Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The problem with thinking ...

I've started to read R.N. Morris' The Cleansing Flames. Only sixty or so pages in, but came across a nice passage last night about the opportunities and dangers of thinking.

To think - to think deeply and honestly and freely - was to make yourself vulnerable. It involved cutting yourself loose from the security of received ideas and laying yourself open to new ones. It was an unsettling activity. Eventually, if one perservered, it led to greater strength. But first there was a period of uncertainty and anxiety to endure, from which some never emerged. They would spend their whole lives in a state of crippling doubt, cowering beneath a shell of cynicism.

One of the joys of being a social scientist, I think, is to spend an entire career intellectually vulnerable and in doubt, though hopefully not of the crippling kind.

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