Quotations of Wisdom

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George Taylor

If this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet. [Q1603]

Plutarch

Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. [Q782]

Seneca the Younger

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. [Q1857]

Virginia Nygard

Someone I know wrote that when he attended Harvard, his business school professor said success in business demanded an entrepreneur to start a business, a manager to develop the business, and a manager to run the day-to-day business; and that very rarely was one person capable of performing his best in all three areas. I think that's true of writing, too. I love the writing, the creating, and hate the business of selling. Sure, I'd love to have my 'fifteen minutes of fame'...but for now, a minute at a time is okay by me. [Q1044]

Aristotle

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]

Freeman Dyson

If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling in human lives. [Q1916]

Craig Venter

If their not butting up against dogma, against bureaucracies, against the static state of thinking in our society they are not doing the right things. We can't keep doing what we are doing in society and expect to survive long term on this planet. To me it is a more of a shame there is not more radical thinking. That is certainly how science moves forward. It goes by people having new ideas to take the hole field in a new direction. [Q1496]

Christopher Alexander

The difference between prose and poetry is not that different languages are used, but that the same language is used differently. In an ordinary English sentence, each word has one meaning, and the sentence too, has one simple meaning. In a poem, the meaning is far more dense. Each word carries several meanings; and the sentence as a whole carries an enormous density of interlocking meanings, which together illuminate the whole. [Q666]

Mohandas Gandhi

The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted. [Q569]

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]

Oscar Wilde

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. [Q624]

Bruce Sterling

You don't get to cut that chain of evidence and start over. You're always going to be pursued by your data shadow, which is forming from thousands and thousands of little leaks and tributaries of information. [Q1739]

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]

Leo Tolstoy

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth. [Q1062]

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]

Marshall McLuhan

Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it's just the beginning. [Q1467]

Alfred de Vigny

I think, then, that man, after having satisfied his first longing for facts, wanted something fuller, some grouping, some adaptation to his capacity and experience, of the links of this vast chain of events which his sight could not take in. [Q1735]

Missouri Constitution of 1820

...free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and that every person may freely speak, write, and print, on any subject... [Q1883]

Werner Heisenberg

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. [Q726]

Tammy Faye Bakker

If you're asking God for a Winnebago, you may as well tell him what color. [Q1523]

Buckminster Fuller

People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things. [Q111]

Michel de Montaigne

How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables. [Q1166]

Marie Curie

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. [Q326]

Carl Sagan

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. [Q228]

George Orwell

It is a fact that the much-boasted freedom of the British press is theoretical rather than actual. To begin with, the centralised ownership of the press means in practice that unpopular opinions can only be printed in books or in newspapers with small circulations. [Q1670]

Scott Nesler

We must guard against the tenacity of arguments with hidden agendas. [Q50]

Alexis de Tocqueville

I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all. [Q959]

Thomas Jefferson

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. [Q197]

Meister Eckhart

Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us. [Q1634]

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]

Galileo Galilei

Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty. [Q932]

Lucretius

From the very fountain of enchantment there arises a taste of bitterness to spread anguish amongst the flowers. [Q1558]

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]

Eric Raymond

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter. [Q675]

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]

Zeno of Citium

Fate is the endless chain of causation, whereby things are; the reason or formula by which the world goes on. [Q1734]

Jared Diamond

We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about. [Q2019]

Voltaire

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]

Arlo Guthrie

I'd rather have friends who care than friends who agree with me. [Q353]

Jeremy Bentham

The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong. [Q458]

Marie Curie

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. [Q330]

Hideki Tōjō

In the shadow of the prosperity of Europe and America, the colored peoples of East Asia and Africa have been sacrificed and forced into a state of semi-colonization. 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. [Q1070]

Benjamin Franklin

How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them. [Q1254]

Stephen Hawking

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. [Q728]

David S Allen

The "consumer" has replaced the "citizen" in American society. — Paraphrase of passage from page 10 of Democracy, Inc. [Q241]

Senator Paul Simon

We gain from listening to others, not that we accept all assertions of truth as equally valid. [Q1702]

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]

Václav Havel

The previous regime — armed with its arrogant and intolerant ideology — reduced man to a force of production, and nature to a tool of production. In this it attacked both their very substance and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people, skilfully working in their own country, to the nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy and stinking machine, whose real meaning was not clear to anyone. [Q1787]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Sometimes the role of government is to save capitalism from capitalists. [Q1876]

Jim Fleming
 

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

Wendell Berry

A teacher, finally, has nothing to go on but faith, a student nothing to offer in return but testimony. [Q1325]

Bill Moyer

If speech is money, no money is no speech. [Q1840]

Isaac Newton

We build too many walls and not enough bridges. [Q602]

Mohandas Gandhi

Live simply so that others may simply live. [Q1311]

Woodrow Wilson

Social reform is a matter of cooperation, and, if it be of a novel kind, requires an infinite deal of converting to bring [people] to believe in it and support it. [Q1820]

Thomas Jefferson

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. [Q194]

John Boyd Orr

When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes. [Q1159]

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]

The Pragmatic Programmer

Conventional wisdom says that once a project is in the coding phase, the work is mostly mechanical, transcribing the design into executable statements. We think that this attitude is the single biggest reason that many programs are ugly, inefficient, poorly structured, unmaintainable, and just plain wrong. [Q168]

William O. Douglas

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

Wendell Berry

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. [Q1327]

Henry Poincaré

A sane mind should not be guilty of a logical fallacy, yet there are very fine minds incapable of following mathematical demonstrations [Q1045]

René Descartes

Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it. [Q1128]

Jonas Salk

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors. [Q487]

Bryant H. McGill

One column of truth cannot hold an institution of ideas from falling into ignorance. It is wiser that a person of prudence and purpose save his strength for battles that can be won. [Q716]

Epictetus

We are not to give credit to the many, who say that none ought to be educated but the free; but rather to the philosophers, who say that the well-educated alone are free. [Q827]

Buckminster Fuller

Today's news consists of aggregates of fragments. Anyone who has taken part in any event that has subsequently appeared in the news is aware of the gross disparity between the actual and the reported events. The insistence by reporters upon having advance "releases" of what, for instance, convocation speakers are supposedly going to say but in fact have not yet said, automatically discredits the value of the largely prefabricated news. We also learn frequently of prefabricated and prevaricated events of a complex nature purportedly undertaken for purposes either of suppressing or rigging the news, which in turn perverts humanity's tactical information resources. All history becomes suspect. Probably our most polluted resource is the tactical information to which humanity spontaneously reflexes. — The Wellspring of Reality [Q179]

Thomas Jefferson

The bill for establishing religious freedom... I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination. [Q609]

Marshall McLuhan

It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame. [Q1463]

Adlai Stevenson

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

Epicurus

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

Noam Chomsky

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

Wendell Berry

It is useless to try to adjudicate a long-standing animosity by asking who started it or who is the most wrong. [Q1338]

Virgil

Perhaps the day may come when we shall remember these sufferings with joy. [Q1586]

Adlai Stevenson III

Today's politics tends to focus on popularity and the games: who is supporting whom, the polls and the money, personalities over truth, substitutes for Reason. [Q1844]

Thor Heyerdahl

Those who have experienced the most, have suffered so much that they have ceased to hate. Hate is more for those with a slightly guilty conscience, and who by chewing on old hate in times of peace wish to demonstrate how great they were during the war. [Q1542]

Thomas Jefferson

Information is the currency of democracy. [Q494]

Plutarch

Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them. [Q781]

Galileo Galilei

It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved. [Q945]

Narcissism

Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others. [Q664]

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.

[Q1910]

Robert Fuller

Hate is caused by unrelieved indignity; real or imagined. Imagined indignities can feel as injurious as real ones, and have led people to commit mayhem and murder. [Q1347]

Aristotle

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. [Q836]

Jawaharlal Nehru

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new; when an age ends; and when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance. [Q991]

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]

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]

David Mitchell

Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity and principals of uncertainty. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday, I believe I would never have done what I did today. These forces that often remake time and space, that can shape and alter who we imagine ourselves to be, begin long before we are born and continue after we perish. Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment. That each point of intersection, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction. Proposition, I have fallen in love with Luisa Rey. Is this possible? I just met her and yet, I feel like something important has happened to me. — Cloud Atlas [Q2094]

Morihei Ueshiba

The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang. [Q582]

Master Kan

To suppress a truth is to give it force beyond endurance. [Q521]

Hippocrates

Prayer indeed is good, but while calling on the gods a man should himself lend a hand. [Q1031]

Dante Alighieri

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. [Q1514]

Archimedes

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. [Q929]

George Carlin

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting f#@ked by a system that threw them overboard 30 f@#$%n’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your f@#$%n' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. [Q1642]

Whitney A Brown

The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down. [Q91]

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]

Dante Alighieri

He listens well who takes notes. [Q1509]

Barack Obama

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. [Q53]

Óscar Romero

I would like to make an appeal in a special way to the men of the army, to the police, to those in the barracks. Brothers, you are part of our own people. You kill your own campesino brothers and sisters. And before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to recover your consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin. The church, defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, the dignity of the person, cannot remain silent before such abomination. We want the government to take seriously that reforms are worth nothing when they come about stained with so much blood. In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuously, I beg you, I ask you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression! [Q1074]

Thomas Jefferson

Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master! [Q203]

Epicurus

Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance. [Q802]

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