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Top 40 Enlightening Quotes by Sam Harris

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Top 30 Enlightening Quotes by Sam Harris

Samuel Harris – a major figure in the New Atheist movement – is an American philosopher with amazing books on philosophy, religion, and neuroscience. He is mainly known for criticizing religious beliefs. Although Harris is an atheist, I like him because he is against people or organizations who claim to know things they do not know. Besides, his philosophical ideas force me to reassess the validity of my beliefs.

Despite being an atheist, Harris believes traditional religious practices can improve your well-being.

I love noting down his ideas while listening to his speeches and interviews. Here are some of them.

  1. ‘You don’t get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don’t know.’
  2. ‘People have extraordinary experiences. And the problem with religions is that they extrapolate from these experiences and make grandiose claims about the nature of the universe.’
  3. ‘We are designed by the happenstance of evolution to function within a very narrow band of light intensities and physical parameters.’
  4. ‘The self is an illusion: the sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts.’
  5. ‘Your thoughts, intentions, and choices matter because whether they are a product of a brain or a soul, they are often the proximate cause of your actions.’
  6. ‘We are always solving a problem, and it’s possible to simply drop your problem, if only for a moment, and enjoy whatever is true of your life in the present.’
  7. Consciousness is the one thing in this universe that can’t be an illusion. It is the only thing that you can be absolutely sure exists at this moment.’
  8.  ‘Even if you live to be 100, there’s just not that many days in life. It is always now.’
  9. ‘One thing we can know with absolute certainty is that there are many things that the Bible’s writer didn’t know.’
  10. ‘The past is a memory. It’s a thought arising in the present. The future is merely anticipated: it is another thought arising now. What we truly have is this moment. We spend most of our lives forgetting this truth.’
  11. ‘We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment because we are continually hoping to become happy in the future, and the future never arrives.’
  12. ‘What matters is consciousness and its contents. Consciousness is everything. Our experience of the world, our experiences of those we care about is a matter of consciousness and its contents.
  13. ‘If you are constantly ruminating about what you just did, what you should have done, or what you would have done if you only had a chance, you will miss your life. You’ll fail to connect with it.’
  14. ‘I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know.’
  15. ‘Everything about your mind can be damaged by damaging the brain.’
  16. ‘It’s better to equip your child for the reality of this life, which is, death is a fact, and we don’t know what happens after death.’
  17. ‘I don’t know what I believe about death. And I don’t think it’s necessary to know in order to live as sanely and ethically and happily as possible.’
  18. ‘Confusion and suffering may be our birthright, but wisdom and happiness are available.’
  19. ‘If you’re feeling anxiety, there is actually a place within from which you can just feel it and be indifferent to it.’
  20. ‘If you are not thinking about all the reasons why you should be anxious, your anxiety will dissipate very, very quickly. This is true for anger and anything that is classically negative.’
  21. ‘If you are perpetually angry, confused and unloving, you will not enjoy anything in your life.’
  22. ‘Seeking, finding, maintaining, and safeguarding our well-being is the great project to which we are all devoted, whether or not we choose to think in these terms.’
  23. ‘As a matter of conscious experience, the reality of your life is always now.’
  24. I can say that the true goal of meditation is more profound than most people realize – and it does, in fact, encompass many of the experiences that traditional mystics claim for themselves.’
  25. ‘When my suffering becomes at all intense, it functions as a kind of mindfulness alarm.’
  26. ‘If you observe yourself closely, you’ll see that you spend a fair amount of energy trying not to die.’
  27.  ‘This is your life, the only one you’ve got, and you’ll never get this moment back again. And you don’t know how many more moments you have.’
  28. ‘Our pleasures are by their very nature fleeting.’
  29. ‘I have no doubt that certain people have improved their self-understanding and their ethical intuitions and even made genuine discoveries about the nature of subjectivity itself through traditional practices like meditation.’
  30. ‘It seems to me that intellectual honesty will always be more durable, and deeper, and easily spread than atheism.’
  31. ‘The God of Abraham never envisioned a time where human beings seized to keep slaves.’
  32. ‘Beliefs are machinery for guiding our behavior and emotion through time.’
  33. ‘Our own happiness requires that we extend the circle of our self-interest to others – to family, friends, and even to perfect strangers whose pleasures and pains matter to us.
  34. ‘There is nothing wrong with viewing meditation as the best way to reduce stress or to improve your performance.’
  35. ‘One thing to notice about mindfulness is that it’s just a clear and non-judgmental attention to the contents of consciousness.’
  36. ‘Anyone who wants to understand the world should open to new facts and new arguments, even on subjects where his or her views are very well established.’
  37. ‘And it is important to realize that our inability to answer a question says nothing about whether the question itself has an answer.’
  38. ‘I’m proof that if you don’t indoctrinate anyone into a belief in God, they will not acquire the belief in God.’
  39. ‘The truth is that atheists are free to admit that there is much about the universe that we don’t understand. It’s obvious we don’t understand the universe, but its even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Quran reflects our best understanding of it.’
  40. ‘There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing self-transcending love, ecstasy, or rapture or awe.’

I believe, through his ideas, Samuel Harris can encourage you to assess your beliefs and adopt a different perspective towards atheism. Thus, I encourage you to read his books if you are still hungry for his ideas.

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