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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Five greatest ideas for truth

Idea 22: The love of truth

The faintest of all human passions is the love of truth.

A.E. Houseman, English poet

The University of Oxford once saw fit to bestow on me a higher degree. In the company of a gowned throng I attended the Sheldonian Theatre to receive it. During the long ceremony my eyes wandered up to the allegorical painting on the ceiling. Done by King Charles II’s court painter Robert Streater, it depicts Truth descending on the Arts and Sciences to expel ignorance from the university.

It is a noble vision and one that has inspired countless great minds in arts and sciences down the centuries. Take, for example, Yaq’qub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi, one of the great polymaths of Islam’s medieval ‘golden age’. ...

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