Quotations of Wisdom

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Thomas Paine

To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not. [Q276]

Senator Paul Simon

In the Philippines, 80,000 woman are admitted to hospitals each year with complications from botched abortions. A physician in the Ivory Coast of Africa reported, "Forty percent of woman who come to Trecheville hospital come because of traditional or back-alley abortions. Between 16 and 18 percent of these woman die without leaving the hospital.".

Logic rarely prevails on these emotional issues. It is always easier to be strong and dogmatic if you stick to beliefs that are based on a selected slice of the evidence.

[Q1829]

David Hume

Eloquence, at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection, but addresses itself entirely to the desires and affections, captivating the willing hearers, and subduing their understanding. [Q1356]

Amanda Palmer

Everyones got to stop thinking there's an answer. The answer is there's an infinite number of answers. — The Dresdon Dolls [Q301]

Thor Heyerdahl

Surrounded by military airplanes and warships from the world's most civilized and developed nations, we have been denied permission by friendly governments, for reasons of security, to land anywhere, but in the tiny, and still neutral, Republic of Djibouti. [Q1540]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side. [Q410]

Marshall McLuhan

I don't necessarily agree with everything I say. [Q1459]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Meister Eckhart

The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake. [Q1631]

Plato

When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing more to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. [Q911]

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]

John Maynard Keynes

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking. [Q37]

Noam Chomsky

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. [Q157]

Henry David Thoreau

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all. [Q491]

Ward Cunningham

People can and do trust works produced by people they don’t know. The real world is still trying to figure out how Wikipedia works. A fantastic resource. Open source is produced by people that you can’t track down, but you can trust it in very deep ways. People can trust works by people they don’t know in this low communication cost environment. [Q1008]

Senator Paul Simon

There are times when decisions may be difficult and when there may be no reasons to take a position. But there are also times, like this one, when to be neutral in a fight between right and wrong is to be on the side of the wrong. — (In Reference to the mob murder of Elijia Lovejoy) [Q1892]

Theodore Roosevelt

Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures. [Q1285]

Margaret Mead

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. [Q1415]

Lucretius

It is great wealth to a soul to live frugally with a contented mind. [Q1560]

Plato

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. [Q889]

Oliver Goldsmith

Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain, With grammar, and nonsense, and learning, good liquor, I stoutly maintain, gives genius a better discerning. [Q2089]

Marshall McLuhan

A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion. [Q1444]

Scott Nesler

Sometimes we become so focused on the syntax of words that meaning is lost. Understanding is an iterative process often involving fuzzy logic. Don't let words get in the way of understanding. [Q400]

prot

Let me tell you something, Mark. You humans, most of you, subscribe to this policy of an eye for an eye, a life for a life, which is known throughout the universe for its ... stupidity. Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision. But nobody's paid much attention to them, not even your Buddhists and your Christians. [Q1224]

Theodore Roosevelt

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public. [Q1289]

Woodrow Wilson

Let me inside the government and I will tell you what is going on there. [Q2027]

Krista Tippett

Moses, Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi; These kind of people are geniuses of the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security, and joy of humanity than the discoverers of objective knowledge. — TED - Reconnecting with Compassion - Paraphrasing Albert Einstein. [Q1399]

The Jungle

After reading the Jungle, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered an investigation of the meat-packing industry. Meeting with Upton Sinclair Roosevelt told him that while he disapproved how the book preached socialism he agreed that "radical action must be taken to do away with the efforts of arrogant and selfish greed on the part of the capitalist." Roosevelt followed-up by passing the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. In his book, Sinclair illustrated how a novelist could help with social improvement. [Q1902]

Senator Paul Simon

Thoughtfully re-examining positions that often are based on emotion more than anything should be part of the search for truth. And careful analysis should include looking at the context and culture and times in which those who wrote ancient documents lived. [Q1691]

David Mitchell

Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. &mdash Cloud Atlas [Q2093]

Albert Einstein

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. [Q552]

Epicurus

I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know. [Q796]

Albert Einstein

It is a scale of proportions which makes the bad difficult and the good easy. [Q358]

Jimmy Wales

My original concept was to provide a free encyclopedia for every single person in the world. [Q217]

René Descartes

The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once. [Q1124]

Edward de Bono

The sheer ability of journalist to comprehend different fields is usually limited, so they have to fall back on three basics: the human angle; some gimmick aspect; attack. The prime purpose is not exposition of the subject but journalistic 'interest'. The ludecy is clear. Commercial democracy has its own ludecy. The larger the readership or the viewership the higher the advertising rates, so the search for the mass market is necessary. Clash and controversy are intrinsically more interesting than agreement, so disagreements have to be played up and emphasized. Scandals are fun, so personalities rate more than substance. — Page 266, Chapter titled, "Communication", I Am Right You are Wrong [Q2032]

Martin Luther King Jr.

This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of atomic annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority. [Q2041]

Hippocrates

The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words. [Q1032]

Marshall McLuhan

When producers want to know what the public wants, they graph it as curves. When they want to tell the public what to get, they say it in curves. [Q1488]

Freeman Dyson

There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it. [Q1912]

Jimi Hendrix

Music is my religion. [Q638]

Václav Havel

There are no exact guidelines. There are probably no guidelines at all. The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance. Awareness of all the most dangerous kinds of vanity, both in others and in ourselves. A good mind. A modest certainty about the meaning of things. Gratitude for the gift of life and the courage to take responsibility for it. Vigilance of spirit. [Q1770]

Sallust

Every bad precedent originated as a justifiable measure. [Q437]

Thomas Paine

Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. [Q272]

Václav Havel

Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you. [Q1743]

Richard P. Feynman

I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. [Q974]

Epicurus

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. [Q795]

Plutarch

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech. [Q784]

Virgil

Happy is he who can trace effects to their causes. [Q1579]

Gautama Buddha

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it. [Q2]

Václav Havel

Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance. [Q1742]

Hippocrates

Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always. [Q1025]

Bill Gates

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. [Q1292]

Marshall McLuhan

Publication is a self-invasion of privacy. [Q1471]

Winston Smith

A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects. And its object is not victory over Eurasia or Eastasia, but to keep the very structure of society intact. — George Orwell's 1984 [Q297]

Aristotle

Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy. [Q838]

Bertrand Russell

The evils of the world are due to moral defects quite as much as to lack of intelligence. But the human race has not hitherto discovered any method of eradicating moral defects.... Intelligence, on the contrary, is easily improved by methods known to every competent educator. Therefore, until some method of teaching virtue has been discovered, progress will have to be sought by improvement of intelligence rather than of morals [Q1180]

Jim Fleming
 

Is there an acceptable place, a meeting point between what is sacred and what is profane where we can all agree? [Q27]

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]

Thomas Gold

In choosing a hypothesis there is no virtue in being timid. I clearly would have been burned at the stake in another age. [Q1438]

André Gide

Believe in those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it. [Q1522]

Senator Paul Simon

Cynicism is contagious, just as enthusiasm is. When reporters who constantly question everyone's motives convey that cynicism in their stories, the public is soon afflicted with the same disease. Reports should be skeptical, ask questions, dig for the facts, and where appropriate make judgements on motivation. But to assume that no public official ever has any aim other than being reelected is a inaccurate as assuming that it is never a motivating factor.

Where public officials make mistakes — and we all do — we should be taken to task both in articles and in editorials. But painting the political horizon as too bleak discourages citizens from using the tools of democracy to improve our communities and our nation. Cynicism by the media produces cynical citizens.

[Q1815]

Henry Drummond

Realizing that I may prejudice the case of my client, I must tell you that right has no meaning for me whatsoever, but truth has meaning as a direction. — Inherit the Wind [Q101]

Ronald Reagan

There you go again. [Q2015]

Jack Kerouac

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. [Q2098]

Debra Smith TED - Can we question the great thinkers

If it feels impossible it may be because you have not yet marshalled a compelling case/argument or presented it in an approachable fashion. There are times, however, that the mind you need to change has already made a decision based on limited knowledge it has. At this point that self-reflection should click in and you need to be asking yourself if they know something you do not. [Q1960]

John Maynard Keynes

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones. [Q35]

Woodrow Wilson

Our great industrial nation is not controlled by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men…Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately centered. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men…Who necessarily by very reason of their own limitations chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. We have become one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. [Q1972]

Kathleen Parker

What happens when you win an argument based on half-truths? In politics, it doesn't matter. Winning is all that matters. In real life, the people lose. [Q1664]

Peter Latham

Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly the right measure of himself, and holds a just balance between what he can acquire and what he can use. [Q440]

Alexander Fleming

One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. [Q314]

John C Calhoun

A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks. [Q751]

Caine

...the chameleon... A small lizard. He has the great gift of changing the color of his skin, that he may hide himself from predators. ... Yet he never changes himself. ... He is still... a chameleon. — "Kung Fu" The Hoots 1973 Season 2, Episode 10 [Q595]

Paul Berg

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

Mustafa Kemal

The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument, as had been the case in the past. [Q1929]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light. [Q1089]

Buckminster Fuller

Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking. [Q107]

Aristotle

Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope. [Q870]

Jack Kerouac

Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken. [Q2099]

Plato

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. [Q915]

Plato

There is no harm in repeating a good thing. [Q902]

Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. [Q1061]

Woody Guthrie

Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don't change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow. [Q355]

Senator Paul Simon

He has the right to form his opinions and the right to express them — and the day the right freely to express our own thoughts is taken from us, that day will be the last of our religious and political freedom. Alton Telegraph, Aug 10, 1836 in response to Elijah's first press thrown into the Mississippi River. [Q1884]

Carl Sagan

We reach a point where there can be on more special interest or special cases. Nuclear arms threaten every person on the earth. Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labeled impractical or contrary to human nature, as if nuclear war was practical or if there was only one human nature. But fundamental changes can clearly be made, we're surrounded by them. — Cosmos [Q1232]

Barbara Deming

The injunction that we should love our neighbors as ourselves means to us equally that we should love ourselves as we love our neighbors. [Q1396]

Plutarch

Courage consists not in hazarding without fear; but being resolutely minded in a just cause. [Q774]

Henry David Thoreau

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. [Q402]

Leo Tolstoy

War on the other hand is such a terrible thing, that no man, especially a Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of starting it. [Q1063]

Steven Weinberg

An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy. [Q1047]

Voltaire

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

Alex Todorov

There is a certain trajectory to human evolution and whether we understand it or not it will unravel in due course over the time it takes: we cannot speed it up; we can only be manifestation of it as it happens. [Q1835]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our best thoughts come from others. [Q416]

Plato

Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. [Q914]

Henry David Thoreau

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. [Q1904]

Italo Calvino

For these ports I could not draw a route on the map or set a date for the landing. At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue between two passersby meeting in the crowd, and I think that setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city made of fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them. If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe that the search for it can stop. Perhaps while we speak, it is rising, scattered, within the confines of your empire; you can hunt for it, but only in the way I have said. — Invisible Cities [Q388]

T.S. Elliot

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates. [Q337]

Buckminster Fuller

At the present cosmic moment, muscle, cunning, fear, and selfishness are in powerful control of human affairs. We humans are here in Universe to exercise the Universe-functioning mind. Only mind can apprehend, abide by, and be led by truth. If human mind comes into control of human affairs, the first thing it will do is exercise our option to "make it". [Q127]

Senator Paul Simon

When radio-evangelist Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority gave me a zero rating and Dick Kelly a 100 percent rating, and Dick was subsequently indicted and convicted, I used his rating to defend myself. When asked about my Moral Majority rating, I told reporters, "I knew I was morally imperfect, I just didn't realize the extent of my imperfection." One of the "immoral" votes I cast, according to the Moral Majority, was one for foreign aid to help poor and hungry people. [Q1731]

Stephen Hawking

One cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem. [Q731]

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