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Sam Harris

Geburtstag: 9. April 1967
Andere Namen: سم هریس

Samuel Benjamin „Sam“ Harris ist ein US-amerikanischer Philosoph, Neurowissenschaftler, Schriftsteller und gefragter Debattenredner. Er ist besonders bekannt für seine These, dass Fragen der Ethik mit naturwissenschaftlichen Methoden untersucht werden können und sollten. Neben Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett und dem 2011 verstorbenen Christopher Hitchens gehört Harris zu den bekanntesten Vertretern des Neuen Atheismus.

Er erlangte einen Abschluss in Philosophie von der Stanford University und promovierte in Neurowissenschaft, wobei er unter anderem die neuronalen Grundlagen von Überzeugungen mithilfe funktioneller Magnetresonanztomographie untersuchte.Er schrieb 2004 das von den Terroranschlägen am 11. September 2001 inspirierte Buch The End of Faith und gewann damit 2005 den PEN-Award. Im Jahre 2006 veröffentlichte er Letter to a Christian Nation, mit dem er den Kritikern seines ersten Buches entgegentrat. Daneben schreibt er Artikel für die Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Times in London und The Boston Globe.Er ist der Sohn der Drehbuchautorin und Fernsehproduzentin Susan Harris.

Zitate Sam Harris

„Death is, in some ways, unacceptable.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: Death is, in some ways, unacceptable. It’s just an astonishing fact of our being here that we die. But I think worse than that is if we live long enough, we lose everyone we love in this world. I mean people die and disappear, and we’re left with this stark mystery: just the sheer not knowing of what happened to them. Sam Harris, Big Think Sam Harris On Death http://bigthink.com/ideas/3127 (4 July 2007)

„So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said: these are euphemisms… The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: "Religion" is a nearly useless term. It's a term like "sports". Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing. There are sports that are just synonymous with the risk of physical injury or even death … There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The claim that Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian. So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said: these are euphemisms... The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam. Sam Harris, Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMOxjHIt0U at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (November 10, 2010)

„Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: "Religion" is a nearly useless term. It's a term like "sports". Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing. There are sports that are just synonymous with the risk of physical injury or even death … There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The claim that Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian. So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said: these are euphemisms... The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam. Sam Harris, Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMOxjHIt0U at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (November 10, 2010)

„There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: "Religion" is a nearly useless term. It's a term like "sports". Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing. There are sports that are just synonymous with the risk of physical injury or even death … There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The claim that Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian. So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said: these are euphemisms... The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam. Sam Harris, Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMOxjHIt0U at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (November 10, 2010)

„I don’t know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: We just don’t teach people how to grieve. You know, religion is the epitome, the antithesis of teaching your children how to grieve. You tell your child that, “Grandma is in heaven”, and there’s nothing to be sad about. That’s religion. It would be better to equip your child for the reality of this life, which is, you know, we... death is a fact. And we don’t know what happens after death. And I’m not pretending to know that you get a dial tone after death. I don’t know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know. Now I think there are many reasons to be doubtful of naïve conceptions about the soul, and about this idea that you could just migrate to a better place after death. But I simply don’t know about what... 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. I don’t think you get... You don't get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don't know. Sam Harris, Big Think Sam Harris On Death http://bigthink.com/ideas/3127 (July 4, 2007)

„Most of us do our best not to think about death. But there’s always part of our minds that knows this can’t go on forever.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: Most of us do our best not to think about death. But there’s always part of our minds that knows this can’t go on forever. Part of us always knows that we’re just a doctor’s visit away, or a phone call away, from being starkly reminded with the fact of our own mortality, or of those closest to us. Now, I’m sure many of you in this room have experienced this in some form; you must know how uncanny it is to suddenly be thrown out of the normal course of your life and just be given the full time job of not dying, or of caring for someone who is... But the one thing people tend to realize at moments like this is that they wasted a lot of time, when life was normal. And it’s not just what they did with their time – it’s not just that they spent too much time working or compulsively checking email. It’s that they cared about the wrong things. They regret what they cared about. Their attention was bound up in petty concerns, year after year, when life was normal. This is a paradox of course, because we all know this epiphany is coming. Don’t you know this is coming? Don’t you know that there’s going to come a day when you’ll be sick, or someone close to you will die, and you will look back on the kinds of things that captured your attention, and you’ll think ‘What was I doing?’. You know this, and yet if you’re like most people, you’ll spend most of your time in life tacitly presuming you’ll live forever. Like, watching a bad movie for the fourth time, or bickering with your spouse. These things only make sense in light of eternity. There better be a heaven if we’re going to waste our time like this. Sam Harris, "Death and the Present Moment", speech at the Global Atheist Convention (April 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITTxTCz4Ums&t=17m52s

„These chemicals disclose layers of beauty that art is powerless to capture and for which the beauty of Nature herself is a mere simulacrum.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: I have visited both extremes on the psychedelic continuum. The positive experiences were more sublime than I could have ever imagined or than I can now faithfully recall. These chemicals disclose layers of beauty that art is powerless to capture and for which the beauty of Nature herself is a mere simulacrum. It is one thing to be awestruck by the sight of a giant redwood and to be amazed at the details of its history and underlying biology. It is quite another to spend an apparent eternity in egoless communion with it. Positive psychedelic experiences often reveal how wondrously at ease in the universe a human being can be—and for most of us, normal waking consciousness does not offer so much as a glimmer of these deeper possibilities... But as the peaks are high, the valleys are deep. My “bad trips” were, without question, the most harrowing hours I have ever suffered—and they make the notion of hell, as a metaphor if not a destination, seem perfectly apt. Sam Harris, Drugs and the Meaning of Life http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/drugs-and-the-meaning-of-life/ (5 July 2011)

„How difficult would it be to improve the Bible?“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: The truth is that religion, as we speak of it – Islam, Christianity, Judaism – is based on the claim that God dictates certain books. He doesn’t code software, he doesn’t produce films, he doesn’t score symphonies, he is an author. And this claim has achieved credibility because these books are deemed so profound they could not have possibly been written by human authors. Please consider for a moment how differently we treat scientific claims and texts and discoveries. Isaac Newton went into isolation for 18 months starting in the year 1665. When he came out of his solitude he had invented the calculus; he had discovered the laws of motion and universal gravitation; he had single-handedly created the field of optics. No one thinks this was anything but a man’s labor. And it took 200 hundred years of continuous ingenuity on the part of some of the smartest people who ever lived to substantially improve upon Newton’s work. How difficult would it be to improve the Bible? Anyone in this room could improve this supposedly inerrant text scientifically, historically, ethically, spiritually – in moments. If God loves us and wanted to guide us with a book of morality, it’s very strange to have given us a book that supports slavery, that demands that we murder people for imaginary crimes like witchcraft. The true basis for hope in our world is open-ended conversation, and religion has shattered our world into competing moral communities. What we have to convince ourselves of is – that love and curiosity is enough for us – and intellectual honesty is the guardian of that. Sam Harris, “Re-Evolution” Debate, 18/11/2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKWZ3a4XlQI&t=35s

„The illusion of free will… is itself an illusion.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: The illusion of free will... is itself an illusion. There is no illusion of free will. Thoughts and intentions simply arise. What else could they do? Now, some of you might think this sounds depressing, but it's actually incredibly freeing to see life this way. It does take something away from life: what it takes away from life is an egocentric view of life. We're not truly separate: we are linked to one another, we are linked to the world, we are linked to our past, and to history. And what we do actually matters because of that linkage, because of the permeability, because of the fact that we can't be the true locus of responsibility. That's what makes it all matter. Sam Harris at Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2012, Discussion on Free Will http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM3raA1EwrI.

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„You could be an unprecedented genius, you could look like George Clooney, you could have a billion dollars and you could have the social skills of Oprah and you are going nowhere in politics in this country, unless you believe in that sort of god.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: The God that our neighbors believe in is essentially an invisible person. He’s a creator deity, who created the universe to have a relationship with one species of primates – lucky us. And he’s got galaxy upon galaxy to attend to, but he’s especially concerned with what we do, and he’s especially concerned with what we do while naked. He almost certainly disapproves of homosexuality. And he’s created this cosmos as a vast laboratory in which to test our powers of credulity, and the test is this: can you believe in this God on bad evidence, which is to say, on faith? And if you can, you will win an eternity of happiness after you die. And it's precisely this sort of god and this sort of scheme that you must believe in if you're going to have any kind of future in politics in this country, no matter what your gifts. You could be an unprecedented genius, you could look like George Clooney, you could have a billion dollars and you could have the social skills of Oprah and you are going nowhere in politics in this country, unless you believe in that sort of god. Sam Harris in debate on ABC Nightline (23 March 2010) "Does God Have a Future?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_kAk2Naz-A&t=1m25s

„The God that our neighbors believe in is essentially an invisible person. He’s a creator deity, who created the universe to have a relationship with one species of primates – lucky us.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: The God that our neighbors believe in is essentially an invisible person. He’s a creator deity, who created the universe to have a relationship with one species of primates – lucky us. And he’s got galaxy upon galaxy to attend to, but he’s especially concerned with what we do, and he’s especially concerned with what we do while naked. He almost certainly disapproves of homosexuality. And he’s created this cosmos as a vast laboratory in which to test our powers of credulity, and the test is this: can you believe in this God on bad evidence, which is to say, on faith? And if you can, you will win an eternity of happiness after you die. And it's precisely this sort of god and this sort of scheme that you must believe in if you're going to have any kind of future in politics in this country, no matter what your gifts. You could be an unprecedented genius, you could look like George Clooney, you could have a billion dollars and you could have the social skills of Oprah and you are going nowhere in politics in this country, unless you believe in that sort of god. Sam Harris in debate on ABC Nightline (23 March 2010) "Does God Have a Future?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_kAk2Naz-A&t=1m25s

„You don't get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don't know.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: We just don’t teach people how to grieve. You know, religion is the epitome, the antithesis of teaching your children how to grieve. You tell your child that, “Grandma is in heaven”, and there’s nothing to be sad about. That’s religion. It would be better to equip your child for the reality of this life, which is, you know, we... death is a fact. And we don’t know what happens after death. And I’m not pretending to know that you get a dial tone after death. I don’t know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know. Now I think there are many reasons to be doubtful of naïve conceptions about the soul, and about this idea that you could just migrate to a better place after death. But I simply don’t know about what... 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. I don’t think you get... You don't get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don't know. Sam Harris, Big Think Sam Harris On Death http://bigthink.com/ideas/3127 (July 4, 2007)

„Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: The problem with faith, is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason, why you do not have to give reasons, for what you believe. Sam Harris, "The View From The End Of The World" (9 December 2005)

„In a world that has long been terrorized by fratricidal Sky-God religions, the ascendance of Buddhism would surely be a welcome development.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: One could surely argue that the Buddhist tradition, taken as a whole, represents the richest source of contemplative wisdom that any civilization has produced. In a world that has long been terrorized by fratricidal Sky-God religions, the ascendance of Buddhism would surely be a welcome development.

„The principal tenet of Jainism is non-harming. Observant Jains will literally not harm a fly.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: The principal tenet of Jainism is non-harming. Observant Jains will literally not harm a fly. Fundamentalist Jainism and fundamentalist Islam do not have the same consequences, neither logically nor behaviorally. Q&A with Sam Harris (2005) http://www.samharris.org/press/Q&A-with-Sam-Harris.pdf

„People are literally dying over ancient literature.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: We have Christians against Muslims against Jews. They're making incompatible claims on real estate in the Middle East as though God were some kind of omniscient real estate broker parsing out parcels of land to his chosen flock. People are literally dying over ancient literature. Sam Harris. Harris, Sam, and Reza Aslan. 2007. “Religion Reason Debate, Jan 25 2007 | Video | C-SPAN.Org.” January 25. https://www.c-span.org/video/?196385-1/religion-reason-debate.

„If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion.“

—  Sam Harris
2000s, Context: If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. I think more people are dying as a result of our religious myths than as a result of any other ideology. I would not say that all human conflict is born of religion or religious differences, but for the human community to be fractured on the basis of religious doctrines that are fundamentally incompatible, in an age when nuclear weapons are proliferating, is a terrifying scenario. Sam Harris, in

„The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: "Religion" is a nearly useless term. It's a term like "sports". Now there are sports like Badminton and sports like Thai Boxing, and they have almost nothing in common apart from breathing. There are sports that are just synonymous with the risk of physical injury or even death … There is, I'm happy to say, a religion of peace in this world, but it's not Islam. The claim that Islam is a religion of peace that we hear ceaselessly reiterated is completely delusional. Now Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can't take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant... Needless to say they are vegetarian. So the problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent. The problem isn't fundamentalism. We often hear this said: these are euphemisms... The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism are the fundamentals of Islam. Sam Harris, Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMOxjHIt0U at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley (November 10, 2010)

„Your life doesn't get any better than your mind is: You might have wonderful friends, perfect health, a great career, and everything else you want, and you can still be miserable.“

—  Sam Harris
2010s, Context: Your life doesn't get any better than your mind is: You might have wonderful friends, perfect health, a great career, and everything else you want, and you can still be miserable. The converse is also true: There are people who basically have nothing—who live in circumstances that you and I would do more or less anything to avoid—who are happier than we tend to be because of the character of their minds. Unfortunately, one glimpse of this truth is never enough. We have to be continually reminded of it. Sam Harris, Taming the Mind http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/taming-the-mind (April 12, 2014)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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