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Causes of this.       §67. I. Ignorance: He that judges without informing himself to
the utmost that he is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss.
II. Inadvertency: When a Man overlooks even that, which he does
know. This is an affected and present Ignorance, which misleads
our Judgments, as much as the other. Judging is, as it were, balan-
cing an account, and determining on which side the odds lies. If
therefore either side be hudled up in haste, and several of the Sums,
that should have gone into the reckoning, be overlook’d, and left
out, this Precipitancy causes as wrong a Judgment, as if it were a
perfect Ignorance. That which most commonly causes this, is the
prevalency of some present Pleasure or Pain, heightned by our
feeble passionate Nature, most strongly wrought on by what
is present. To check this Precipitancy, our Understanding and
Reason was given us, if we will make a right use of it, to search, and
see, and then judge thereupon. Without Liberty the Understanding
would be to no purpose: And without Understanding, Liberty (if
it could be) would signify nothing. If a Man sees, what would do
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him good or harm, what would make him happy or miserable,
without being able to move himself one step towards or from it,
what is he the better for seeing? And he that is at liberty to ramble
in perfect darkness, what is his liberty better than if he were driven
up and down, as a bubble by the force of the wind? The being
acted by a blind impulse from without, or from within, is little
odds. The first therefore and great use of Liberty, is to hinder blind
Precipitancy; the principal exercise of Freedom is to stand still,
open the eyes, look about, and take a view of the consequence of
what we are going to do, as much as the weight of the matter
requires. How much sloth and negligence, heat and passion, the
prevalency of fashion, or acquired indispositions, do severally
contribute on occasion, to these wrong Judgments, I shall not here
farther enquire. I shall only add one other false Judgment, which I
think necessary to mention, because perhaps it is little taken notice
of, though of great influence.
Locke Hum II, 21, §67, pp. 278-279