Quotations of Wisdom

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Mario Cuomo

Poll watching politicians respond with Pavlovian sureness. The touch every button, satisfy every rabid carving with swift passage of draconian and regressive measures. They serve up a binge of new death penalty statutes as though there had suddenly been discovered proof that the death penalty can save lives. [Q1822]


Keep a watch also on the faults of the patients, which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed. [Q1030]

George Canning

I can prove anything by statistics except the truth. [Q363]

Adlai Stevenson II

Only men who confuse themselves with God would dare to pretend in this anguished and bloody era that they know the exact road to the Promised Land. [Q1856]

Sebastien Paquet

I learned from physics that it is often best not to rush in to solve a problem. The time you invest in really understanding a problem is typically given to you back several-fold: - It simplifies the problem at hand; - It creates new learning in your mind, which will make subsequent similar problems easier to tackle. Second, computer science taught me that there are many ways to skin a cat. Programming is essentially a communication challenge. It is about clarifying initially fuzzy concepts and relations and representing them in code. The way you do this determines how much or how little trouble you're setting yourself up for — From his blog What Physics and Computer Science Taught Me about Thinking [Q292]

Buckminster Fuller

Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable. [Q110]

Pete Seeger

I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. [Q347]

Wendell Berry

Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. [Q1326]

Václav Havel

The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning - in other words, of absurdity - the more energetically meaning is sought. [Q1753]

Alexis de Tocqueville

Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves. [Q966]

Albert Einstein

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it. [Q399]


All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue. [Q873]


Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government. [Q839]

Antonio Damasio

We all woke up this morning and we had with it the amazing return of our conscious mind. We recovered minds with a complete sense of self and a complete sense of our own existence — yet we hardly ever pause to consider this wonder. [Q1979]

Peter the Hermit

The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. — A.D. 1274 [Q1387]

Robin Williams

The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and yelling, 'You want a piece of me?' [Q1382]

Nikola Tesla

What has the future in store for this strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet Immortal, with his powers fearful and Divine? What magic will be wrought by him in the end? What is to be his greatest deed, his crowning achievement? [Q1684]

Charles Lindbergh

All mentally well-balanced persons know that we are not governed by the true principals of social justice when we make the main aim of our social existence the gaining of money. [Q1940]

Albert Schweitzer

To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic. [Q69]

Meister Eckhart

God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk. [Q1626]

Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu

If triangles made a god they would give him three sides. [Q1527]

Julius Rosenberg

I feel that the majority of people should decide for themselves what kind of government they want. [Q1545]

Abraham Lincoln

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? [Q1295]

Thomas Jefferson

The object [of my education bill was] to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind which in proportion to our population shall be the double or treble of what it is in most countries. [Q530]

Gautama Buddha

However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? [Q3]

Alan Alda

Flatow: What was it like playing Richard Feynman? Alda: It was just great, because you couldn't get to the bottom of who he was. He is so many people in one. A friend of mine who is a mathematician, Steve Shrogets, said the central image for him is his idea that a particle takes every possible path, and then most of them cancel themselves out except for the path you observe. — From Science Friday, March 23, 2012 [Q1920]


Faced with two evils, must not every man choose? [Q138]

Saul Alinsky

Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life. [Q989]

Richard Bach

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. [Q469]


Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them. [Q840]

Mohandas Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. [Q554]


I could not say what I did not see. — "Kung Fu" Empty Pages of a Dead Book 1973 Season 2, Episode 13 [Q615]

Michael Morpurgo

It is really important that focusing on things such as spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting doesn't inhibit the creative flow. When I was at school there was a huge focus on copying and testing and it put me off words and stories for years. [Q2083]

Óscar Romero

I have often been threatened with death. If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. If the threats come to be fulfilled, from this moment I offer my blood to God for the redemption and resurrection of El Salvador. Let my blood be a seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality. [Q1073]

Edward de Bono

an intelligent person may use his or her thinking simply to defend a point of view. The more skilled the defense the less does that person ever see a need to explore the subject, listen to others or generate alternatives. This is poor thinking. (Edward de Bono, I am right, you are wrong, page 19) [Q1996]

Thomas Paine

When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. [Q280]

Richard M Nixon

You've got to learn to survive a defeat. That's when you develop character. [Q310]

Edward Teller

The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler. [Q739]

Ann Landers

Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good. [Q448]

Daniela Schiller

If you want to keep a memory as is, you carve it into a story. It’s not only keeping the content, it’s keeping the feeling alive. The best part is, you’re not the only one remembering it. [Q2040]

Carl Sagan

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits? [Q222]

Jonas Salk

What is … important is that we — number one: Learn to live with each other. Number two: try to bring out the best in each other. The best from the best, and the best from those who, perhaps, might not have the same endowment. And so this bespeaks an entirely different philosophy — a different way of life — a different kind of relationship — where the object is not to put down the other, but to raise up the other. [Q488]

John Mayer

Ladies, if you want to know the way to my heart... good spelling and good grammar, good punctuation, capitalize only where you are supposed to capitalize, it's done. [Q2077]


The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes. [Q861]


Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. [Q63]

Thomas Paine

Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. [Q271]

Buckminster Fuller

The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe. — The Wellspring of Reality [Q180]

William Hall

We go on and on about our differences. But, you know, our differences are less important than our similarities. People have a lot in common with one another, whether they see that or not. [Q1204]

Mohandas Gandhi

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. [Q556]


After this event there was contention for a long time between the upper classes and the populace. Not only was the constitution at this time oligarchical in every respect, but the poorer classes, men, women, and children, were the serfs of the rich. They were known as Pelatae and also as Hectemori, because they cultivated the lands of the rich at the rent thus indicated. The whole country was in the hands of a few persons, and if the tenants failed to pay their rent they were liable to be haled into slavery, and their children with them. All loans secured upon the debtor's person, a custom which prevailed until the time of Solon, who was the first to appear as the champion of the people. But the hardest and bitterest part of the constitution in the eyes of the masses was their state of serfdom. Not but what they were also discontented with every other feature of their lot; for, to speak generally, they had no part nor share in anything. — The Athenian Constitution — Section 1 Part 2 [Q1620]

Price David

Our country's political discourse and debate are enriched by discussions of the political implications of our faith traditions, whether they are taking place in our communities, at our dinner tables, or in our places of worship. [Q1377]

Abraham Lincoln

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. [Q490]

Isaac Newton

If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought. [Q601]

Carl Sagan

Science and learning in general would preserve the privileged few, the vast population of the city had not the vaguest notion of the great discoveries being made within these walls ... The discovery in mechanics, say, or steam technology, many were applied to the perfection of weapons, to the encouragement of superstition, to the amusement of kings. Scientist never seemed to grasp the enormous potential of machines to free people from arduous and repetitive labor. The great intellectual achievements of antiquity had few practical applications. Science never captured the imagination of the multitude. There was no counter balance to stagnation, pessimism, the most abject surrender to mysticism. So when, at long last the mob came to burn the place down, there was noone to stop them. — Cosmos - (The fall of the of the great library of Alexandria) [Q1233]

Dar Williams

And where does magic come from? I think that magic's in the learning. [Q1958]

Václav Havel

My dear fellow citizens, For forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations on the same theme: how our country was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us. I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you. [Q1784]

René Descartes

The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues. [Q1122]

Paul Berg

With time, many of the facts I learned were forgotten but I never lost the excitement of discovery. [Q1882]

Henry Ford (Attributed To)

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. [Q1669]

Comte de Lautréamont

Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense! [Q260]

René Descartes

One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another. [Q1120]

Carl Sagan

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. [Q225]

Edward Levi

The concept of reason itself appears as an artificial attempt to separate intellectual powers from the frustrations, emotions, and accidents which cause events; the concept of reason is viewed as facade to prevent change. [Q212]

John Searle

Where questions of style and exposition are concerned I try to follow a simple maxim: if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself. [Q1187]

Meister Eckhart

Words derive their power from the original word. [Q1639]

Elbert Hubbart

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. [Q1383]

Steve Nash

I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person's life is the affect they have on others. [Q441]

René Descartes

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt. [Q1121]

The Holy Bible

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? — James 2:14-20 [Q1612]

Marshall McLuhan

The scientist rigorously defends his right to be ignorant of almost everything except his specialty. [Q1483]

Ward Cunningham

If you write a lot of programs, and you’re used to squeezing them all the time, you find that it’s easy to write a program that’s simple. A lot of it is having a clear sense of what you want to say — writing the proof by choosing what to prove, and being clear about that. In programming, a lot of simplicity comes from knowing what matters and what doesn’t matter. [Q1003]


A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true. [Q759]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. [Q424]


We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another. [Q1567]

Václav Havel

We introduced a new model of behavior: don't get involved in diffuse general ideological polemics with the center, to whom numerous concrete causes are always being sacrificed; fight "only" for those concrete causes, and be prepared to fight for them unswervingly, to the end. In other words, don't get mixed up in backroom wheeling and dealing, but play an open game. [Q1775]

Contact the Movie

Because I can't. I... had an experience... I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever... — Ellie Arroway [Q1410]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. [Q1082]

Albert Einstein

One thing I have learned in a long life: All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have. [Q145]

Lloyd Bentsen

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy [Q1307]

Václav Havel

Many people hardly ever see a politician as a person anymore. Instead, a politician is a shadow they watch on television, not knowing whether he is speaking impromptu or reading a text written for him by anonymous advisers or experts from a screen hidden behind the cameras. Citizens no longer perceive their politician as a living human being, for they never have and will never see him that way. They see only his image, created for them by TV, radio and newspaper commentators. [Q1796]


They're gonna find you, just believe. You're not a person; you're a disease. — All These Lives [Q2071]

Václav Havel

There's always something suspect about an intellectual on the winning side. [Q1757]

Will Rogers

One Ad is worth more to a paper than forty Editorials. [Q1375]

Joseph Priestley

Will is nothing more than a particular case of the general doctrine of association of ideas, and therefore a perfectly mechanical thing. [Q1191]

Henry David Thoreau

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. [Q1313]


When, therefore, we accomplish an act of reminiscence, we pass through a certain series of precursive movements, until we arrive at a movement on which the one we are in quest of is habitually consequent. Hence, too, it is that we hunt through the mental train, excogitating from the present or some other, and from similar or contrary or coadjacent. Through this process reminiscence takes place. For the movements are, in these cases, sometimes at the same time, sometimes parts of the same whole, so that the subsequent movement is already more than half accomplished. [Q1440]

Thomas Paine

It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance. [Q267]

Marshall McLuhan

Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be. [Q1470]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. [Q409]


Death is not the worst that can happen to men. [Q877]

Peter Coyote

Everyone knows that our current system is kind of like legalized prostitution. The corporate sector completely controls the civic sector. [Q2044]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. [Q407]

Miles Davis

You can dominate a game if you dominate on the line... We're just going to have to go out there and work hard and blow people off the ball, and let our runners do what they do best. [Q2057]

Walter Cronkite

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine. [Q623]


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. [Q853]

Wendell Berry

When it becomes merely an intellectual "position" confronting what is not empirically known or knowable, then it becomes very quickly absurd, and also grossly desensitizing and false. [Q1331]

David Lehman

Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used. [Q547]

Gabrielle Gifford

My position ... is to listen to my constituents; it's to learn from the best information that's available; and then ultimately make sound, rational decisions that's going to be beneficial for the people of the eighth congressional district. That's my job. [Q1263]

Grover Cleveland

What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something? Trust the people, trust their good sense, their decency, their fortitude, their faith. Trust them with the facts. Trust them with the great decisions. ... What wins is more important than who wins. [Q1843]

Craig Calhoun

Science challenges authority, because knowledge is based on logic and evidence. We should not believe simply what we are taught, but should use evidence and argument. — Paraphrase from the book Classical Sociological Theory [Q1130]

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