When I look back at yesterday's post, complaining about Horgan, I'm struck by how much less intelligent I become as soon as I start arguing. I went back to look at the excerpts from his book on his site, but I wasn't reading anymore: I was scanning, looking for what's there that's stupid, what's there that I already know better than he. What a stultifying way to read. When I could be reading for what's there that I don't know yet, what's there that he knows better than I. Shall I cling to my own opinions at the cost of my own intelligence? They're not worth it, be they ever so correct.
I neglected to mention that the proximate cause of my reading William James was reading a wonderful post in the Coffee Sutras (http://sainteros.com/weblog) about Zen and Pragmatism.
(You know, I could at least learn how to do links properly. You'd never guess from this slipshod blog, that I actually work as a programmer).
I awoke this morning with this poem running through my head.
A Prayer for Old Age
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song's sake a fool?
I pray -- for word is out
And prayer comes round again --
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.
-- W. B. Yeats