Kahramanlar, bazı düşünürlerin Kahramana Tapma veya İnsana Tapma dedikleri fenomenin nesnesi olmaya layık insanlardır.
İnsana Tapma kavramındaki tapma kelimesi dini bir muhtevada kullanılmak zorunda değildir. Lisanların en yüce bazı ahlaki kavramlarını sadece dine ait zannetmek; çoğu zaman bu kavramları, bu dünyanın dışına itip, insanın erişiminden çıkarmıştır. Mesela; "Vecd," genellikle, tabiat-üstünün tefekkür edilmesiyle çağrılan bir duygusal durum olarak kabul edilir. "Tapma" insandan daha yüksek birşeye sadakat ve adanmışlık içinde bulunmakla yaşanan duygusal deneydir. "Huşu" dizler üştünde yaşanacak olan ve kutsal bir saygının doğurduğu duygudur. "Kutsal" insanla ve bu dünyayla ilgili her husustan daha yüksek olan ve hiçbir husus tarafından dokunulmaz olan şeydir. Vs.
Fakat, bu kavramlar, -tabiat-üstü hiçbir boyut olmasa da- fiilen varolan duyguları, insanların fiilen hissettikleri bir şeyleri isimlendirmektedir. Hem, bu duygular, bireyde; değil, çoğu dini tanımca emredilen kendini-hakir görme halini yaratmak; tam tersine, yücelmiş ve asilleşmiş bir ruh halini yaratmaktadır. O halde, bu duyguların realitedeki bir kaynağı veya karşılığı olmalıdır. Bu kaynak, insanın ahlaki bir ideale olan adanmışlığından doğan duygusal durumdur.
Yukarıda bahsedilen yüce ahlaki kavramlardan İnsana Tapma duygusu, kahramanlık denen olguyu görmemizi sağlayan duygudur.
İnsana tapma duygusu, çok az sayıda insanın sürekli olarak yaşadığı bir duygudur; bu duyguyu, bazı insanlar, arada bir parlayan ve hiçbir sonuç bırakmadan sönen münferit kıvılcımlar halinde yaşarlar; bazı insanlar, böyle bir duyguyu hiç bilmezler; başka bazıları ise bu duyguyu bilirler fakat bütün hayatlarını gaddar bir kıvılcım-söndürücü olarak geçirirler. Somutla-sınırlı "istatistiki" zihniyetlere sahip bazıları da, insan iradesinin anlamını kavramaktan aciz olduklarından, insanın bir tapınma nesnesi olamayacağını, çünkü buna layık hiçbir insan türüne henüz raslamadıklarını beyan ederler.
Benim kastettiğim anlamda insana tapanlar: insanın en yüksek potansiyelini görüp, onu kendilerinde aktüelize etmeğe çabalayanlardır. İnsandan nefret edenler ise; insanı, zavallı, ebedi-günahkar, aşağılık bir yaratık olarak görenler ve insanın böyle olmadığını hiç keşfetmemesi için uğraşanlardır. Böyle insanların kimler olduğunu anlamak için; burada, şunu hatırlamak önemlidir: herhangi bir insanın, insan konusunda sahip olabileceği doğrudan, içebakışsal yegane bilgi, o insanın kendisiyle ilgili olan bilgidir.
İnsana tapanlar, insanın kendine-saygı-ve-güven erdemine sahip olmasından vecde gelen ve insanın yeryüzündeki mutluluğunun kutsallığına adanmış insanlardır.
İnsanın bir tapınma nesnesi olduğu görüşü, insanlık tarihinde nadiren ifade edilmiştir. Bugün, bu görüş, adeta tamamen yok olmuştur. Oysa, en iyi gençler, -değişik derecelerdeki heyecan, özlem, tutku ve kafa karışıklığından doğan sancılarla da olsa- hayata insana taparak başlarlar. Çoğu için, bu henüz farkında bile olunmayan bir duygudur. O gençler; bu duyguyu, etraflarındaki insanların çoğunun tapınmaya layık olmamasından kaynaklanan hafif bir acı ile birlikte, ifade edilmesi gayri-mümkün bir mutluluktan oluşan, sisli, belli-belirsiz, tanımsız bir duygu halinde yaşarlar. Bu, muazzam beklentileri olan bir duygudur; insanın kendi hayatının önemli olduğu; büyük başarıların insan kapasitesi dahilinde olduğu; ileride insanı bekleyen büyük şeyler olduğu duygusudur.
Hayata teslimiyetle başlamak, kendi suratına tükürüp, mevcudiyeti lanetlemekle başlamak, insanın tabiatında -hiçbir canlının tabiatında- mevcut bir hal değildir; böyle bir hale girmek, -hızı, insandan insana değişen- bir yozlaştırma süreci gerektirir. Kimi, ilk baskıda teslim olur; kimi kendini satar; kimi, enerjisini, algılayamayacağı kadar küçük derecelerde eksiltip, -ne zaman ve nasıl olduğunu hiç bilmeden- bütün ateşini yitirir. Sonra, bunların hepsi; kendilerine; olgunlaşmış olmak için zihinlerini terketmek gerektiğini; güven içinde olmak için değerlerini terk etmek gerektiğini; pratik olmak için kendine-saygı-ve-güven erdemini kaybetmek gerektiğini; telkin etmekte olan büyüklerinin teşkil ettiği engin bataklıkta kaybolur giderler.
Ama, bir kaç tanesi gayreti bırakmaz ve devam eder; o ateşe ihanet etmemek gerektiğini bilir; ona, şekil, amaç ve realite kazandırmayı öğrenir. Fakat, gelecekleri ne olursa olsun; hayatlarının sabahındaki insanlar, insan tabiatı ve hayatın potansiyeli hakkında yüce bir görüş ararlar. Bu arayışa başlayan gençlerden, insana uygun bir statünün ne olduğunu keşfedip, onu tam bir realite haline getirmeyi başaranlar, çoğu zaman her nesilde ancak birkaç kişi olur; geri kalanlar, bu statüye ihanet ederler. Ama, dünyayı harekete geçirenler, hayata anlamını kazandıranlar da, bu birkaç kişidir. İşte bu kişilere kahraman denir.
Bir kahraman karşımıza çeşitli kılıklarda çıkar. Geleneksel olarak askerlik sahası, kahramanların bol göründüğü bir saha olmuştur. Sahiden de insanın ölümle burun buruna olduğu anlarda gösterdiği karakter özellikleri, gerçek kahramanların teşhisini mümkün kılar.
Büyük İngiliz bahriyeli Amiral Nelson, Trafalgar deniz muharebesinde, adeta bir kahramanın yağlıboya tablosu gibidir: Etrafında sapır sapır vurulup ölen askerlerin varlığına rağmen orta yerde donanmasını yönetmekte, bir keskin nişancıya hedef olurum korkusu olmaksızın amiral üniformasını bütün şatafatıyla kuşanmış vaziyette, daha önceki muharebelerdeki kahramanlıkları sayesinde tek gözüyle ve tek koluyla; vurulduktan son nefesini verene kadar, göz yaşlarına boğulmakta olan ast amirallerinin kollarında savaş durumunu takip etmekte, emirler vermekte ve savaşın kazanılmakta olduğunu öğrendikten sonra sevgilisine son bir mesaj iletilmesini rica etmekte
Elbette, kahramanlık sadece askerlik alanında olmak zorunda değildir. Jonathan Swift'in dediği gibi:
Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
Appears a hero in our eyes.
(Her kim iyi dediğimiz şeyde eder temayüz,
Onu bir kahraman diye görür gözümüz.)
Kahramanların yaptıklarını küçümseyenlere en güzel cevabı da Nietzsche vermiş:
Here is a hero who did nothing but shake the tree when the fruit was ripe.
Do you think that was a small thing to do?
Well, just look at the tree he shook.
(Yaptığı tek şey, meyve olgunlaştığında, ağacı sallamak oldu.
O, işte böyle bir kahramandı, bakın!
Bundan kolay, ne var ki? diyecekseniz;
O zaman, salladığı şu ağaca bir göz atın.)
Bir Norveç atasözünü kabul ederseniz, herkesin kahraman olma şansı vardır:
A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.
(Kahraman bir dakika daha fazla dayanmasını bilen insandır.)
Ama kastınız tarihi boyutlarda bir kahramanlıksa, R.G. Ingersol's konuşmasıdaki kahramanlıktan bahsediyorsunuzdur:
When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death -this is heroism.
(Her ne zaman irade korkuya meydan okursa, görev kaderin suratına eldivenini çarparsa, şeref ölümle uzlaşmayı reddederse -işte bu an kahramanlıktır.)
Kahramanlığın psikolojik özü, üç kudretin ortaklığıdır: sağlam bir zihin, cesur bir yürek ve kuvvetli bir irade. Bu ortaklığın feth edemeyeceği bir dünya yoktur.
İşte bu anlayışlarla; ben, mevcudiyetimi borçlu olduğum kahramanlarımı seçtim. Ancak akıllı bir hayvan olarak tarif edilen insanın temel karakteristiği, zihin olduğundan, bu alanda en büyük işi başarmış olduğuna inandığım Eski Yunanlı filozof Aristo, en büyük kahramanımdır -ki bu, O'nu yaşamış olan en büyük insan olarak görmem anlamına gelmektedir. Mantık Biliminin ve akıl yürütme sanatının kurucusunu böyle görmemde bir abartı bulunmamalı...
Kendi zihni mevcudiyetimin şu anda bulunduğu mutlu konumda olmasını mümkün kılan bir Türkiyeyi kurduğu için, ikinci kahramanım Mustafa Kemal Atatürktür.
Bu sitenin ana sayfasında, bu iki kahraman dışında, Amerikalı filozof ve devlet adamı Thomas Jefferson, Rus-Amerikalı filozof-romancı Ayn Rand, Avusturyalı besteci Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, İngiliz bilimadamı Isaac Newtonun portreleri yer almakta. Bunlar benim şahsi önceliklerim.
Bunların ötesinde; başta her normal anne-baba olmak üzere, her bireyin hayatı boyunca karşısına çıkacak, insani çabanın her alanında varlık gösteren, daha alt dereceli kahramanları hatırlamak gerekir. Bu kahraman, bazen bir hademe olarak karşımıza çıkar, bazen bir doktor, öğretmen, vs.
Ancak; insanlık tarihinde sayıları sadece yüzler mertebesinde ifade edilebilecek öyle kahramanlar vardır ki; felsefede, bilimde, sanatta, siyasette yaptıklarıyla insanın yücelmesi mücadelesine tarihi boyutlarda katkıda bulunmuşlardır. Bunlardan, portrelerini ilk sayfada görmüş bulunduğunuz bazılarını, bu sitede kısaca tanıtmağa çalışacağım.
Bir kahramanı tanımanın en iyi yollarından biri, onun kendi sözlerini dinlemektir.
Mozartın sözleri müziğidir ve şu anda kaç milyon insanın onu dinlediğini tahmin etmek imkansız.
Newtonun sözleri, fizik kanunları olarak hepimize dinletildi.
Jefferson'un, Amerikan Bağımsızlık Bildirgesinde yer alan, "Şu gerçekleri aşikar addederiz: Bütün insanlar eşit yaratılmışlardır; Yaratıcıları tarafından, geri alınmaz haklarla donatılmışlardır; bu haklar arasında Hayat, Özgürlük ve Mutluluğu-kendi-başına-arama hakkı vardır ..." sözleri Anayasalarına temel teşkil etmiş ve tarihin en eski Modern Demokrasisinin kurulmasına ve bugüne kadar hayatta kalmasına sebep olmuştur.
Ayn Rand romanları, 1930lardan beri her yıl best-seller ölçülerinde satılmakta. Telif haklarının tutulduğu Library of Congressin 1990lardaki bir anketine göre, Amerikan halkını İncilden sonra en çok etkilemiş olan kitap, Ayn Randın Atlas Shrugged adlı romanı.
Atatürkün sözleri, ülkenin doğru olarak nitelenebilecek her kurumunun ruhuna, uygar olan hepimizin kişiliğine işlenmiş durumda.
Aristo, Encyclopedia Brittanicada adı en çok geçen filozof. Gerçekten de sanattan, bilime, siyasetten, mantık bilimine, entellektüel uğraşın hiç bir alanı yoktur ki, Aristonun ışığı bir deniz feneri gibi yol göstermesin. O yüzden, O'nu "Filozoflar Filozofu" olarak niteleyen büyük İslam Filozoflarından -Farabi, İbni Sina, İbni Rüşd, Aristo'cu olarak anılırlar- "Aristo'ya kıyasla, benim çağımın entellektüel kahramanları, basit birer mektep çocuğu gibi kalırlar" diyen Darwin'e kadar tarihteki çoğu parlak düşünür, onun eşsiz yerini teslim etmişlerdir.
Gelin bazılarına birlikte göz atalım:
Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.
All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.
We make war that we may live in peace.
To the query, What is a friend?" his reply was "A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
Wit is cultured insolence.
Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody's power - that is not easy.
It is easy to fly into a passion - anybody can do that - but to be angry with the right person to the right extent and at the right time and with the right object and in the right way - that is not easy, and it is not everyone who can do it.
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, desire.
In the arena of human life the honours and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.
The quality of life is determined by its activities.
He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.
It concerns us to know the purposes we seek in life, for then, like archers aiming at a definate mark, we shall be more likely to attain what we want.
I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Education is the best provision for old age.
Man is by nature a political animal.
There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.
Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.
He who hath many friends hath none.
No one loves the man whom he fears.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.
Wicked men obey for fear, but the good for love.
He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible.
It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.
Happiness is a sort of action.
Hope is a waking dream.
We give up leisure in order that we may have leisure, just as we go to war in order that we may have peace.
The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.
They [Young People] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things -- and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning -- all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything -- they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.
...happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it...
Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.
One swallow does not make a spring.
Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.
The law is reason free from passion.
The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.
For as the interposition of a rivulet, however small, will occasion the line of the phalanx to fluctuate, so any trifling disagreement will be the cause of seditions; but they will not so soon flow from anything else as from the disagreement between virtue and vice, and next to that between poverty and riches.
What the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions.
Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.
Now that practical skills have developed enough to provide adequately for material needs, one of these sciences which are not devoted to utilitarian ends [mathematics] has been able to arise in Egypt, the priestly caste there having the leisure necessary for disinterested research.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
The body is most fully developed [at] from thirty to thirty-five years of age, the mind at about forty-nine.
Hippocrates is an excellent geometer but a complete fool in everyday affairs.
Obstinate people can be divided into the opinionated, the ignorant, and the boorish.
A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
It is more difficult to organize a peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not organized.
The Middle Ages were an era of mysticism, ruled by blind faith and blind obedience to the dogma that faith is superior to reason. The Renaissance was specifically the rebirth of reason, the liberation of man's mind, the triumph of rationality over mysticism - a faltering, incomplete, but impassioned triumph that led to the birth of science, of individualism, of freedom.
Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may only resort to force only against those who start the use of force.
Poverty is not a mortgage on the labor of others - misfortune is not a
mortgage on achievement - failure is not a mortgage on success - suffering is not a claim check, and its relief is not the goal of existence - man is not a sacrificial animal on anyone's altar nor for anyone's cause - life is not one huge hospital.
Neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive by any random means, as a parasite, a moocher or a looter, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment - so he is free to seek his happiness in any irrational fraud, any whim, any delusion, any mindless escape from reality, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the moment nor to escape the consequences.
Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but by the
government: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people's savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments.
When the common good of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals.
The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value. Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice - which means: self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction - which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.
1. In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.
2. In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.
3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.
Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.
Wealth is the product of a man's ability to think.
A man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; a man who respects it has earned it.
In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.
To the extent that a man is guided by his rational judgment, he acts in
accordance with the requirements of his nature and, to that extent, succeeds in achieving a human form of survival and well-being; to the extent that he acts irrationally, he acts as his own destroyer.
Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking...
What objectivity and the study of philosophy requires is not an 'open mind,' but an active mind - a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them criticially.
A "whim" is a desire experienced by a person who does not know and does not care to discover its cause.
Joy is the aim and core of existence.
Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.
Our greatest moments are personal.
The man who lives to serve others it the slave.
Every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought.
Man's first duty is to himself.
The county of the greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom was based on a man's right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness, not anyone else's.
The person who loves everybody is a true hater of mankind.
The two worst things a person can do: To stand still or to move aimlessly.
There's no such thing as a lousy job; only lousy men who don't care to do it.
I have never felt guilty of my ability. I have never felt guilty of my mind. I have never felt guilty of being a man. I accept no unearned guilt.
The only moral commandment: Thou shalt think.
Happiness is the goal and reward of life.
There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.
The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money." No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.
To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality.
Thinking men cannot be ruled.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
The action required to sustain human life is primarily intellectual: everything man needs has to be discovered by his mind and produced by his effort.
The moral cannibalism of all hedonist and altruist doctrines lies in the premise that the happiness of one man necessitates the injury of another.
Unjust laws have to be fought ideologically; they cannot be fought or corrected by means of mere disobedience and futile martyrdom.
The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree...
When personal judgement is inoperative (or forbidden), men's first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
A crime is the violation of the right(s) of other men by force (or fraud). It is only the initiation of physical force against others- i.e., the recourse to violence- that can be classified as a crime in a free society (as distinguished from a civil wrong). Ideas, in a free society, are not a crime- and neither can they serve as the justification of a crime.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by
Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society- the
symbol of America.
There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
It rests not with ourselves alone to enjoy in peace and concord the blessings of self-government, so long denied to mankind: to show by example the sufficiency of human reason for the care of human affairs and that the will of the majority, the Natural law of every society, is the only sure guardian of the rights of man.
No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that men can be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effective hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.
Were it left for me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Enlighten people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence
Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook.
Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Information is the currency of democracy.
If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be...if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.
Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.
It is as useless to argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.
When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.
Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded faith.
I believe that justice is instinct and innate, the moral sense is as much a part of our constitution as the threat of feeling, seeing and hearing.
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.
No instance exists of a person's writing two language perfectly. That will always appear to be his native language which was most familiar to him in his youth.
Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
I never told my religion nor scrutinize that of another. I never attempted to make a convert nor wished to change another's creed. I have judged of others' religion by their lives, for it is from our lives and not from our words that our religion must be read. By the same test must the world judge me.
I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.
The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Reason and free inquiry are the only effective agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free inquiry been indulged at the era of the Reformation, the corruption's of Christianity could not have been purged away.
Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
The people cannot be all, and always, well-informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several States, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors; that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on, if submitted to them; that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion; of the second, trial by jury, habeas corpus laws, free presses.
It is a principle that the right to a thing gives a right to the means without which it could not be used, that is to say, that the means follow their end.
It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.
That liberty [is pure] which is to go to all, and not to the few or the rich alone.
I know my own principles to be pure and therefore am not ashamed of them. On the contrary, I wish them known and therefore willingly express them to everyone. They are the same I have acted on from the year 1775 to this day, and are the same, I am sure, with those of the great body of the American people.
A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.
It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests.
But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State.
Laws abridging the natural right of the citizen should be restrained by rigorous constructions within their narrowest limits.
In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose.
Instead of that liberty which takes root and growth in the progress of reason, if recovered by mere force or accident, it becomes with an unprepared people a tyranny still of the many, the few, or the one.
Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.
But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up... The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems*, invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object...*eg. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, etc.
You seem...to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.
It is not to be understood that I am with him (Jesus Christ) in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentence toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore him to the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.
The office of reformer of the superstitions of a nation, is ever more dangerous. Jesus had to work on the perilous confines of reason and religion; and a step to the right or left might place him within the grasp of the priests of the superstition, a bloodthirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore.
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise that control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but the people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take power from them, but to inform them by education.
Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church ... made of Christendom a slaughter-house.
Man [is] a rational animal, endowed by nature with rights and with an innate sense of justice.
The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
On every question of construction [of the Constitution], let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
Nothing... is unchangeable but the inherent and inalienable rights of man.
Honesty is the 1st chapter in the book of wisdom.
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or change its republican form, let them stand as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us.
I never submitted the whole system of my opinion to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens... are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion.... No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism.
Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate that these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
This is the fourth?
- Thomas Jefferson's son kelimeri,
(Bağımsızlık Bilidirisinin günü olan 4 Temmuzda ölmüştü.)
Mezar taşına yazılmasını istediği ibare:
Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and father of the University of Virginia."