precious jewel the perfect
veracity of his soul.

He should examine all questions presented to his mind, without prejudice, -- unbiased by hatred or love -- by desire or fear. His object and his only object should be to find the truth. He knows, if he listens to reason, that truth is not dangerous and that error is. He should weigh the evidence, the arguments, in honest scales -- scales that passion or interest cannot change. He should care nothing for authority -- nothing for names, customs or creeds -- nothing for anything that his reason does not say is true.

Of his world he should be the sovereign, and his soul should wear the purple. From his dominions should be banished the hosts of force and fear.

He should be Intellectually Hospitable.

The real searcher after truth will not receive the old because it is old, or reject the new because it is new. He will not believe men because they are dead, or contradict them because they are alive. With him an utterance is worth the truth, the reason it contains, without the slightest regard to the author. He may have been a king or serf -- a philosopher or servant, -- but the utterance neither gains nor loses in truth or reason. Its value is absolutely independent of the fame or station of the man who gave it to the world.

Nothing but falsehood needs the assistance of fame and place, of robes and maitres, of tiaras and crowns.

The wise, the really honest and intelligent, are not swayed or governed by numbers -- by majorities.

They accept what they really believe to be true. They care nothing for the opinions of ancestors, nothing for creeds, assertions and theories, unless they satisfy the reason.

In all directions they seek for truth, and when found, accept it with joy -- accept it in spite of preconceived opinions -- in spite of prejudice and hatred.

This is the course pursued by wise and honest men, and no other course is possible for them.

In every department of human endeavor men are seeking for the truth -- for the facts. The statesman reads the history of the world, gathers the statistics of all nations to the end that his country may avoid the mistakes of the past. The geologist penetrates the rocks in search of facts -- climbs mountains, visits the extinct craters, traverses islands and continents that he may know something of the history of the world. He wants the truth.

The chemist, with crucible and retort, with countless experiments, is trying to find the qualities of substances -- to ravel what nature has woven.

The great mechanics dwell in the realm of the real. They seek by natural means to conquer and use the forces of nature. They want the truth -- the actual facts.

The physicians, the surgeons, rely on observation, experiment and reason. They become acquainted with the human body -- with muscle, blood and nerve -- with the wonders of the brain. They want nothing but the truth.

And so it is with the students of every science. On every hand they look for facts, and it is of the utmost importance that they give to the world the facts they find.

Their courage should equal their intelligence. No matter what the dead have said, or the living believe, they should tell what they know. They should have intellectual courage.

If it be good for man to find the truth -- good for him to be intellectually honest and hospitable, then it is good for others to know the truths thus found.

Every man should have the courage to give his honest thought. This makes the finder and publisher of truth a public benefactor.

Those who prevent, or try to prevent, the expression of honest thought, are the foes of civilization -- the enemies of truth. Nothing can exceed the egotism and impudence of the man who claims the right to express his thought and denies the same right to others.

It will not do to say that certain ideas are sacred, and that man has not the right to investigate and test these ideas for himself.

Who knows that they are sacred? Can anything be sacred to us that we do not know to be true?

For many centuries free speech has been an insult to God. Nothing has been more blasphemous than the expression of honest thought. For many ages the lips of the wise were sealed. The torches that truth had lighted, that courage carried and held aloft, were extinguished with blood.

Truth has always been in favor of free speech -- has always asked to be investigated -- has always longed to be known and understood. Freedom, discussion, honesty, investigation and courage are the friends and allies of truth. Truth loves the light and the open field. It appeals to the senses -- to the judgment, the reason, to all the higher and nobler faculties and powers of the mind. It seeks to calm the passions, to destroy prejudice and to increase the volume and intensity of reason's flame.

It does not ask man to cringe or crawl. It does not desire the worship of the ignorant or the prayers and praises of the frightened. It says to every human being, "Think for yourself. Enjoy the freedom of a god, and have the goodness and the courage to express your honest thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...