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The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

By Sam Harris
Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape." Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible. Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.

Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
—Mahatma Gandhi.

Many people relax and sit down to watch the nightly news or their favorite sitcom and criticize the world and society.  The problem is that these people keep sitting.  The solution is not to sit, but to act.  Take control of your life and your purpose and begin to live it passionately.  There is within you a piece of the puzzle that will act as a catalyst to transform the world.  Don’t just sit back and wander along with society, get up and act, believe, demonstrate, and show the world the remarkable changes that one human being can create

Real Life Application
Contemplate the changes that you would like to see in this Universe.  Be sure not to allow the pessimism and negativity of your mind to disrupt your vision for a better world.  Look within and plan to make a small change within your being and believe that this change has the potential and energy to initiate transformation within humanity.  Each human being’s individual action effects the direction that the world takes.  Remember you are a powerful part of the cosmos.

Tip # 7  Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean.

When you’re knee-deep in stuff that you’ve said you’ll do but don’t really want to do, procrastination becomes your first line of defense. So, avoid saying what others want to hear just to appease them.

Don’t commit to doing a task if you don’t intend to do it. If you do commit, then later change your mind, take responsibility for the change and tell the person involved.

For example, you might say, “I know I told you I’d take care of it this week, but I didn’t get to it.”  You can then propose a revised deadline: for example, "I've fallen behind in our group project. How about changing our meeting time to Wednesday after I get a chance to catch up?"

Nothing else matters much — not wealth, nor learning, nor even health — without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living. This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all important faiths: that you should be able to believe in life.
—Harry Emerson Fosdick

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