Quotations of Wisdom

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Václav Havel

If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation. [Q1761]

Clarence Darrow

If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think. [Q1100]

Master Kan

Deal with evil through strength - but affirm the good in man through trust. In this way we are prepared for evil, but we encourage good. [Q68]


Good means not merely not to do wrong, but rather not to desire to do wrong. [Q766]

Thomas Paine

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. [Q265]

Todd Solondz

When part of what you're trying to get at is the truth hidden under a taboo, or when you want to nail a hypocrisy, laughter is a very useful tool. I want to show the painful side of existence, but there is no question I also want to make people laugh. [Q478]

Thomas Paine

My mind is my own church. [Q270]

The Holy Bible

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5,6, and 7 - Sermon on the Mount - YouTube [Q1611]


I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. [Q884]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The genius of democracies is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express. [Q960]

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]

Milton Friedman

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another. [Q1057]

Battle of Belief in World War II American Radio Works

Wherever authoritarian regimes, political conflict or civil wars exist, there is black radio. [Q652]

Dr. Zaius

I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself. [Q1602]

Mohandas Gandhi

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

Jean-Luc Picard

You can commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life. [Q172]

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]

Clarence Darrow

Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to? [Q1095]

Wendell Berry

The teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner. [Q1324]

Ward Cunningham

You are always taught to do as much as you can. Always put checks in. Always look for exceptions. Always handle the most general case. Always give the user the best advice. Always print a meaningful error message. Always this. Always that. You have so many things in the background that you’re supposed to do, there’s no room left to think. I say, forget all that and ask yourself, “What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?” I think the advice got turned into a command: “Do the simplest thing that could possibly work.” That’s a little more confusing, because there isn’t this notion that as soon as you’ve done it, we’ll evaluate it. [Q1013]

Václav Havel

Of course, in politics, just as anywhere else in life, it is impossible and it would not be sensible always to say everything bluntly. Yet that does not mean one has to lie. What is needed here are tact, instinct and good taste. [Q1766]

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The idea that to make a man work you've got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We've done that for so long that we've forgotten there's any other way. [Q1881]

Clarence Darrow

I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood. [Q1099]

Marshall McLuhan

Appetite is essentially insatiable, and where it operates as a criterion of both action and enjoyment (that is, everywhere in the Western world since the sixteenth century) it will infallibly discover congenial agencies (mechanical and political) of expression. [Q1452]

Carl Sagan

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

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]

Marshall McLuhan

Antipathy, dissimilarity of views, hate, contempt, can accompany true love. [Q1450]

George Washington Carver

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. [Q317]

James Q Wilson

Order exists because a system of beliefs and sentiments held by members of a society sets limits to what those members can do. [Q1908]

Leo Tolstoy

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

Erwin Schrödinger

The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist. [Q1437]

Margaret Sanger

A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. [Q1666]

Dwight D. Eisenhower

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. [Q1275]

Óscar Romero

If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my death be for the freedom of my people ... A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish. [Q1072]

Dante Alighieri

He listens well who takes notes. [Q1509]

Václav Havel

When a person tries to act in accordance with his conscience, when he tries to speak the truth, when he tries to behave like a citizen, even in conditions where citizenship is degraded, it won't necessarily lead anywhere, but it might. There's one thing, however, that will never lead anywhere, and that is speculating that such behavior will lead somewhere. [Q1771]

Marshall McLuhan

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

René Descartes

I think; therefore I am. [Q1117]

Oscar Wilde

In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever. [Q620]

Dwight Eisenhower

America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. [Q1845]

Ward Cunningham

The decisions I made designing wiki were very much inspired by my desire to create a model for the collaborative process I thought should happen in large code bases. I wanted wiki to mimic that. [Q1010]

Daniel H. Pink

We know from statisticians that demographics is destiny. And we know from the Rolling Stones that you can't always get what you want. What we don't know is what happens when these two indomitable principles sit down, pour themselves a drink, and get to know each other better. [Q492]

Mitch Smith

I point to popular dichotomies as falsifications – the true vectors lie elsewhere. So you can’t say “Republican Vs Democrat” that’s a false dichotomy based on mistaken perception of the underlying structure of policy. When you strip that away, the true dichotomy is revealed – Empathy vs Apathy – and it exists all the way across the false map. Similar is Capital Vs Labour – there would be no labour as we know it without currency(capital) – just as there is no such thing as cold – there is only heat. [Q1983]


The unexamined life is not worth living. [Q762]


Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor. [Q451]

Michel de Montaigne

I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind - and to work some of those contradictions out for myself. [Q1170]

Václav Havel

We introduced a new model of behavior: don't get involved in diffuse general ideological polemics with the center, to whom numerous concrete causes are always being sacrificed; fight "only" for those concrete causes, and be prepared to fight for them unswervingly, to the end. In other words, don't get mixed up in backroom wheeling and dealing, but play an open game. [Q1775]

George Bernard Shaw

Periods of increasing tensions end to become periods of increasing repressions. Soon freedom of speech may become only freedom to say acceptable things. Even thinking, except for the orthodox, may become precarious. [Q1849]

Daniel H. Pink

It's in our nature to seek purpose. But that nature is now being revealed and expressed on a scale that is demographically unprecedented and, until recently, scarcely imaginable. The consequences could rejuvenated our business and remake our world. — Drive, Chapter 6. Purpose. [Q371]

Václav Havel

When a man has his heart in the right place and good taste, he can not only do well in politics but is even predetermined for it. If someone is modest and does not yearn for power, he is certainly not ill-equipped to engage in politics; on the contrary, he belongs there. What is needed in politics is not the ability to lie but rather the sensibility to know when, where, how and to whom to say things. [Q1767]

Albion W. Small

Modern sociology is virtually an attempt to take up the larger program of social analysis and interpretation which was implicit in Adam Smith's moral philosophy, but which was suppressed for a century by prevailing interest in the technique of the production of wealth. [Q999]

Winston Churchill

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. [Q89]

George Mitchell

Why do they believe as they do? Why do they act as they do? Is there something to their position that I don't understand or that I've been wrong about? The most disturbing thing now is the rigidity of some - you know, 'We are right, we are 100 percent right, and if you disagree with us, you're not just wrong, you're not an American.' [Q2013]

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]


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]

Edward B Titchener

Empathy [Q2048]

Lenny Bruce

The "what should be" never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no "what should be," there is only what is. [Q335]

Václav Havel

The history of the human race has generated several papers articulating basic moral imperatives, or fundamental principles, of human coexistence that — maybe in association with concurring historical events — substantially influenced the fate of humanity on this planet. Among these historic documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — adopted fifty years ago today — holds a very special, indeed, unique position. It is the first code of ethical conduct that was not a product of one culture, or one sphere of civilization only, but a universal creation, shaped and subscribed to by representatives of all humankind. Since its very inception, the Declaration has thus represented a planetary, or global commitment, a global intention, a global guideline. For this reason alone, this exceptional document — conceived as a result of a profound human self-reflection in the wake of the horrors of World War II, and retaining its relevance ever since — deserves to be remembered today. [Q1769]

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]

Bill Clinton

Because primarily of the power of the Internet, people of modest means can band together and amass vast sums of money that can change the world for some public good if they all agree. [Q1293]

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]

Bob Marley

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. [Q639]

Napoleon Hill

War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man. [Q687]

Buckminster Fuller

The earth is like a spaceship that didn't come with an operating manual. [Q113]

Scott Nesler

Democracy requires civility, not a donation. [Q1601]

Swami Vivekananda

Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. [Q1144]

Václav Havel

Classical modern science described only the surface of things, a single dimension of reality. And the more dogmatically science treated it as the only dimension, as the very essence of reality, the more misleading it became. Today, for instance, we may know immeasurably more about the universe than our ancestors did, and yet, it increasingly seems they knew something more essential about it than we do, something that escapes us. [Q1802]

Thomas Jefferson

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy? [Q192]

St. Francis of Assisi

It was easy to love God in all that was beautiful. The lessons of deeper knowledge, though, instructed me to embrace God in all things. [Q2036]

George Carlin

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. [Q7]

Scott Nesler

The lack of a common language is a barrier. Even with the same dialect, each technology contains its own obtrusive jargon. Joining together a diverse group in a common language requires time and resources which many are not motivated to provide. [Q378]

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]

Scott Nesler

One person's truth is another's slander. [Q551]

Martin Luther King

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. [Q39]


Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind. [Q858]

Ken Kesey

You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. [Q1507]

Abbie Hoffman

You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. [Q468]


I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self. [Q846]

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]

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]

Howard Zinn

Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane. [Q383]

Anna Quindlen

Ideas are only lethal if you suppress and don't discuss them. Ignorance is not bliss, it's stupid. Banning books shows you don't trust your kids to think and you don't trust yourself to be able to talk to them. [Q709]

Walter Cronkite

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine. [Q623]


If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost. [Q848]

Buckminster Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. [Q128]

Fredrik Bajer

To read the report of a discussion in which arguments for and against are presented, in which a subject has been covered from different points of view, with new ideas advanced - this is far more instructive than to read a brief account of the resolution passed on the matter. [Q1258]

Arthur Goldberg

The concept of neutrality can lead to a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious. Such results are not only not compelled by the Constitution, but, it seems to me, are prohibited by it. [Q211]

John Mayer

Ladies, if you want to know the way to my heart... good spelling and good grammar, good punctuation, capitalize only where you are supposed to capitalize, it's done. [Q2077]


Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another. [Q874]

Sheldon Lee Glashow

Today's thinking habits cannot be based on word-play or belief systems but must be attuned to the latest developments in neuroscience and matched to 'the way the human brain creates perception'. Dr de Bono is motivated because 'in democracies it is everyone's business that everyone should think better'. — Prologue to Edward de Bono's I am Right You are Wrong. [Q1989]

Scott Nesler

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

Abraham Lincoln

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. [Q1241]

Jimmy Wales

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

William James Durant

It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovation must survive before being allowed to enter the human race. It is good that the old should resist the young, and that the young should press the old ... Out of the strife ... comes a creative tensile strength. [Q1725]


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

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. [Q661]

Marshall McLuhan

The scientist rigorously defends his right to be ignorant of almost everything except his specialty. [Q1483]

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]

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]

Isaac Newton

To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. [Q370]

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