Quotations of Wisdom

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Václav Havel

Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it. [Q1749]

Napoleon Hill

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. [Q682]

Clarence Darrow

History repeats itself, and that's one of the things that's wrong with history. [Q1096]

Elbert Hubbart

It is easy to get everything you want, provided you first learn to do without the things you cannot get. [Q1384]

Abraham Lincoln

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

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]

Leonardo DaVinci

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. [Q1314]

Michel de Montaigne

He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak. [Q1165]

Herbert Simon

The world is vast, beautiful, and fascinating, even awe-inspiring - but impersonal. It demands nothing of me, and allows me to demand nothing of it. [Q650]

Václav Havel

They are periods when there is a tendency to quote, to imitate, and to amplify, rather than to state with authority or integrate. New meaning is gradually born from the encounter, or the intersection, of many different elements. [Q1801]

Lisa Nesler

I have now discovered where children learn strategy, sharing, bargaining, bartering, sales, verbal, non-verbal, and social skills. It has very little to do with home life, and everything to do with the lunchroom. I witnessed bargaining and bartering while sitting silently at lunch in an elementary school. Had I not known better, I would have thought I was in Soulard Market on a Saturday morning. At least you know that when you send lunch to school. SOMEONE is eating it. And really, your kids DO eat....something....maybe Grace's PB & J, or Charlie's carrots. [Q1812]

Abraham Lincoln

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. [Q490]

Adlai Stevenson

To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man - and also a nation. [Q1655]

Richard P. Feynman

We've learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science. [Q975]


In the midst of the fountain of wit there arises something bitter, which stings in the very flowers. [Q1559]

Master Kan

Beware of judgements of others. In this imperfect world in which we live, perfection is an illusion. And so the standards by which we seek to measure it are also, themselves, illusions. If perfection is measured by age, grace, color of skin, color of hair, physical or mental prowess, then we are all lacking. And it is well to remember that the harshest judgements are reserved for ourselves. — "Kung Fu" Night of the Owls Day of the Dove 1974 Season 2 [Q627]

Stephen Jay Gould

Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty. [Q1807]

Stephen Jay Gould

The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis. [Q1808]

Senator Paul Simon

Paul Simon on Newt Gingrich, "When Newt is good he is very, very good and when he is bad, he is horrid." [Q1729]

Bernard Goldberg

The evening news is a concept whose time has come and gone. [Q213]

Kathleen Parker

Politics - Even when you win an argument based on half-truths, the people lose. [Q1665]

Adlai Stevenson

The New Dealers have all left Washington to make way for the car dealers. [Q1651]


I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint — 8th Century BC [Q1389]


Cease to think that the decrees of the gods can be changed by prayers. [Q1571]

Seneca the Younger

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

Robert Fuller

When we're unable to stand up to put-downs, we hate those who diminish us; those who, assuming their own superiority, condescend to us or presume to know what's best for us. When we find ourselves without resources or allies, we despise those who take us for nobodies. [Q1348]

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. [Q636]

Abraham Lincoln

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise .. with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. — Presidential Message to Congress Dec 1, 1862 [Q1059]

Ward Cunningham

The blogosphere is a community that might produce a work. Whereas a wiki is a work that might produce a community. It’s all just people communicating. [Q1002]


The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers. — Attributed to by Plato — 380 BC [Q1388]


Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. [Q769]

David Bohm

During the past few decades, modern technology, with radio, TV, air travel, and satellites, has woven a network of communication which puts each part of the world in to almost instant contact with all the other parts. Yet, in spite of this world-wide system of linkages, there is, at this very moment, a general feeling that communication is breaking down everywhere, on an unparalleled scale... [Q391]

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]

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]

Margaret Sanger

Diplomats make it their business to conceal the facts. [Q1667]

Arthur Erickson

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

Erwin Chargaff

Science is wonderfully equipped to answer the question "How?" but it gets terribly confused when you ask the question "Why?" [Q1439]

Julian Assange

And to some degree it is of such scope that it eclipses the economic ability of the press to go through it. It’s going to require not just the press but all interested parties to understand this material. [Q1209]

Albert Einstein

The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close political cohesion. [Q305]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. [Q405]

Pete Seeger

One of the things I'm most proud of about my country is the fact that we did lick McCarthyism back in the fifties. [Q351]

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]

Václav Havel

Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. [Q1793]

Saul Bellow

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. [Q705]


What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature. [Q1505]

Scott Nesler

Democracy requires civility, not a donation. [Q1601]

Micheal Kinsley

In any event, the proper question isn't what a journalist thinks is relevant but what his or her audience thinks is relevant. Denying people information they would find useful because you think they shouldn't find it useful is censorship, not journalism. [Q621]


So potent was religion in persuading to evil deeds. [Q1563]

Wendell Berry

Do not think me gentle because I speak in praise of gentleness, or elegant because I honor the grace that keeps this world. I am a man crude as any, gross of speech, intolerant, stubborn, angry, full of fits and furies. That I may have spoken well at times, is not natural. A wonder is what it is. [Q1341]

Nikola Tesla

Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. [Q1674]


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

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]

Scott Nesler

I worry about the fate of the citizens when hate, fear, ignorance, and chaos becomes the most effective methods for political change. Coherency, community, and courtesy should be given equal opportunity. [Q184]

David Hume

The advantages found in history seem to be of three kinds, as it amuses the fancy, as it improves the understanding, and as it strengthens virtue. [Q1360]

Senator Paul Simon

There are times when right is right and wrong is wrong — when you have to stand up, even though it may be unpopular. Had Lincoln taken a poll, he never would have issued his then unpopular Emancipation Proclamation. [Q1894]

Albert Einstein

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. [Q2022]

Neil deGrasse Tyson

After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all? [Q231]

Thor Heyerdahl

I was in uniform for four years, and I know that heroism doesn't occur from taking orders, but rather from people who through their own willpower and strength are willing to sacrifice their lives for an idea. [Q1535]

Václav Havel

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less. [Q1756]

Thomas Jefferson

Never spend your money before you have it. [Q201]

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]

Isaac Asimov

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. [Q701]

Arlo Guthrie

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

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]


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

Adlai Stevenson III

Some evangelicals are swayed, not by the evangelical virtues of Christian love, but by stem cell research, gay rights, and abortion. [Q1855]

Thomas Jefferson

Difference of opinion leads to enquiry, and enquiry to truth. [Q198]

Senator Paul Simon

Religion is a powerful force for evil — and a powerful force for good. Religion kills, and religion heals. [Q1688]

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]

Thurgood Marshall

Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process. [Q754]

Albert Einstein

If I give you a pfennig, you will be one pfennig richer and I'll be one pfennig poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too. [Q120]

Hideki Tōjō

It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one's words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this. [Q1058]

Senator Paul Simon

As the price of a slave went up, so did the slaveholder's desire to retain the system. Opponents of slavery like Lovejoy were perceived as trying to take away "property" growing in value, and this perception intensified the animosity between pro-slavery and anti-slavery people. [Q1886]

Václav Havel

As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it. [Q434]

Senator Paul Simon

Some, like Thomas Jefferson, are persons of outstanding ability, but the majority are not. Most changes in history are not made by intellectual giants who sweep across the pages of our history books but rather by people who do not "seem fitted to stand foremost in a great struggle"; they simply have certain beliefs and are willing patiently but firmly and courageously to support them. [Q1895]

Senator Paul Simon

When I have my "Chamber of Commerce speech" in communities, I tell them they need to do three things to move ahead economically: work hard; be creative; take risks. The same applies to individuals and the same applies to political parties. [Q1824]

Carl Sagan

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

Katherine Anne Porter

Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning. [Q524]

Abbie Hoffman

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

John Stuart Mill

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied. Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool or the pig are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their side of the question. [Q1949]

Mark Twain

Don't let schooling interfere with your education. [Q60]

Pete Seeger

I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. [Q348]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a journey, not a destination. [Q1609]

Thomas Mann

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them. [Q1528]

Jerry Garcia

He used to be a gambling man just like you until he sank so low that there was nothing that no one could do. &mdash Old & In The Way – The Hobo Song [Q2069]

I Am The Movie

The basis of nature is cooperation and democracy, it's in our DNA. [Q2033]

Russell Simmons

I'm not a politician. I only want to help relieve the suffering in communities, and I want to help people see their community in each other. [Q1310]

Josh Billings

As scarce as truth is, the supply is always greater than the demand. [Q1854]


Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution. [Q1255]

Tom Stoppard

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. [Q2075]

René Descartes

When it is not in our power to follow what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable. [Q1127]

Alan Alda

Flatow: What was it like playing Richard Feynman? ALDA: It was just great, because you couldn't get to the bottom of who he was. He is so many people in one that you, finally a friend of mine who is a mathematician, Steve Shrogets, said: Well, maybe the central image for him is his idea that a particle takes every possible path, and then most of them can't - they all cancel themselves out except for the path you observe. — From Science Friday, March 23, 2012 [Q1919]

Lenny Bruce

Communism is like one big phone company. [Q334]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. [Q1217]

Herbert Simon

Maybe we ought to have a world in which things are divided between people kind of fairly. [Q644]

Nikola Tesla

What we now want most is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth and the elimination of that fanatic devotion to exalted ideals of national egoism and pride, which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife. No league or parliamentary act of any kind will ever prevent such a calamity. These are only new devices for putting the weak at the mercy of the strong. [Q1686]

Rudyard Kipling

I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who [Q670]


Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully. [Q845]

Abraham Lincoln

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

Marshall McLuhan

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

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