William James

essay: The Will to Believe, 1896

I recently encountered a brief snippet praising scientists in "some book", borrowed from this essay.

In the context of the essay, this is not praise of science, but a complaint about scientific narrow-mindedness. The essay is about the quest for "The Truth", that is, God. When truth becomes a destination rather than a direction, then that destination must become an invisible deity. Destinations are where directions cease to have meaning - what is north of the north pole? - what is smaller than a point? - so the quest for the ultimate and the finitude of individual human existence necessitates the "discovery" of the Ultimate, as opposed to the improvement of perpetual questing.

Destinations are places where the previous journey is over. You can either give up, or pick another destination. You can still have great journeys without having destinations, though that is difficult to explain to a travel agent.

WilliamJames (last edited 2014-12-02 20:30:05 by KeithLofstrom)