The sleep of reason produces monsters: read more.

Francisco Goya’s c. 1799 etching is usually regarded as an expression of Enlightenment principles. The imagination, untempered by reason, runs amok, and produces monsters. Goya was a favourite artist of the late Christopher Hitchens, and this etching was reproduced in the hardback edition of his 2007 book god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Within the book itself, in a chapter focused on Eastern religions, Hitchens writes:

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos. “The sleep of reason,” it has been well said, “brings forth monsters.” The immortal Francisco Goya gave us an etching with this title in his series Los Caprichos, where a man in defenseless slumber is hag-ridden by bats, owls, and other haunters of the darkness. But an extraordinary number of people appear to believe that the mind, and the reasoning faculty—the only thing that divides us from our animal relatives—is something to be distrusted and even, as far as possible, dulled. The search for nirvana, and the dissolution of the intellect, goes on. And whenever it is tried, it produces a Kool-Aid effect in the real world.’

Another chapter of god Is Not Great was recently reproduced in the Freethinker. You can read Hitchens’s call for a new Enlightenment here.

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