Quotations of Wisdom

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William O. Douglas

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor. [Q998]

Jesse Jackson

In politics, an organized minority is a political majority. [Q1549]

Marie Curie

There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth. [Q331]

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]


All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire. [Q837]

Eoghan Harris

Factualism is fancy foreplay, it rarely penetrates the truth. Factualism is media masturbation. [Q140]

Octavio Paz

Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings. [Q2081]


Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil. [Q886]

Galileo Galilei

The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go. [Q941]

René Descartes

The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. [Q1123]

Ward Cunningham

In the months before I made wiki, we had been having an argument. I think Kent Beck and I were on one side. People who had a lot of faith in the prevailing dogma of software engineering were on the other side. We said, “Collective code ownership is good.” They said, “That’s ridiculous. You’ll never get responsibility. You’ll never get quality if you don’t have responsibility. And the only way you’ll get responsibility is ownership. You have to pin the bugs back on somebody if you want them to ever rise above producing bugs.” And I said, “Well that’s wrong.” [Q1011]

Russell Simmons

I'm not a politician. I only want to help relieve the suffering in communities, and I want to help people see their community in each other. [Q1310]

Albert Einstein

Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience. [Q493]

Scott Nesler

The best argument of an average individual is better than the average argument of the best op-ed journalist. [Q187]

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]

Joanna Macy

I'm not insisting that we be brimming with hope. It is ok not to be optimistic. Buddhist teaching says a feeling that you have to maintain hope can wear you out. The biggest gift that you can give is just to be absolutely present. Whether your worrying about being hopeful or hopeless, pessimistic or optimistic; who cares, the main thing is showing up. That you're here and finding ever more capacity to love this world, because it will not be able to be healed without that. That is what is going to unleash our intelligence and ingenuity. And our solidarity for healing the world. — Interview with Krista Tippett on Being (Episode - A Wild Love of the World - September 16, 2010) [Q1019]

Edward de Bono

For the first time in history we can now have an idea of how the brain is organized to give rise to mind. We may not know all the details, but we do know enough about the broad system behaviour to re-examine our traditional thinking habits and to be able to develop new ones. We can come to see how the thinking habits of the last Renaissance emphasized some of the worst habits of mind. We can come to see why the thinking and language systems we developed and now esteem so highly are good at logic but poor at perception. We can see how that failure to deal with perception gives rise to inadequacies and of our current thinking. We can see how these habits were responsible for much human misery in the past and why they are not adequate for the constructive steps that are necessary in the future. — Page 4, Chapter: Introduction: The New Renaissance - I Am Right You Are Wrong [Q1990]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. [Q961]

Albert Einstein

If I give you a pfennig, you will be one pfennig richer and I'll be one pfennig poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too. [Q120]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be 'consistent'. [Q1080]

Galileo Galilei

If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics. [Q936]

Thomas Jefferson

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. [Q542]

Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one. [Q1432]

Hideki Tōjō

I would point out that the cultural advance of these people has been suppressed in the past and continues to be suppressed in the present by policies designed to keep them in ignorance. [Q706]

Thomas Jefferson

The less wealthy people,... by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts in self-government; and all this would be effected without the violation of a single natural right of any one individual citizen. [Q533]

Contact the Movie

You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an "airplane," you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon, or atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I'm asking, is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history... of history. — Ellie Arroway [Q1409]

Wendell Berry

The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly. [Q1340]

David Schweickart

In Capitalist societies ordinary people are deemed competent enough to select their political leaders-but not their bosses. Contemporary capitalism celebrates democracy, yet denies us our democratic rights at precisely the point where they might be utilized most immediately and concretely: at the place where we spend most of the active and alert hours of our adult lives. [Q2070]

Jesus Christ

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone... [Q1226]

Bruce Schneier

It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state. [Q2043]

Cullen Hightower

The true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success . [Q460]

Wendell Berry

In the effort to tell a whole story, to see it whole and clear, I have had to imagine more than I have known. [Q1339]

David Hume

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. [Q1353]

Jesse Jackson

No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams. [Q1551]

Bob Hope

One political party can’t fool all of the people all of the time, that’s why we have two political parties. [Q573]


No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. [Q918]

Edgar Allan Poe

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? [Q2038]

Buckminster Fuller

Always go along with the truth as you know it. [Q134]

Margaret Mead

Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. [Q947]

Senator Paul Simon

A better-prepared workforce means higher productivity. Higher productivity results in a lower unit cost to manufacture an item. Lower costs increase the likelihood of successfully competing with products manufactured overseas. This leads to higher sales, which results in higher profits. Everyone wins-labor, management, stockholders, the government, and the dollar. [Q2059]

Mohandas Gandhi

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent. [Q561]

Marshall McLuhan

As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.' [Q1454]

J. Robert Oppenheimer

When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb. [Q323]

Carl Jung

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. [Q252]

René Descartes

Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it. [Q1113]

Jeremy Taylor

It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance, for it requires knowledge to perceive it; and, therefore, he that can perceive it hath it not. [Q718]

Clarence Darrow

Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. [Q1106]

Dar Williams

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

Margaret Mead

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place. [Q950]

Francis Bacon

Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. [Q1952]

Thomas Jefferson

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. [Q1661]

Galileo Galilei

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. [Q938]

Sargent Shriver

Respect for another man's opinion is worthy. It is the realization that any opinion is valuable, for it is the sign of a rational being. [Q289]

Clarence Darrow

Laws should be like clothes. They should be made to fit the people they serve. [Q1104]

David Foster Wallace

This is so American, man: either make something your God and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it. [Q985]

Woodrow Wilson

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. [Q497]

Albert Einstein

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. [Q24]

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]

Master Po

Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you. — Kung Fu Televison Series 1972 - Episode #6 [Q526]

Miles Davis

I know what I've done for music, but don't call me a legend. Just call me Miles Davis. [Q2058]

Wendell Berry

National defense through war always involves some degree of national defeat. [Q1336]

Brian David Josephson

Logical thinking is thinking based on propositions and on consideration of the truth or falsity of propositions. Its primary usefulness is in situations where facts can be relied on to remain facts — in other words, in circumstances where nothing really new or unexpected is likely to happen. — Prologue to Edward de Bono's I am Right You are Wrong [Q1988]

Thor Heyerdahl

I was in uniform for four years, and I know that heroism doesn't occur from taking orders, but rather from people who through their own willpower and strength are willing to sacrifice their lives for an idea. [Q1535]

Senator Paul Simon

With flawed understanding, I try to reach reality in religion. But I know my understanding is flawed, and that helps to avoid excessively dogmatic assertions. [Q1696]

John Paul Lederach

Using violent means to stop violence is like stomping on a dandelion after it's gone to seed. [Q597]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions. [Q1088]

Meister Eckhart

To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God. [Q1633]

Episode 109 Snap Judgement

Blind obedience to authority is critical because all of our training as children is in fact to be blindly obedient to authority. The problem is that not all authority deserves our respect. [Q1529]

David Hume

Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few. [Q1359]

Eugene McCarthy

One thing about a pig, he thinks he's warm if his nose is warm. I saw a bunch of pigs one time that had frozen together in a rosette, each one's nose tucked under the rump of the one in front. We have a lot of pigs in politics. [Q2029]

Robert W McChesney

The number one lobby that opposes campaign finance reform in the United States is the National Association of Broadcasters. [Q167]

Marshall McLuhan

Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort. [Q1485]

Wendell Berry

The logic of governmental efficiency, unchecked, runs straight on, not only to dictatorship, but also to torture, assassination, and other abominations. [Q1334]

Meister Eckhart

You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion. [Q1638]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men - and the fools know it. [Q1076]

Arthur Miller

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself. [Q1660]

Master Kan

Do not see yourself as the center of the universe wise and good and beautiful. Seek rather wisdom, goodness and beauty that you may honor them everywhere. — Kung Fu television series, 1972 [Q548]

Phil Jackson

Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength. [Q206]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science. [Q415]


There's a victory, and defeat; the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself. [Q905]

Marshall McLuhan

I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't believed it. [Q1460]

James Mill

Some ideas are by frequency and strength of association so closely combined that they cannot be separated; if one exists, the other exists along with it in spite of whatever effort we make to disjoin them [Q1443]

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. [Q662]

Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life. [Q436]

Kathleen Parker

Politics - Even when you win an argument based on half-truths, the people lose. [Q1665]

Thomas Szasz

If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. [Q1521]


There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good. [Q903]


The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life - knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live. [Q864]

Margaret Mead

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation. [Q954]


The beginning is the most important part of the work. [Q893]

Dante Alighieri

You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man's bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man's stairs. [Q1518]

Dalai Lama

Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. [Q691]

Václav Havel

The most important thing is that man should be the measure of all structures, including economic structures, and not that man be made to measure for those structures. [Q1772]

Michel de Montaigne

Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head. [Q1172]

Senator Paul Simon

One of the things I have learned in life is that violence breeds violence. Just as citizens should exercise self-restraint, so should government. Those who represent a threat to society should be jailed, but don't incarcerate our consciences with the death penalty. [Q1722]

Ramana Maharshi

The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress. [Q1041]

Elizabeth Wordsworth

If all good people were clever, and all clever people were good, the world would be nicer than ever, we thought that it possibly could. But somehow, 'tis seldom or never that the two hit off as they should; For the good are so harsh to the clever, the clever so rude to the good. [Q119]

Kurt Gödel

It is a mistake to argue rather than report. This is the same mistake the positivists make: to prove everything from nothing. A large part is not to prove but to call attention to certain immediately given but not provable facts. It is futile to try to prove what is given. [Q1964]

Albert Einstein

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. [Q396]

Henry David Thoreau

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. [Q146]

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