Famous Quotes & Sayings

Jennifer Michael Hecht Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 37 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

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Jennifer Michael Hecht Quotes 1280007

Epistemology is still a central issue in philosophy, and we moderns are particularly vexed with the question of how we can come to know anything outside what we already know, that is, how we can climb out of our own culture's basic assumptions, and how we can hope to see beyond our brains' basic formation. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Plato offers the amazing idea that contemplation of the way things really are is, in itself, a purifying process that can bring human beings into the only divinity there is. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Lucian [of Samosata; 120-190 CE] was trying to make his audience laugh, rather than start a revolution — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Socrates counts among those great minds who actually cultivated doubt in the name of truth. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Like belief, doubt takes a lot of different forms, from ancient Skepticism to modern scientific empiricism, from doubt in many gods to doubt in one God, to doubt that recreates and enlivens faith and doubt that is really disbelief. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Death is no problem because when we are alive we are not dead and when we are dead we don't know it. So long as you can possibly worry about it, you've got nothing to worry about. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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How was life before Pop-Tarts, Prozac and padded playgrounds? They ate strudel, took opium and played on the grass. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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History
Even Eve, the only soul in all of time
to never have to wait for love,
must have leaned some sleepless nights
alone against the garden wall
and wailed, cold, stupefied, and wild
and wished to trade-in all of Eden
to have but been a child.
In fact, I gather that is why she leapt and fell from grace,
that she might have a story of herself to tell
in some other place. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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[Based upon the message of "nothing new under the sun" in Ecclesiastes,] If nothing ever changes, then God has no plan. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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One must devote oneself to figuring out that one must live for the good, for its own sake. It was a secular morality. Contemporaries did not know what to call a thing like that - he questioned their every faith, their every way of life - so they called it atheism. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Here, new information, new empirical data, led to a direct challenge to the way in which the gods were envisioned. This new doubt encouraged a new kind of punishment for doubt. Set up about 438 BCE, the law against Anaxagoras's atheism held that society must denounce those who do not believe in the divine beings or who teach doctrines about things in the sky. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Plato's sense that this was the only religion that would hold up nowadays was thoroughgoing. The only religion that could be really believed by anyone in his time, he said, is based on belief that the stars have intelligence, and that we and they have immortal souls of some sort.18 The more we learn - and mathematics is the queen of the soul's subjects - the more we will ascend toward self-knowledge and universal truth. This ascension is the drama of Plato's religion. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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When we feel safe, when we feel we are with someone who basically agrees with us about the symbolic universe, we let down our defenses, confident that our companion understands the symbols that are usually wall up, and will act appropriately. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Though you work like mad to keep parts of you undiscovered, it is horrible to imagine that you will be completely successful. As the psychologist D.W. Winnicott wrote, It is a joy to be hidden, but a disaster not to be found. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Why do people report themselves to be as happy as they were back when we all had less? Well, for one thing, we are comparing two societies that are both majestically wealthy in comparison to almost all societies throughout history. Neither the surveyed Americans of the 1950s nor those of the 2000s were struggling with endemic distress- hunger, pain, humiliation. And average people who are not in such distress are statistically more likely to call themselves happy than not. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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The history of doubt is not only a history of the denial of God; it is also a history of those who have grappled with the religious questions and found the possibility of other answers. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Some primary reasons that both Plato and Aristotle had for believing in God were utterly erroneous - simple errors caused by our being stuck to the planet and misled by the sensation that the planet is standing still. If they had been aware that the Earth spins, they would have understood that, by and large, we are making our own light show in the night sky. As it was, the precision of the movements of all the stars seemed astonishing. If we knew how we lined up among the planets, their motion would not seem so strange and willful. Also, had the philosophers been able to leave planet Earth for a jaunt in outer space, they could have seen that, at a distance from gravity and atmosphere, moving things tend to keep moving, without any need for an impelling force. From out there, the motion of the planets would seem natural as well. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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We are humanity, Kant says. Humanity needs us because we are it. Kant believes in duty and considers remaining alive a primary human duty. For him one is not permitted to "renounce his personality," and while he states living as a duty, it also conveys a kind of freedom: we are not burdened with the obligation of judging whether our personality is worth maintaining, whether our life is worth living. Because living it is a duty, we are performing a good moral act just by persevering. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Yet one of the most important things we have to learn is how to cope with abundance and with our hunger for yet more abundance — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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If you look at a testimony of love from 2,000 years ago it can still exactly speak to you, whereas medical advice from only 100 years ago is ridiculous. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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The sacrificial part of the Greek religion had to do with submitting to the wild chaotic world beyond one's own will; getting used to the idea that your rational plans will be knocked around by larger forces. The ecstatic-ritual part of ancient Greek religion was a kind of throwing oneself into the chaos, not pitting your rationality against the tempestuous world, but rather leaving your rationality on the shore, letting the waves toss you about, and coming to identify with the waves, with the storm, with the weather. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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None of us can truly know what we mean to other people, and none of us can know what our future self will experience. History and philosophy ask us to remember these mysteries, to look around at friends, family, humanity, at the surprises life brings - the endless possibilities that living offers - and to persevere. There is love and insight to live for, bright moments to cherish, and even the possibility of happiness, and the chance of helping someone else through his or her own troubles. Know that people, through history and today, understand how much courage it takes to stay. Bear witness to the night side of being human and the bravery it entails, and wait for the sun. If we meditate on the record of human wisdom we may find there reason enough to persist and find our way back to happiness. The first step is to consider the arguments and evidence and choose to stay. After that, anything may happen. First, choose to stay. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Without the outside context of a political war between faith and reason, Epicurus does not fear that any single point he might award to the religious will be used against him. Nor is he eager to have his followers shunning prayer or ritual in order to demonstrate publicly their disbelief. Outside the context of a political war between faith and reason, more nuanced arrangements may be safely undertaken. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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We believe each other into being. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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A lot of campaigning for food purity is a translated worry about abundance. You still eat your fill, but you agonize over the food's contents. We are a pack of animals that allows some to have excess food while others starve. Those who have so much get finicky about what is good to eat; they become obsessed by it, re-creating scarcity for themselves so as to not feel guilty, confused, or dangerously envied. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Job moans that it is wanton cruelty that suffering people, brutalized or in mourning, should have to relive their horrors in dreams. In fact, why should any of us, in seeking rest, be met with nightmares? — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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We did not make this world...and our childhood inclinations about how to succeed in it turn out to be wrong: often our courage is needed not to dramatically change reality but to accept it and persist in it. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Prayer is based on the remote possibility that someone is actually listening; but so is a lot of conversation. If the former seems far-fetched, consider the latter: even if someone is listening to your story, and really hearing, that person will disappear from existence in the blink of a cosmic eye, so why bother to tell this perhaps illusory and possibly un-listening person something he or she is unlikely to truly understand, just before the two of you blip back out of existence? We like to talk to people who answer us, intelligently if possible, but we do talk without needing response or expecting comprehension. Sometimes, the event is the word, the act of speaking. Once we pull that apart a bit, the action of talking becomes more important than the question of whether the talking is working-because we know, going in, that the talking is not working. That said, one might as well pray. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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We seem obsessed with motivation, rallying ourselves to something beyond the life available to us right now, and we treat this motivation as if it were a major part of the history of wisdom, which it is not. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Your staying alive means so much more than you really know or that anyone is aware of at this moment. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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To appreciate the importance of fitting every human soul for independent action, think for a moment of the immeasurable solitude of self. We come into the world alone, unlike all who have gone before us; we leave it alone under circumstances peculiar to ourselves ... We ask for the complete development of every indicidual, first, for his own benefit and happiness. In fitting out an army we give each soldier his own knapsack, arms, powder, his blanket, cup, knife, fork, and spoon. We provide alike for all their individual necessities, then each man bears his own burden. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

Jennifer Michael Hecht Quotes 1954226

When They Die We Change Our Minds About Them
When they die we change our minds about them. While they live we see the plenty hard they're trying,to be a star, or nice, or wise, and so we do not quite believe them. When they die, suddenly they are what they claimed. Turns out, that's what one of those looks like. The cold war over manner of manly or mission is over. Same person, same facts and acts, just now a quiet brain stem. We no longer begrudge his or her stupid luck.When they die we change our minds about them. I will try to believe while you yet breathe. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Some were taking this or that nervine cure-all, but the best nervine for a man who is not absolutely past repair, is to break away entirely from his calling or greed and camp out on the sea shore ... and patiently wait for the return of good health. James Bradley — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Aurelius says that one reason it doesn't matter how long you live is that this is not theatre, that the whole is not the thing. Each moment is the thing. The soul obtains its own end, wherever the limit of life may be fixed. Not as ... in a play ... where the whole action is incomplete if anything cuts it short; but in every part and wherever it be stopped, it makes what has been set before it full and complete, so that it can say, 'I have what is my own. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Jack Miles's wonderful literary reading of the Hebrew Bible as a biography of God offers the insight that after the Book of Job, God never speaks again. God may seem to silence Job, but Job silences God. It is lovely that Job silencing God is part of the text (though likely an accidental order of the books), because it reflects a real change in the real world after the Book of Job came into it. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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The problem, of course, is that at any given historical moment, prevailing views about the right changes to make in how we care for our bodies can be bullying and shaming. There is a lot of widespread guilt about diet, exercise, sex, and treatments. How insistent all the advice is! Have sex a lot, don't have any sex; eat heartily, eat with restraint; hold your body in stillness, move it and have it moved; bind your ample body tightly, wear soft clothes but have no fat. Not only are the various instructions different; they are directly at odds with each other. Yet, despite our historical track record on these matters, we are today generally confident that we know best- that science and other experts have now got it right, after a long history of nonsense. — Jennifer Michael Hecht

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A reasonable scale of probability-what is likely-forbids believing a whole range of imaginative possibilities, even though we do not know anything for sure. — Jennifer Michael Hecht