„Happiness and Misery must inevitably increase with increasing Power and Knowledge“

Letter to Lewis Campbell (9 November 1851) in Ch. 6 : Undergraduate Life At Cambridge October 1850 to January 1854 — ÆT. 19-22, p. 158
Context: I believe, with the Westminster Divines and their predecessors ad Infinitum that "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever."
That for this end to every man has been given a progressively increasing power of communication with other creatures.
That with his powers his susceptibilities increase. That happiness is indissolubly connected with the full exercise of these powers in their intended direction. That Happiness and Misery must inevitably increase with increasing Power and Knowledge. That the translation from the one course to the other is essentially miraculous, while the progress is natural. But the subject is too high. I will not, however, stop short, but proceed to Intellectual Pursuits.

Last update Dec. 24, 2020. History
James Clerk Maxwell photo
James Clerk Maxwell27
Scottish physicist 1831 - 1879
Edit

Related quotes

Friedrich Nietzsche photo

„Happiness is the feeling that power increases - that resistance is being overcome.“

—  Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist 1844 - 1900

Source: The Anti-Christ

Nicolaas Bloembergen photo

„Increased knowledge clearly implies increased responsibility.“

—  Nicolaas Bloembergen Dutch-born American physicist 1920 - 2017

Nobel Prize Autobiography, from Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1980, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, (Nobel Foundation), Stockholm (1981).

Anne Brontë photo

„Increase of love brings increase of happiness, when it is mutual, and pure as that will be.“

—  Anne Brontë, book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Source: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), Ch. XLV : Reconciliation; Helen to Gilbert

Sydney Smith photo

„Every increase of knowledge may possibly render depravity more depraved, as well as it may increase the strength of virtue. It is in itself only power; and its value depends on its application.“

—  Sydney Smith English writer and clergyman 1771 - 1845

Quote reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 364

Patrick Swift photo

„The ethics of art are terrifying because real art by increasing our knowledge of ourselves increases in exactly the same proportion the ethical commitment.“

—  Patrick Swift British artist 1927 - 1983

X magazine (1959-62)
Context: There is a sense, and a very exciting sense, in which art is moral. When Stendhal says a good picture is nothing but a construction in ethics, one recognises a truth about art which opens up vistas that are at the same time liberating and terrifying. The ethics of art are terrifying because real art by increasing our knowledge of ourselves increases in exactly the same proportion the ethical commitment.

„Knowledge facilitates comprehension and experience increases wisdom.“

—  Husayn ibn Ali The grandson of Muhammad and the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib 626 - 680

[Mizan al-Hikmah, Muhammadi Reishahri, Muhammad, Dar al-Hadith, 2010, 2, Qum, 186]
Regarding Wisdom

Peter F. Drucker photo
John F. Kennedy photo

„The greater our knowledge increases the greater our ignorance unfolds.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963

1962, Rice University speech

Laurence Sterne photo
Jiddu Krishnamurti photo

„Without love the acquisition of knowledge only increases confusion and leads to self-destruction.“

—  Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian spiritual philosopher 1895 - 1986

1950s, Education and the Significance of Life (1953)

Isaiah Berlin photo

„Knowledge increases autonomy both in the sense of Kant, and in that of Spinoza and his followers.“

—  Isaiah Berlin Russo-British Jewish social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas 1909 - 1997

Five Essays on Liberty (2002), From Hope and Fear Set Free (1964)
Context: Knowledge increases autonomy both in the sense of Kant, and in that of Spinoza and his followers. I should like to ask once more: is all liberty just that? The advance of knowledge stops men from wasting their resources upon delusive projects. It has stopped us from burning witches or flogging lunatics or predicting the future by listening to oracles or looking at the entrails of animals or the flight of birds. It may yet render many institutions and decisions of the present – legal, political, moral, social – obsolete, by showing them to be as cruel and stupid and incompatible with the pursuit of justice or reason or happiness or truth as we now think the burning of widows or eating the flesh of an enemy to acquire skills. If our powers of prediction, and so our knowledge of the future, become much greater, then, even if they are never complete, this may radically alter our view of what constitutes a person, an act, a choice; and eo ipso our language and our picture of the world. This may make our conduct more rational, perhaps more tolerant, charitable, civilised, it may improve it in many ways, but will it increase the area of free choice? For individuals or groups?

Nicholas of Cusa photo
Chinmayananda Saraswati photo

„The tragedy of human history is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.“

—  Chinmayananda Saraswati Indian spiritual teacher 1916 - 1993

in A Treasury Of Inspirational Thoughts http://books.google.co.in/books?id=rdHW86GkUrMC&pg=PA68, p. 58
Quotations from Gurudev’s teachings, Chinmya Mission Chicago

Roald Amundsen photo
Ellen G. White photo

„We must not think, "Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge." The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light.“

—  Ellen G. White American author and founder/leader of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church 1827 - 1915

The Review and Herald (27 March 1890); also in Counsels for Writers and Editors http://books.google.de/books?id=UEM4uBD04asC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Counsels+to+writers+and+editors&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false (1946), p. 33; also in Evangelism http://books.google.de/books?id=gsy20ga71LEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Ellen+Gould+Harmon+White+Evangelism&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false (1946), p. 296; also in 1888 - The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials (1987), Ch. 64, p. 547.

Louis Brandeis photo
Andy Andrews photo
Colin Wilson photo

„No artist can develop without increasing his self-knowledge; but self-knowledge supposes a certain preoccupation with the meaning of human life and the destiny of man.“

—  Colin Wilson author 1931 - 2013

Source: The Strength To Dream (1961), p. 197
Context: No artist can develop without increasing his self-knowledge; but self-knowledge supposes a certain preoccupation with the meaning of human life and the destiny of man. A definite set of beliefs — Methodist Christianity, for example — may only be a hindrance to development; but it is not more so than Beckett's refusal to think at all. Shaw says somewhere that all intelligent men must be preoccupied with either religion, politics, or sex. (He seems to attribute T. E. Lawrence's tragedy to his refusal to come to grips with any of them.) It is hard to see how an artist could hope to achieve any degree of self-knowledge without being deeply concerned with at least one of the three.

Related topics