The opening paragraphs of Sakharov’s 
Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, 
and Intellectual Freedom:
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"The views of the author were formed in the milieu of the scientific and scientific-technological intelligentsia, which manifests much anxiety over the principles and specific aspects of foreign and domestic policy and over the future of mankind. This anxiety is nourished, in particular, by a realization that the scientific method of directing policy, the economy, arts, education and military affairs still has not become a reality. 

We regard as "scientific" a method based on deep analysis of facts, theories and views, presupposing unprejudiced, unfearing open discussions and conclusions. The complexity and diversity of all the phenomena of modern life, the great possibilities and dangers linked with the scientific-technical revolution and with a number of social tendencies, demand precisely such an approach, as has been acknowledged in a number of official statements. 

In this pamphlet, advanced for discussion by its readers, the author has set himself the goal to present, with the greatest conviction and frankness, two theses that are supported by many people in the world. These are: 

[1] The division of mankind threatens it with destruction... Only universal cooperation under conditions of intellectual freedom and the lofty moral ideals of socialism and labor, accompanied by the elimination of dogmatism and pressure of the concealed interests of ruling classes, will preserve civilization... 

[2] The second basic thesis is that intellectual freedom is essential to human society -- freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economics and culture." 

(from the New York Times, 22 July 1968) 
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Back to: Reflections on Progress, 
Peaceful Coexistence, 
and Intellectual Freedom (1968) 
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© 1998 - American Institute of Physics and Gennady Gorelik