Quotations of Wisdom

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Van Morrison

You can't stay the same. If you're a musician and a singer, you have to change, that's the way it works. [Q640]

Albert Einstein

Times such as these have always bred defeatism and despair. But there remain, nonetheless, some few among us who believe man has within him the capacity to meet and overcome even the greatest challenges of this time. If we want to avoid defeat, we must wish to know the truth and be courageous enough to act upon it. If we get to know the truth and have the courage, we need not despair. [Q1874]

Epictetus

Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope. [Q817]

Pythagoras

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

William Howard Taft

Don't worry over what the newspapers say. I don't. Why should anyone else? I told the truth to the newspaper correspondents - but when you tell the truth to them they are at sea. [Q1214]

Václav Havel

Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not. [Q1741]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Why can't somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks. [Q1091]

T.S. Elliot

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? [Q343]

Al Hirschfeld

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons. [Q1305]

Senator Paul Simon

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

Plutarch

For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human. [Q776]

Master Po

Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you. — Kung Fu Televison Series 1972 - Episode #6 [Q526]

Ralph Johnson

Software is not limited by physics, like buildings are. It is limited by imagination, by design, by organization. In short, it is limited by properties of people, not by properties of the world. [Q248]

Robert Louis Stevenson

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. [Q1312]

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]

Joanna Macy

I'm not insisting that we be brimming with hope. It is ok not to be optimistic. Buddhist teaching says a feeling that you have to maintain hope can wear you out. The biggest gift that you can give is just to be absolutely present. Whether your worrying about being hopeful or hopeless, pessimistic or optimistic; who cares, the main thing is showing up. That you're here and finding ever more capacity to love this world, because it will not be able to be healed without that. That is what is going to unleash our intelligence and ingenuity. And our solidarity for healing the world. — Interview with Krista Tippett on Being (Episode - A Wild Love of the World - September 16, 2010) [Q1019]

Albert Einstein

One thing I have learned in a long life: All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have. [Q145]

Mohandas Gandhi

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. [Q556]

Wendell Berry

We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? [Q1318]

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]

Joseph Franklin Rutherford

If you are kept in ignorance of the true way and permit yourself to rely upon and be guided by the opinion of imperfect man, you can never gain the riches that will bring you peace and lasting happiness. [Q720]

Mustafa Kemal

In the face of knowledge, science, and of the whole extent of radiant civilization, I cannot accept the presence in Turkey's civilized community of people primitive enough to seek material and spiritual benefits in the guidance of sheiks. The Turkish republic cannot be a country of sheiks, dervishes, and disciples. The best, the truest order is the order of civilization. To be a man it is enough to carry out the requirements of civilization. The leaders of dervish orders will understand the truth of my words, and will themselves close down their lodges [tekke] and admit that their disciplines have grown up. [Q1931]

Margaret Mead

Having two bathrooms ruined the capacity to co-operate. [Q1418]

Margaret Mead

A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again. [Q1414]

Václav Havel

Cultural conflicts are increasing and are understandably more dangerous today than at any other time in history. The end of the era of rationalism has been catastrophic. Armed with the same supermodern weapons, often from the same suppliers, and followed by television cameras, the members of various tribal cults are at war with one another. [Q1805]

Marie Curie

After all, science is essentially international, and it is only through lack of the historical sense that national qualities have been attributed to it. [Q325]

Edward Teller

A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective. [Q738]

Aristotle

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]

Dante Alighieri

O conscience, upright and stainless, how bitter a sting to thee is a little fault! [Q1512]

Freeman Dyson

Heretics who question the dogmas are needed... I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. [Q344]

John Trenchard

Very great riches in private men are always dangerous to states, because they create greater dependence than can be consistent with the security of any sort of government whatsoever; they place subjects upon too near a level with their sovereigns; make the nobility stand upon too great an inequality in respect of one another; destroy, amongst the Commons, that balance of property and power, which is necessary to a democracy... [Q1905]

Albert Einstein

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it? [Q387]

Bob Woodward

I think journalism gets measured by the quality of information it presents, not the drama or the pyrotechnics associated with us. [Q619]

Senator Paul Simon

It was great to see many long-time friends, including Dick Cheney who had his office next to mine when we were House members. He has served the nation superbly in several capacities. He now heads the Halliburton Corporation. (From Simon's Autobiography published in 1999 prior to the George W. Bush / Dick Cheney presidency). [Q1831]

Flannery O'Connor

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth. [Q613]

Edward de Bono

We prefer to put our trust in evolution. This is because evolution is gradual and allows the pressure of needs, values, reactions and events to mould ideas. It allows the shaping force of criticism. Bad ideas will die. Good ideas will survive and become even better. We really like the method of evolution because it fits our traditional thinking habits. Change has its own energy and we can modify and control this by the use of our critical faculties because criticism is the basis of our thinking tradition. Evolution is also collective and seems democratic, whereas design always seems autocratic. (From the book, I am Right, you are Wrong, page 19) [Q1997]

T.S. Elliot

It's strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words. [Q338]

Thor Heyerdahl

A civilized nation can have no enemies, and one cannot draw a line across a map, a line that doesn't even exist in nature and say that the ugly enemy lives on the one side, and good friends live on the other. [Q1530]

Benjamin Franklin

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. [Q30]

Lloyd Bentsen

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy [Q1307]

David S. Allen

Reliance on expert knowledge does not come without cost, however. Not only does it devalue the role of the public in democracy, it also leads to the formation of powerful occupational groups that attempt to secure for themselves an area of knowledge that will insure their power. — Democracy, Inc (Page 52) [Q290]

Václav Havel

There are no exact guidelines. There are probably no guidelines at all. The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance. Awareness of all the most dangerous kinds of vanity, both in others and in ourselves. A good mind. A modest certainty about the meaning of things. Gratitude for the gift of life and the courage to take responsibility for it. Vigilance of spirit. [Q1770]

Mohandas Gandhi

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. [Q558]

David Hume

Eloquence, at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection, but addresses itself entirely to the desires and affections, captivating the willing hearers, and subduing their understanding. [Q1356]

Margaret Mead

Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time. [Q1424]

Buckminster Fuller

Humans have learned scientifically that the exact truth can never be attained or told. We can reduce the degree of tolerated error, but we have learned physically, as Heisenberg discovered, that exactitude is prohibited, because most exquisite physical experiment has shown that "the act of measuring always alters that which is measured". [Q126]

Senator Paul Simon

The big-time gamblers and others who would violate the law have formed an unholy alliance in our county with those charged with the responsibility for enforcing the law. I have little respect for the gentry of the gambling profession and the hoodlums they bring with them. But I have even less respect for men in our county who have prostituted public office and betrayed the public for a few dirty dollars. [Q1719]

Alfred North Whitehead

In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute, the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. Not all your heroism, not all your victories on land or at sea, can move back the finger of fate. Today we maintain ourselves. Tomorrow science will have moved forward yet one more step, and there will be no appeal from the judgement which will then be pronounced on the uneducated. [Q1863]

Jack Lynch

Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs. [Q2082]

Noam Chomsky

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. [Q151]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side. [Q410]

Caine and Master Kan

Caine - What is my duty to the law? Master Kan - You must assist the law to serve justice. Caine - I have seen a law broken. Would I serve justice if I let it go unpunished? Master Kan - What is the purpose of this law? Caine - Discipline. Master Kan - And who is served by this discipline? Caine - Each one who obeys the law. Master Kan - Then to break the law of self discipline denies justice only to one's self. Caine - The same with all laws? Master Kan - Consider if you break the law, do you deny justice only to your self? — - "Kung Fu" Empty Pages of a Dead Book 1973 Season 2, Episode 13 [Q616]

Senator Paul Simon

Time is the most valuable gift any of us has been given, other than good health, I tell my student, use it ... to help others. I try to do that.

I am grateful to you as a reader for taking your valuable time to follow this personal journey, which continues. I wish you well in your journey

[Q1832]

Adlai Stevenson

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

Noam Chomsky

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people. [Q160]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The clever reader who is capable of reading between the lines what does not stand written in them but is nevertheless implied will be able to form some conception. [Q1181]

Plato

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. [Q876]

Václav Havel

Our civilization has essentially globalized only the surfaces of our lives. But our inner self continues to have a life of its own. And the fewer answers the era of rational knowledge provides to the basic questions of human Being, the more deeply it would seem that people, behind its back as it were, cling to the ancient certainties of their tribe. Because of this, individual cultures, increasingly lumped together by contemporary civilization, are realizing with new urgency their own inner autonomy and the inner differences of others. [Q1804]

William Bernbach

An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it. [Q1957]

Adlai Stevenson III

4700 years ago this was written on an Assyrian tablet: "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching." [Q1872]

Nikos Kazantzakis

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired. [Q302]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. [Q961]

Hypatia

In fact men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable. [Q1405]

Nikola Tesla

Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. [Q1677]

Scott Nesler

Certainty needs not faith, doubt has faith of mistakes. [Q48]

Paul Krugman

If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, conservatives often seem inclined to accept that tribute, voting for candidates who publicly espouse conservative moral principles whatever their personal behaviour. [Q1706]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. [Q407]

Galileo Galilei

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. [Q938]

Werner Heisenberg

The problems of language here are really serious. We wish to speak in some way about the structure of the atoms. But we cannot speak about atoms in ordinary language. [Q725]

Albert Camus

One may long, as I do, for a gentler flame, a respite, a pause for musing. But perhaps there is no other peace for the artist than what he finds on the heat of combat. ... Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gently stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others, in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundation of his own sufferings and joys builds for all [Q1875]

Hypatia

Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them. [Q1404]

Napoleon Hill

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire. [Q685]

Albert Einstein

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. [Q23]

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]

Stephen Bantu Biko

The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. [Q1544]

Maya Angelou

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. [Q688]

George Bancroft

The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force. [Q455]

Mohandas Gandhi

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. [Q557]

Thomas Paine

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, … it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. [Q1228]

Wendell Berry

As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection. [Q1344]

Adlai Stevenson II

Those who hold in their hands the power of government must themselves be independent — and this kind of independence means the wisdom, the experience, the courage to identify the special interest and the pressures that are always at work, to see the public interest steadily, to resist its subordination no matter what political hazards [Q1847]

Octavio Paz

Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings. [Q2081]

Alexis de Tocqueville

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in? [Q957]

Anne Rice
 

Morality is what matters to me, it's being a good person and when you put forward a religion that says belief in Christ alone saves and has nothing to do with morality, well to me that is immoral. [Q1911]

Alexander Fleming
 

It is the lone worker who makes the first advance in a subject; the details may be worked out by a team, but the prime idea is due to enterprise, thought, and perception of an individual. [Q313]

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]

Thomas Jefferson

Power is not alluring to pure minds. [Q200]

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]

Leo Tolstoy

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

Michael Sandel
 

One thing the world needs, one thing this country desperately needs is a better way of conducting our political debates. We need to rediscover the lost art of democratic argument. [Q1950]

Anna Howard Shaw

Think of submitting our measure to the advice of politicians! I would as soon submit the subject of the equality of a goose to a fox. [Q462]

Oscar Wilde

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. [Q656]

Richard P. Feynman

If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize. [Q976]

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]

Kathleen Parker

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

George Carlin

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth. [Q5]

Mohandas Gandhi

All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth. [Q555]

Aristotle

The best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. [Q860]

Thor Heyerdahl

Civilization grew in the beginning from the minute that we had communication - particularly communication by sea that enabled people to get inspiration and ideas from each other and to exchange basic raw materials. [Q1532]

Wendell Berry

Far from making peace, wars invariably serve as classrooms and laboratories where men and techniques and states of mind are prepared for the next war. [Q1320]

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