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" Accepting that the world is full of uncertainty and ambiguity does not and should not stop people from being pretty sure about a lot of things. "
" I don't believe in God because certain reasons and arguments weigh more heavily in my mind than others, not because I have willfully decided to reject my creator, as many religious people seem to think. I could no more simply decide to believe in God than I could decide to like beetroot, just like that. "
" Anger clearly has its proper place at work, which is neither wholly absent nor ever present. The manager who is an emotional blank is just as hard to work for as the volcanic boss, and both can do great harm by setting an unhelpful example for what kind of emotional expression is expected and accepted. "
" You don't choose what you believe moment to moment, but choices you have made do shape what you come to believe. "
" If there's one thing that makes me cynical, it's optimists. They are just far too cynical about cynicism. If only they could see that cynics can be happy, constructive, even fun to hang out with, they might learn a thing or two. "
" Philosophy has to be enquiring; it can take nothing on faith, and its methods are based not on the blind acceptance of authority, but on establishing truths by reason and argument. "
" Being virtuous is wonderful thing, but feeling virtuous is a shortcut to vice. "
" The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy. "
" Traditional arguments for the existence of God and contemporary attempts to use fine-tuning and cosmology to back up the case for his existence always strike me as kinds of games, since hardly anyone believes on the basis of these arguments at all. "
" When you try to cool down hot emotions, what tends to happen is that you end up either repressing them or losing them altogether. Neither is desirable. Without emotion, much social interaction loses its meaning or changes for the worse. "
" Nature deals the cards without thought or care, and there is no point in blaming the dealer. All we can do is make the best of the hands we have been dealt. "
" If we find it hard to believe that winning millions might not be so lucky after all, we just don't have a good enough imagination. If I fantasise about winning the lottery, it doesn't take long before all sorts of worrisome potential consequences occur to me. "
" Yesterday's news feeds our fear that our neighbours are more likely than not to be bad eggs: benefit fraudsters, bogus asylum seekers, paedophiles or jihadist terrorists. "
" When you do the right thing, but not to any particular person, we instinctively feel that we have earned some sort of pay back. Since no-one will do that for us, we opt for self-service reciprocation. "
Do The Right Thing
" Right and wrong are not simply matters of evolutionary impacts and what is natural. "
" Indeed, without emotion it seems unlikely we can even have morality. "
" Being a good neighbour is about compassion, which is as warm-blooded as justice is cool-headed. "
" We can take suffering to be an opportunity to learn and to grow. But if we are honest, we should remember that this is making the best of a bad job, and that minimising suffering takes priority over optimising its outcome. "
" Seek first what is true and of value, and then whatever happiness follows will be of the appropriate quantity and, more importantly, quality. "
" Rules matter, and to be rules they need to be universal in form: always do this, never do that. But it is foolish to rule out in advance the possibility that an occasion might arise when normal rules just don't apply. Rules are not there to be broken, but sometimes break them we must. "
" Philosophy is at its most engaged when it is impure. What is being recovered from the Ancient Greek model is not some lost idea of philosophy's pure essence, but the idea that philosophy is mixed up with everything else. "
" Constructive complaint requires only two things: that what you are complaining about should be different, and that it can be different. It sounds simple, but too often our protests fail this test. "
" Progress is more of a challenge for the cynic but also more important and urgent, since for the optimist things aren't that bad and are bound to get better anyway. "
" Trade has played a vital role in the social evolution of humankind. It allowed people to specialise, which raises both skill levels and efficiency. It brought people from different lands together, co-operating rather than competing over resources. "
" To become a stoic is to endorse the truthfulness of its world view and accept its prescription for how you ought to live, not just to like how it makes you feel. "
" Instead of showing strangers kindness and giving them the benefit of the doubt, we increasingly show them only fear, and that is bad for us and them. "
" One reason why it has become harder to promote the beneficial side of emotions such as anger is that the moral vocabulary of good and bad has been replaced by the self-help lexicon of positive and negative thinking. "
" Stress means something different if it is the result of rewarding work rather than struggling to keep the family out of debt. "
" Waiting is so unusual that many of us can't stand in a queue for 30 seconds without getting out our phones to check for messages or to Google something. "
" Love is indeed, at root, the product of the firings of neurons and release of hormones. "
" It is true that legality is not morality, and sticking to the law is necessary for good citizenship, but it is not sufficient. "