179. "What most human beings really want to attain is not knowledge, but certainty. Gaining real knowledge requires taking risks and keeping the mind open--but most people prefer to be reassured rather than to learn the complex and often unsettling truth about anything."
1. Only after we have gained real knowledge can we be competent for a better comprehension of the world.
2. People’s unremitting pursuit of knowledge is not for the sake of knowledge, but largely for the sake of their settled life goals and acquiring a degree of certainty about their goals.
180. "Many problems of modern society cannot be solved by laws and the legal system because moral behavior cannot be legislated."
I agree with this assertion insofar as it relates to constraints on certain personal freedoms. However, when it comes to the conduct of business, I think that moral behavior not only can but must be legislated for the purpose of alleviating societal problems.
1. Morality laws that impinge upon freedom of choice about our personal lives—to control what we do with and to ourselves—simply do not work in a democratic society.
2. Morality laws impinging on personal freedoms are not made any more useful or effective by purporting to serve the greater good of society, because on balance their costs far outweigh their benefits.
3. In sharp contrast to personal behavior, the behavior of businesses can and must be controlled through legislation.
181. "The way students and scholars interpret the materials they work with in their academic fields is more a matter of personality than of training. Different interpretations come about when people with different personalities look at exactly the same objects, facts, data, or events and see different things."
Disagree: The key factor in their interpretation is a person’s training and educational background, rather than personality.
1. Assuming that by personality the speaker embraces such personal attributes as individual temperament, disposition and general mood, and outlook, it seems to me that personality has little bearing on how students and scholars interpret the materials with which they work.
2. In sharp contrast, one’s educational background and training can serve as a strong influence on how one interprets historical events involving human affairs, statistical data, and especially art.
3. Educational training and background also affects how students and scholars interpret seemingly objective statistical data.
4. Finally, when it comes to how students and scholars interpret art, training and educational background play an especially significant role.
183. "As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more complex and more mysterious."
As our knowledge of the world accumulates, we arrive at a higher stage of civilization although the world may appear more complex and more mysterious.
1. The world in the eyes of primitive tribes was much simpler and thus more “comprehensible” in a sense and certainly more backward.
2. If we compare the known part of the world to the space within a circle, the unknown part of the world around the circle grows as the circle of our knowledge expands.
3. There is no need to feel frustrated about the increasingly more complex and more mysterious world that we confront because our knowledge in total keeps growing and correspondingly we are becoming better equipped to cope with the problems that emerge.
200. "The most elusive knowledge is self-knowledge, and it is usually acquired through solitude, rather than through interaction with others."
Elusive: Abstruse, hard to comprehend
Self-knowledge: knowledge or understandings of one s own capabilities, character, feelings, or motivations
Solitude: alone, seclusion
Both solitude and interaction with others contributes to self-knowledge.
1. To lead a happy life, the first thing is to know ourselves. “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
2. One way to know ourselves is to examine ourselves alone.
3. However, interaction with others can also help us see more clearly who we are.