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How to Know if You've Given Your Brain Away

Updated on September 25, 2010
Unlock your mind... Take back your thoughts... Live free...
Unlock your mind... Take back your thoughts... Live free...

Are you completely programmed?

“Don’t lead me; I may not follow. Don’t follow me; I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” Dr. Robert Anthony

Let’s start by stirring things up a bit. That’s always fun, eh? How do you feel about the following quotes?

·      “Prayer: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.” Ambrose Bierce (I think Bierce is saying prayer is not only quite unscientific for the most part, but selfish—individually and collectively—as well.)

·      “Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel.” Ambrose Bierce. (This sounds like just taking someone—or some book’s—word for something without checking to see if it makes any real sense.)

·      “Impiety: Your irreverence toward my deity.” Ambrose Bierce (This one suggests that you can criticize my religion but I can’t do the same to yours.)

·      “Religion: The art of turning superstition into coin.” Ambrose Bierce (I like this one a lot. It speaks for itself.)

These come from one of my favorite writers. Here’s a short bio from Wikipedia:

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – after 1913) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.

The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work — along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" — earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce." Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often includes a cold open, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events.

In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace.


I’m not anti-religion. Far from it. I’m an ordained minister. But I always encourage free thought and self reflection. To follow someone or something without checking into the veracity and probability is unwise at best.

Think for yourself. You may not always be right. But you won’t be so open to trickery and fraud—by religion or anything else.

A final quote, this time from Henry Ford: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.”


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    • RichardSpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Kent Matthews 

      6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      There is faith and there is 'a faith.' Bierce, in my understanding, is speaking of the latter rather than the former. Not trying to put words into his mouth, or rather, his writings, I know that having faith in an outcome or faith in another human being or faith in the integrity of the bridge over the river to downtown are important. But just because one is raised in a certain tradition is not necessarily the best reason to embrace it. All claims carry the burden of proof. You make a claim, back it up. It really is that simple, don't you think?

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

    • Niteriter profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I would like to put in a word on behalf of Faith. While I understand the folly of blind belief in a teaching of some "other", I'm not sure I can agree with Bierce's description of faith as an authoritative word on the subject.

      Is faith not a critical ingredient in the act of co-creation and in the process of determining the conditions of one's life? Without faith, where does an individual find the enthusiasm for planting a seed whose fruits will remain unseen well beyond the time at which it is planted? Without faith, how does a human being find the vision and will to lift himself out of conditions that have taught him nothing but how to remain where he is?

      I like your idea of stirring the thought pot. I just thought I'd put in a word on behalf of my little friend.


    • RichardSpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Kent Matthews 

      8 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Philosophers are akin to migrant farm workers. They are needed, used, talked about, even admired in some circles. But rarely receive the financial bennies they are due. The difference: Migrant workers seldom have statues erected in their honor.

      The philosopher does indeed feed the mind and even the soul. But before those things comes the belly. The migrant worker is more practical.

      I, too, like your quote.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This blog goes well with Mrs. Immartin's blog titled "There are two sides to every question" and with my most favorite quote "Truth is rarely pure and never simple." (I have a serious fetish with that quote, not sure why ... perhaps because it explains me or I identify with it in a way.)

      If "thinking is the hardest work there is", how come philosophers die broke and most of the time without the recognition they deserve?


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