Clive Bell Quote

“Only reason can convince us of those three fundamental truths without a recognition of which there can be no effective liberty: that what we believe is not necessarily true; that what we like is not necessarily good; and that all questions are open.”

~ Clive Bell

Civilization, 1928

Ratings and Comments


Byron, Fort Collins

Right on, Clive!

Dan, Portsmouth

This is a great quote if you like unsupported universal assertions. If all questions are open we have no criteria to evaluate anything.

Mike, Norwalk

Dan, great reasoning.

E Archer, NYC

I like it. As a seeker of truth, I must continue to re-evaluate my position and beliefs. I recognize that there is a great deal I do not know and that even my own sacred cows are not exempt from inspection. The 'truth' -- whatever it may be -- is what it is whether I am aware of it or not, thus the perpetual open questions. Yes, I answer those questions for myself, but there are still more questions -- even questioning the meaning of fundamental words such as 'truth' and 'God' are open questions -- what is 'truth'? what is 'God'? How do we know? Why bother trying to answer perpetual open questions? Answering them often cuts us off from the bigger picture -- what we overlook or miss sometimes changes the whole thing. But the 'unknown' is uncomfortable, so we come up with something/anything that can put our minds at ease and make sense of a world that often appears senseless. ;-)

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