When making decisions, relying entirely on intuitions, gut feelings, and anecdotal validations to justify your beliefs is not a sound rationale to trust your assessments, but to be suspicious of them. The British-American critic Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) translated the Latin dictum “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” and famously said, “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
It’s not sensible to hold a belief unless you have good reason for doing so. Neither is it sensible to cling to a belief because you believe it is useful and not because you think it is true.
Until you can organize the relevant evidence and determine whether a belief is true or isn’t, you should suspend your judgment.
Promoting the importance of rational investigation of one’s beliefs and judgments, the venerated Hindu mystic Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) once said, “Do not believe in a thing because you have read about it in a book. Do not believe in a thing because another man has said it was true. … Do not believe in words because they are hallowed by tradition. … Find out the truth for yourself. Reason it out. … That is realization.”
Only a charlatan trusts in his beliefs without evidence—if his beliefs tell him that something is true, that’s good reason enough for him to think that it’s true.
Idea for Impact: One’s intellectual integrity lies not in what one thinks but in how one validates what one thinks.
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