Zen Wisdom

Zen Wisdom February 13, 2011

The quote for today on my Zen desk calendar comes from Huang-Po, a Chinese Buddhist master who died in 850 CE.

“The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.”

This quote is particularly timely given the last blog entry on presuppositionalism. When we are confronted with evidence that our beliefs are wrong, our first instinct is to deny the evidence. If you repeat something often enough people begin to assume it’s true (as politicians know all too well) particularly if it affirms what they want to believe. We see this in everything from climate change deniers to “birthers” and 9/11 “truthers” – and in biblical inerrantists. But repeating an error (or a lie) over and over again doesn’t make it any more true.

And this brings to mind another quote, this from philosopher William James.

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

See the world as it is – not as you wish it was, and not as you fear it might be.

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