Freedom of Expression is irrelevant without Freedom of Thought: Ayatollah Khamenei

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SHAFAQNA – In the absence of a free intellectual atmosphere, there can be no opportunity for growth. In the absence of such an atmosphere, there would be no room for thinking, knowledge and other prerequisites for human progress.

Human beings truly need to be able to think in a free atmosphere. Freedom of expression is a byproduct of freedom of thought. When there is freedom of thought, naturally there is freedom of expression as well. The main priority is freedom of thought and enabling human beings to think freely. In the absence of a free intellectual atmosphere, there can be no opportunity for growth. In the absence of such an atmosphere, there would be no room for thinking, knowledge and other prerequisites for human progress. All the progress that we have made in such fields as theology and philosophy has been achieved thanks to debates and discussions and thanks to the existence of conflicting ideas. The complaint that I have voiced against our cultural organizations is that they are not playing their role in intellectual battles in an appropriate way. Intellectual challenges are necessary, but we should not – as Sa’di puts it – “let the dog loose and tie up the stone.” We should not restrict promoters of truth and give a free rein to promoters of falsehood to do whatever they want with our young generation. No, let them say what they have to say and you too say what you have to say, and in this way, promote thinking in society. We have learnt through experience that whenever a truth is put forth in a sufficiently logical and eloquent way, no falsehood will be powerful enough to stand up against it and challenge it.

 Statements made during a meeting with President and cabinet members; August 30, 2005.

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