Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Arguing with Carlyle

A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things.
-- Thomas Carlyle – 

Just a few words here about the above Carlyle quote...
I want to go on record as saying that I DO NOT BELIEVE IN IT.
Which is to say, I think, with all due respect, that Mr. Carlyle is wrong. 

I “believe” that debating and arguing are, in fact, more important than believing, if “believing” precludes reasonable debate.
Any “belief” that is not open to the possibility of the displacement of that belief, in the light of better information, is worse than willful bias or prejudice. It is preemptive IGNORANCE.
See more of my thoughts on this topic -- HERE 

I discussed this last night with someone over a coffee, at Starbucks. They said:
"But Carlyle is not saying that it is right or even advantageous. He merely says that a man DOES this...that this is how Man lives. . . and there is no denying this, is there?"

Point taken!
And a very good point it is. Halfway through my day today I actually thought the same thing, about the original quote. I don't know enough about Carlyle to know if he himself believed this way, or if he was just making a statement as to HOW MAN IS! How people ARE! 

So, in case I have offended any members of the raging Thomas Carlyle Fan-Club© out there [and seriously, I have heard that they are a rowdy beer-swilling bunch of ne'er-do-wells!]... umm, I jotted the following down today.
Forget Thomas Carlyle now, this is MY personal statement: 

Our lives can only remain genuine and authentic to the extent that our beliefs are subject to a state of ongoing scrutiny, doubt, and intelligent debate.


Isabella K said...

Hear, hear!

Cipriano said...

Ahhh... my first convert!

Stefanie said...

Carlyle doesn't say what a person has to believe in, only that a person believe in something. And, er, aren't you sort of proving Carlyle right by saying you "believe" in debating and arguing? Isn't your personal statement at the end of the post a sort of statement of belief?

Alyce said...

I think that Stefanie does have a good point, however to me it looks like Carlyle sets up the ideas of believing vs. debating and arguing in direct opposition. When looking at it as an "either - or" choice, I'd take debating and arguing hands down. I'd rather think critically than believe blindly.

Anonymous said...

Cipriano I know you follow the W.C. Fields school of thought:
"Every man must believe in something and I believe I'll have another drink"