The realistic goal to be attained through spiritual practice is not some permanent state of enlightenment that admits of no further efforts, but a capacity to be free in this moment, in the midst of whatever is happening. If you can do that, you have already solved most of the problems you will encounter in life.

The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still being besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who would have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible?

My choices matter-and there are paths towards making wiser ones-but I cannot choose what I choose. And if it ever appears that I do-for instance, after going back between two options-I do not choose to choose what I choose. There is a regress here that always ends in darkness.

If our well-being depends upon the interaction between events in our brains and events in the world, and there are better and worse ways to secure it, then some cultures will tend to produce lives that are more worth living than others; some political persuasions will be more enlightened than others; and some world views will be mistaken in ways that cause needless human misery.

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