Quotations of Wisdom

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John Boyd Orr

The increase of territory and power of empires by force of arms has been the policy of all great powers, and it has always been possible to get the approval of their state religion. [Q1154]

Pablo Picasso

You mustn't always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer. [Q607]


I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work. [Q885]

Václav Havel

We have to accept this legacy as a sin we committed against ourselves. If we accept it as such, we will understand that it is up to us all, and up to us alone to do something about it. We cannot blame the previous rulers for everything, not only because it would be untrue, but also because it would blunt the duty that each of us faces today: namely, the obligation to act independently, freely, reasonably and quickly. Let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would be wrong to expect a general remedy from them alone. Freedom and democracy include participation and therefore responsibility from us all. [Q1789]

Thomas Paine

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity. [Q608]

H.G. Wells

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection. [Q461]

Galileo Galilei

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. [Q930]

Nikola Tesla

Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another's point of view. This again is due to the ignorance of those concerned, not so much in their own, as in their mutual fields. The peril of a clash is aggravated by a more or less predominant sense of combativeness, posed by every human being. To resist this inherent fighting tendency the best way is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse. [Q1682]

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]

Marshall McLuhan

Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either. [Q1451]

Scott Nesler

Never let go of your dream and don't assume someone will develop the essence of your thought. Until you see your idea in reality, keep pushing forward. [Q665]

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]

Arthur Erickson

Our incapacity to comprehend other cultures stems from our insistence on measuring things in our own terms. [Q283]

Blaise Pascal

It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants. [Q591]

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]


If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another. [Q798]


Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics. [Q866]

Peter Coyote

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

Clarence Darrow

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever. [Q1092]

Nassau William Senior

The time I trust will come, perhaps within the lives of some of us, when the outline of this science will be clearly made out and generally recognized, when its nomenclature will be fixed, and its principles form a part of elementary instruction. [Q245]


Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. [Q1290]

Václav Havel

The truth is not simply what you think it is; it is also the circumstances in which it is said, and to whom, why, and how it is said. [Q1773]

Adlai Stevenson

Every age needs men who will redeem the time by living with a vision of the things that are to be. [Q1647]


You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself. [Q831]


Let not our proposal be disregarded on the score of our youth. [Q1583]

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]

Stephen Hawking

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. [Q732]

George Washington

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. See Non-Interventionist. [Q1995]

Wendell Berry

If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war. [Q1335]

Woodrow Wilson

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. [Q748]


The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. [Q822]

Senator Paul Simon

While I accept the Christian beliefs, I reject the absolutism and rigidity which is too often part of Christian followers as well as those of other faiths. I believe that logic an lead to a belief in a Supreme Being, whatever the name. [Q1693]

Wendell Berry

The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war, but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and less wasteful. [Q1329]


If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked. [Q814]

Yunus Emre

If I told you about a land of love, friend, would you follow me and come? [Q1923]

Adlai Stevenson

On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers. [Q1649]

Thomas Jefferson

I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. — wrote Jefferson (to George Logan, 1816. FE 10:69) [Q304]

David Foster Wallace

For these cultures, getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire's still going. [Q982]

Senator Paul Simon

I also came face to face with real people and real problems and it gradually occurred to me that these difficult human situations don't fit into neat order. [Q1827]


It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. [Q801]

Robert H. Schuller

You can often measure a person by the size of his dream. [Q466]

Contact the Movie

I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space. Right? [Q1411]

Neil deGrasse Tyson

When ignorance lurks, so too do the frontiers of discovery and imagination. [Q232]

Clarence Darrow

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

George Bernard Shaw

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. [Q699]

Richard P. Feynman

It's because someone knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance... so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about! [Q971]

Michael Sandel

One thing the world needs, one thing this country desperately needs is a better way of conducting our political debates. We need to rediscover the lost art of democratic argument. [Q1950]

David Hume

Accuracy is, in every case, advantageous to beauty, and just reasoning to delicate sentiment. In vain would we exalt the one by depreciating the other. [Q1354]

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.



Grammar, which knows how to control even kings. [Q2086]

Václav Havel

We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all — though naturally to differing extents — responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery. None of us is just its victim. We are all also its co-creators. [Q1788]


Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. [Q780]

Benjamin Franklin

Since I cannot govern my own tongue, tho' within my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongues of others? [Q136]

Bible - Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain. [Q916]

Scott Nesler

Though the United States Constitution mandates the freedom of speech, it says nothing about being heard. [Q1223]

Albert Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Q1367]

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]

Andrew Cohen

It is not enough to be well-intentioned; one must strive to put those intentions into action in a capable way. One must consider the effect his actions will have on others. Looked at like this, to persist in ignorance is itself dishonorable. [Q719]

Leo Tolstoy

The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life. [Q1256]

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]

Robert Fuller

Anger congeals to hate when people fear domination and experience the indignity of being discounted. No one, conservative or progressive, likes being taken for a nobody. Hatred takes root when fears remain unaddressed and dignity is disregarded. Imagined indignities can feel as injurious as real ones, and suffice to incite people to commit mayhem and murder. [Q1346]

Scott Nesler

Existing media treats people as the problem instead of participants to the solution. [Q1712]

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]


At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. [Q1617]

David Hume

Truth springs from argument amongst friends. [Q1364]

Scott Nesler

You can't force a point of view. You can only guide it with the clarity of your perspective. [Q181]

David Hume

Belief is nothing but a more vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady conception of an object, than what the imagination alone is ever able to attain. [Q1355]

Bill Clinton

We can't make the perfect the enemy of the good. [Q86]

Winston Churchill

History is written by the victors. [Q90]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer. [Q1079]

Václav Havel

If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed. [Q1747]


The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts. [Q1589]

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]

Richard Feynman

I don't believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to have something so that when I don't have any ideas and I'm not getting anywhere I can say to myself, "At least I'm living; at least I'm doing something; I am making some contribution" — it's just psychological.

When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have every opportunity to do something, and they are not getting any ideas. I believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to answer questions from the students. Nothing! In any thinking process there are moments when everything is going good and you've got wonderful ideas. Teaching is an interruption, and so it's the greatest pain in the neck in the world. And then there are the longer period of time when not much is coming to you. You're not getting any ideas, and if you're doing nothing at all, it drives you nuts! You can't even say "I'm teaching my class."

If you're teaching a class, you can think about the elementary things that you know very well. These things are kind of fun and delightful. It doesn't do any harm to think them over again. Is there a better way to present them? The elementary things are easy to think about; if you can't think of a new thought, no harm done; what you thought about it before is good enough for the class. If you do think of something new, you're rather pleased that you have a new way of looking at it.

The questions of the students are often the source of new research. They often ask profound questions that I've thought about at times and then given up on, so to speak, for a while. It wouldn't do me any harm to think about them again and see if I can go any further now. The students may not be able to see the thing I want to answer, or the subtleties I want to think about, but they remind me of a problem by asking questions in the neighborhood of that problem. It's not so easy to remind yourself of these things.

So I find that teaching and the students keep life going, and I would never accept any position in which somebody has invented a happy situation for me where I don't have to teach. Never.


Edward de Bono

Here we find 'argument', which is the basis of our search for truth and the basis of our adversarial system in science, law and politics. Here we have absolutes and finality and judgement — and the confidence (sometimes arrogance) which comes from these. Here we have the mutually exclusive incompatibility which is the very essence of our logic. Each party cannot be both right and wrong at the same time. The essence of logic is identity and contradiction. In language we deliberately create mutually exclusive categories such as right/wrong and friend/enemy in order to operate this logic of contradiction. In language we deliberately create mutually exclusive categories such as right/wrong and friend/enemy in order to operate this logic of contradiction. Yet there are cultures — as I shall show in this book — which find no contradiction in a person being both friend and enemy at the same time. — Page 5, Chapter, "Introduction: The New Renaissance" — I am Right You are Wrong [Q1991]

Anne Rice

Morality is what matters to me, it's being a good person and when you put forward a religion that says belief in Christ alone saves and has nothing to do with morality, well to me that is immoral. [Q1911]

Edward Sapir

A common allegiance to form of expression that is identified with no single national unit is likely to prove one of the most potent symbols of the freedom of the human spirit that the world has yet known. [Q2065]

Scott Nesler

I would like to think we're all placed on this planet with the task to do good. Each one of us is given the opportunity to achieve the success of Budda, Plato, Jesus Christ, Michelangelo, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, or Jimmy Wales. [Q1178]


Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort. [Q819]

Henry David Thoreau

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. [Q59]

Carl Jung

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. [Q255]

Nursultan Nazarbayev

As of today, we do not need expert reports by the authoritative analytical institutions to realize that the reasons for such a situation in our community lie in global inequality, poverty and illiteracy. [Q1200]

Sinclair Lewis

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. — Summarization of his book It Can't Happen Here. [Q658]

Albert Einstein

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

Abraham Lincoln

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

Thomas Paine

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. [Q262]

Thomas Carlyle

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. [Q1616]

Thomas Jefferson

Every folly must run its round; and so, I suppose, must that of self-learning and self-sufficiency: of rejecting the knowledge acquired in past ages, and starting on the new ground of intuition. When sobered by experience, I hope our successors will turn their attention to the advantages of education. I mean of education on the broad scale. [Q539]


Thus the sum of things is ever being reviewed, and mortals dependent one upon another. Some nations increase, others diminish, and in a short space the generations of living creatures are changed and like runners pass on the torch of life. [Q1566]

Bruce Sterling

The level of ignorance is declining, and the ability to accumulate data and manipulate it for various ends is increasing. [Q1740]

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]


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

Clarence Darrow

In spite of all the yearnings of men, no one can produce a single fact or reason to support the belief in God and in personal immortality. [Q1101]

Anne Lamott

I am very devout, but I don't have certainty or conviction. The opposite of faith isn't doubt; it's certainty. [Q43]

Buckminster Fuller

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

Václav Havel

The recent period — and in particular the last six weeks of our peaceful revolution — has shown the enormous human, moral and spiritual potential, and the civic culture that slumbered in our society under the enforced mask of apathy. Whenever someone categorically claimed that we were this or that, I always objected that society is a very mysterious creature and that it is unwise to trust only the face it presents to you. I am happy that I was not mistaken. Everywhere in the world people wonder where those meek, humiliated, sceptical and seemingly cynical citizens of Czechoslovakia found the marvellous strength to shake the totalitarian yoke from their shoulders in several weeks, and in a decent and peaceful way. [Q1790]

Mohandas Gandhi

My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him. [Q567]


Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. [Q1500]

Scott Nesler

Complex problems are not guilty or innocent. [Q118]

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]

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