Quotations of Wisdom

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Flannery O'Connor

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. [Q612]

Blaise Pascal

We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. [Q592]

Robert Pirsig

Any effort which has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster. [Q375]

Pete Seeger

I like to say I'm more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. [Q349]

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]

Scott Nesler

The task of doing good is subjective, requiring refinement to reach its highest potential. [Q1179]

Phil Jackson

I gave it my body and mind, but I have kept my soul. [Q207]

Václav Havel

Today's world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats. From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility. Thus, the only way to save our world, as I see it, lies in a democracy that recalls its ancient Greek roots: democracy based on an integral human personality personally answering for the fate of the community. [Q1800]

Stephen Leacock

In ancient times they had no statistics so they had to fall back on lies. [Q364]

Lawrence Krauss (Quantum Man)

I'd rather not understand things than be certain of something which is wrong. — Attributed to Richard Feynman [Q1366]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. [Q471]

Winston Churchill

Great and good are seldom the same man. [Q12]

Mark Twain

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

Sebastien Paquet

I learned from physics that it is often best not to rush in to solve a problem. The time you invest in really understanding a problem is typically given to you back several-fold: - It simplifies the problem at hand; - It creates new learning in your mind, which will make subsequent similar problems easier to tackle. Second, computer science taught me that there are many ways to skin a cat. Programming is essentially a communication challenge. It is about clarifying initially fuzzy concepts and relations and representing them in code. The way you do this determines how much or how little trouble you're setting yourself up for — From his blog What Physics and Computer Science Taught Me about Thinking [Q292]

Elbert Hubbart

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. [Q1383]

Václav Havel

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. [Q1744]

John Ruskin

All violent feelings have the same effect. They produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things, which I would generally characterize as the pathetic fallacy. [Q1046]

Jim Morrison

Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. [Q723]

Scott Nesler

Ignorance is the act of ignoring the collateral damage of one's belief and an apathetic attempt to seek the truth. [Q549]

Marshall McLuhan

The medium is the message. [Q1475]

William Gibson

The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed. [Q678]


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]

George Washington Carver

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


The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles. [Q894]

Swami Vivekananda

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. [Q1135]

Charles Kuralt

I think all those people I did stories about measured their own success by the joy their work was giving them. [Q477]

Mohandas Gandhi

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. [Q32]

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]


Those who gave thee a body, furnished it with weakness; but He who gave thee Soul, armed thee with resolution. Employ it, and thou art wise; be wise and thou art happy. [Q1257]

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]

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]

Albert Einstein

I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots. [Q2091]

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]

Albert Einstein

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. [Q24]

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]

Marshall McLuhan

Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be. [Q1470]

Henry Drummond

Then why did God plaint us with the power to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man that raises him above the other creatures of the earth: the power of his brain to reason? — Inherit the Wind [Q105]

Mohandas Gandhi

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. [Q560]


For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first. [Q844]

Franklin Roosevelt

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. [Q362]

Isaac Asimov

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. [Q702]


Courage consists not in hazarding without fear; but being resolutely minded in a just cause. [Q774]

Marshall McLuhan

The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist. [Q1477]

Stephen Jay Gould

When people learn no tools of judgement and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown. [Q1811]

John Searle

In many cases it is a matter for decision and not a simple matter of fact whether x understands y; and so on. [Q1186]


Do not yield to misfortunes, but advance more boldly to meet them, as your fortune permits you. [Q1574]

Alice in Wonder Land

If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later. [Q1980]


There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot. [Q901]

Noam Chomsky

The concept of “democratizing the media” has no real meaning within the terms of political discourse in the United States. In fact, the phrase has a paradoxical or even vaguely subversive ring to it. Citizen participation would be considered an infringement on freedom of the press, a blow struck against the independence of the media that would distort the mission they have undertaken to inform the public without fear or favor... this is because the general public must be reduced to its traditional apathy and obedience, and driven from the arena of political debate and action, if democracy is to survive. — Chapter 1: Democracy and the Media," Necessary Illusions [Q173]

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The first duty of a wise advocate is to convince his opponents that he understands their arguments and sympathizes with their just feelings. [Q1852]

Thomas Jefferson

The public education... we divide into three grades: 1. Primary schools, in which are taught reading, writing, and common arithmetic, to every infant of the State, male and female. 2. Intermediate schools, in which an education is given proper for artificers and the middle vocations of life; in grammar, for example, general history, logarithms, arithmetic, plane trigonometry, mensuration, the use of the globes, navigation, the mechanical principles, the elements of natural philosophy, and, as a preparation for the University, the Greek and Latin languages. 3. An University, in which these and all other useful sciences shall be taught in their highest degree; the expenses of these institutions are defrayed partly by the public, and partly by the individuals profiting of them. [Q534]

Meister Eckhart

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. [Q1636]

Ward Cunningham

A wiki is a work sustained by a community. [Q1018]


There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres. [Q927]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well. [Q406]


When you cease to strive to understand then you will know without understanding. [Q11]

James Bovard

With attention deficit democracy, I am trying to wake up people to how the combination of mass ignorance, fear mongering by the government, and lying politicians is putting our entire system of government to a death spiral. [Q721]

Clarence Darrow

The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business. [Q1108]

Coretta Scott King

Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated. [Q38]

Scott Nesler

What is at conflict is an inner turmoil preventing the expression of a personal oppression. The media thrust conflict upon us and we gravitate to it as it is our own. We must see the tangency of these arguments and utilize them to express a broader solution. [Q1303]

Ibni Sina

The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit. [Q1922]


To accuse others for one's own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete. [Q825]

David Foster Wallace

It can become an exercise in trying to get the reader to like and admire you instead of an exercise in creative art. [Q983]

Maurice Strong

One of the things that I've always thought I would like to do is to develop an environmental index. Then people can measure their own environmental performance on an index as they do in other ways. [Q452]

Christopher Hitchens

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it. [Q1248]

Master Kan

Weakness prevails over strength. Gentleness conquers. Become the calm and restful breeze that tames the violent sea. [Q520]

Saul Bellow

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

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]

Maximilien Robespierre

No one loves armed missionaries. [Q1296]

Nikola Tesla

What has the future in store for this strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet Immortal, with his powers fearful and Divine? What magic will be wrought by him in the end? What is to be his greatest deed, his crowning achievement? [Q1684]

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]

Ed Hobbs

You've got a gift Roy... but it's not enough - you've got to develop yourself. If you rely too much on your own gift... then... you'll fail. — The Natural [Q1216]

Italo Calvino

For these ports I could not draw a route on the map or set a date for the landing. At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue between two passersby meeting in the crowd, and I think that setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city made of fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them. If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe that the search for it can stop. Perhaps while we speak, it is rising, scattered, within the confines of your empire; you can hunt for it, but only in the way I have said. — Invisible Cities [Q388]

Dalai Lama

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis. [Q544]

Thomas Jefferson

Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital. [Q1192]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. [Q419]

Margaret Mead

I have a respect for manners as such, they are a way of dealing with people you don't agree with or like. [Q1420]

Caine and Master Kan

Master, do we seek victory in contention? Seek rather not to contend. But shall we not then be defeated? We know that where there is no contention, there is neither defeat nor victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q518]

Sam Ewing

When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood. [Q2076]

Henry David Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. [Q1614]


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

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]

Scott Nesler

Science is a method of study using approximation. Typically there are more than one answer. Truth or right are not as important as understanding the winner is chosen based on a thorough knowledge of available information and the quest to explore new frontiers. [Q1608]

Bill Moyer

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

Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillispie

(MD) Why can't I play like you? (DG) Because you don't hear it that way. [Q17]

Marie Curie

There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth. [Q331]


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

Marshall McLuhan

As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes. [Q1455]

Thomas Jefferson

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. [Q199]

Václav Havel

Politicians do not actually talk to each other but only to one another's shadows as they appear in the media. [Q1797]

Scott Nesler

Complex problems are not guilty or innocent. [Q118]

Buckminster Fuller

Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. [Q204]

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]

Brad Paisley

It's less about politics for me, but more about things that seem right and wrong. [Q1711]

George Orwell

A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals ... If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. [Q1351]

Murray Gell-Mann

Of course the word chaos is used in rather a vague sense by a lot of writers, but in physics it means a particular phenomenon, namely that in a nonlinear system the outcome is often indefinitely, arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in the initial condition. [Q980]

Scott Nesler

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

Oliver Wendell Holmes

We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing. [Q1090]

Scott Nesler

The human species lives in a world where understanding partners with conflict. [Q594]

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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