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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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First Principles               329

belongs to the means of conviction, not to the extremes.
We are not won by arguments that we can analyse, but by
tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.

Logic and Philosophy

When you have got all the rules and all the lore of philo-
sophy and logic well into your head, and have spent years
in getting to understand at any rate what they mean and
have them at command, you will know less for practical
purposes than one who has never studied logic or philosophy.


If it tends to thicken the crust of ice on which, as it were,
we are skating, it is all right. If it tries to find, or professes
to have found, the solid ground at the bottom of the water,
it is all wrong. Our business is with the thickening of this
crust by extending our knowledge downward from above, as
ice gets thicker while the frost lasts; we should not try to
freeze upwards from the bottom.


A religion only means something so certainly posed that
nothing can ever displace it. It is an attempt to settle first
principles so authoritatively that no one need so much as
even think of ever re-opening them for himself or feel any,
even the faintest, misgiving upon the matter. It is an
attempt to get an irrefragably safe investment, and this can-
not be got, no matter how low the interest, which in the case
of religion is about as low as it can be.

Any religion that cannot be founded on half a sheet of
note-paper will be bottom-heavy, and this, in a matter so
essentially of sentiment as religion, is as bad as being top-
heavy in a material construction. It must of course catch
on to reason, but the less it emphasises the fact the better.


Logic has no place save with that which can be defined in
words. It has nothing to do, therefore, with those deeper