Quotations of Wisdom

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Carl Sagan

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such creatures as we. [Q229]

Carl Sagan

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. [Q230]

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]

Carl Sagan

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

Carl Sagan

We are born to delight in this world. We are taught to distinguish our preconceptions from the truth. Then new worlds are discovered as we decipher the mysteries of the cosmos. Science is a collective enterprise that embraces many cultures and spans the generations in every age and sometimes in the most unlikely places there are those who wish with a great passion to understand the world. There is noway of knowing where the next discovery will come from. What dream of the minds eye will remake the world. — Cosmos [Q1238]

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]

Carl Sagan

Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out. [Q224]

Carl Sagan

We have learned to value careful observations, to respect the facts, even when they are disquieting, when they seem to contradict conventional wisdom ... We see further than they, only because we stand on their shoulders. We build on what they knew. We depend on free inquiry and free access to knowledge. [Q1240]

Carl Sagan

Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. [Q223]

Carl Sagan

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. [Q227]

Carl Sagan

We humans long to be connected with our origins, so we create rituals. Science is another way to express this longing. It also connects us with our origins. It too has its rituals and commandments. Its only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts, no matter how fond of it we are, must be discarded or revised. Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It's only a tool, but its the best tool we have. Self correcting, ever changing, applicable to everything. With this tool we vanquish the impossible. With the methods of science we have begun to explore the cosmos. For the first time, scientific discoveries are widely accessible. [Q1239]

Carl Sagan

Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves. [Q630]

Carl Sagan

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

Carl Sagan

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. [Q226]

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]

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