Quotations of Wisdom

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Orrin G. Hatch

In the current climate of today's United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country's problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments. [Q285]

Stephen Leacock

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


One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. [Q889]

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of it scientists, and the hopes of its children. [Q1219]

Andy Kaufman

I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut-or get angry from the gut. [Q234]

George S Patton

No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country. [Q1301]

Mohandas Gandhi

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

Herbert Simon

There are no morals about technology at all. Technology expands our ways of thinking about things, expands our ways of doing things. If we're bad people we use technology for bad purposes and if we're good people we use it for good purposes. [Q651]

Senator Paul Simon

While I am a Democrat, and proud of the affiliation, most problems do not involve political philosophy. They are nuts-and-bolts problems for which people of good will should sit around a table and find solutions. [Q1730]


The beginning of reform is not so much to equalize property as to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more. [Q859]

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]

Senator Paul Simon

There are a few "hot button" issues that people experienced in politics know are volatile. ... Those issues are abortion, gun control, gays in the military, and affirmative action. [Q1825]

Theodore Roosevelt

The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency. [Q1288]


Pleasant it to behold great encounters of warfare arrayed over the plains, with no part of yours in peril. [Q1562]

Michel de Montaigne

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. [Q1173]

R Jeffrey Lustig

Since ancient times statesmen have attempted to create a policy that could harness private interests to the public welfare. The corporation succeeds, by contrast, in harnessing the vast public to a private interest. It subordinates plurality to singularity, the many to the few. — David S. Allen, Democracy, Inc. (Page 4), Reference to R. Jeffrey Lustig, Corporate Liberalism: The Origins of Modern American Political Theory 1890-1920. [Q236]

Buckminster Fuller

Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking. [Q107]

Bill McCartney

All coaching is, is taking a player where he can't take himself. [Q473]

John Boyd Orr

When the fabric of society is so rigid that it cannot change quickly enough, adjustments are achieved by social unrest and revolutions. [Q1158]

Dwight Eisenhower

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

Wendell Berry

The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly. [Q1340]

Jared Diamond

We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about. [Q2019]

Vincent Bugliosi

If you're honest with yourself, you're going to find out whether you truly love America, or whether your primary allegiance is to the Republican party. [Q2066]


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

Blaise Pascal

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

Blaise Pascal

Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them. [Q586]

David S. Allen

Meaning, under discourse theory, is discursively redeemed; it does not exist solely in the author's intent but in the complex linguistic relationship between speaker and hearer. The key to creating that ethical discourse is allowing all citizens who want to participate to do so. — Democracy, Inc. (Page 40) [Q291]


Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. [Q829]

Thomas Jefferson

Promote in every order of men the degree of instruction proportioned to their condition and to their views in life. [Q538]

Theodore Roosevelt

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. [Q1287]

Kurt Gödel

To be overcritical and reluctant to use what is given hampers success. To reach the highest degree of clarity and general philosophy, empirical concepts are also important. [Q1965]

Tracy Chapman

Truth is Divinity — From the lyrics of "Heaven's Here on Earth, Album New Beginning" [Q1490]

Barack Obama

When each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other - that's when we succeed. [Q85]

Ludwig Fuerbach

In religion, man denies his reason. [Q1524]

Mohandas Gandhi

You've got to be the change you want to see in the world. [Q593]

Anne Lamott

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. [Q42]

Barry Goldwater

To be successful, representative government assumes that elections will be controlled by the citizenry at large, not by those who give the most money. Electors must believe their votes count. Elected officials must owe there allegiance to the people, not to their own wealth or to the wealth of interest groups who speak only for the selfish fringes of the whole community. (Attributed to Barry Goldwater in Paul Simon's Autobiography, page 307) [Q1819]

Buckminster Fuller

Dare to be naive. [Q132]

Edward de Bono

Computers will give us dangerously logical answers based on our faulty perceptions. (from the book, I am right, you are wrong. Pg 44) [Q2011]

Deirdre Sullivan

My real battle is doing good versus doing nothing at all. [Q242]

Senator Paul Simon

However, those who kill have been stimulated by others who preach fanaticism. Religious leaders who advocate with excessive zealotry share the guilt with the murderers who wield the knives and pull the triggers. [Q1704]

Peter the Hermit

The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. — A.D. 1274 [Q1387]

Scott Nesler

We must guard against the tenacity of arguments with hidden agendas. [Q50]


Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds. [Q770]

Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. [Q700]


Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort. [Q819]


Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself. [Q924]

Senator Paul Simon

But when people in the name of any religion claims to have the sole possession of truth, they have crossed the line from faith to arrogance. [Q1701]

Václav Havel

An ordinary human being, with a personal conscience, personally answering for something to somebody and personally and directly taking responsibility, seems to be receding farther and farther from the realm of politics. Politicians seem to turn into puppets that only look human and move in a giant, rather inhuman theatre; they appear to become merely cogs in a huge machine, objects of a major civilizational automatism which has gotten out of control and for which nobody is responsible. [Q1799]

Richard Feynman

I wonder why, I wonder why,
I wonder why I wonder.
I wonder why, I wonder why,
I wonder why I wonder! [Q1903]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Doing well is the result of doing good. That's what capitalism is all about. [Q408]

Thomas Jefferson

I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it. [Q529]


Happy is he who can trace effects to their causes. [Q1579]

Senator Paul Simon

Cynicism by the media produces cynical citizens. [Q1816]


When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing more to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. [Q911]


To fight for yourself is right. To die vainly without hope of winning is the act of stupid men. — Kung Fu Television Series 1972 [Q511]

John Boyd Orr

Our civilization has evolved through the continuous adjustment of society to the stimulus of new knowledge. [Q1149]

Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. [Q1061]

Albert Schweitzer

To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic. [Q69]

Carl Jung

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. [Q255]

Søren Kierkegaard

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; The other is to refuse to accept what is true. [Q1985]

Simon and Garfunkel

And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made. And the sign flashed out its warning in the words that it was forming. And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls. And tenement halls". And whispered in the sounds of silence. — The Sound of Silence. [Q576]

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]

Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. [Q1955]

Buckminster Fuller

A trimtab is a nautical device that acts as a small rudder used to turn the larger rudder of giant ships, offering tremendous leverage in terms of steering and changing the direction of the ship. Fuller, drawing upon his naval experience, saw the trimtab as a powerful metaphor for effective individual leadership: small and strategically placed interventions can cause large-scale and profound change. — Leadership By Design: How One Individual Can Change the World. The Leadership Principles of Buckminster Fuller. Medard Gabel and Jim Walker, 2006. [Q191]

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]

Scott Nesler

Shoot, ready, aim is not a formula for success. [Q84]

Woodrow Wilson

I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans because I am by instinct a teacher, and I would like to teach them something. [Q745]


A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. [Q836]

Carl Jung

Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off. [Q253]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common. [Q421]

Senator Paul Simon

The day I stop searching for truth should be my last. [Q1705]

Adlai Stevenson

He who slings mud generally loses ground. [Q1648]

George Orwell

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. [Q2016]

René Descartes

I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error. [Q1115]

Pablo Picasso

The chief enemy of creativity is "good" sense. [Q605]


You don't have to like a man to drink his liquor. [Q1557]

Senator Paul Simon

In a presidential race, who is losing or gaining three points in the latest polls receives much more coverage than where the candidates stand on poverty or foreign policy. It is easy to cover the trivial. A drop in the polls will receive more attention than an in-depth speech on national health care. The average sound bite on network TV news for the Republican presidential primary of 1996 was 7.2 seconds. Almost half the second bites were less than five seconds. Try to say something of substance on any issue in 7.2 seconds! The media should be here not simply to make money, but also to serve, and that service can be improved. [Q1814]

Henry A. Wallace

This dullness of vision regarding the importance of the general welfare to the individual is the measure of the failure of our schools and churches to teach the spiritual significance of genuine democracy. [Q463]

Margaret Mead

As long as any adult thinks that he, like the parents and teachers of old, can become introspective, invoking his own youth to understand the youth before him, he is lost. [Q1417]


Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. [Q913]


The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. [Q865]


We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard. [Q1306]

Senator Paul Simon

To understand through reason what the ultimate realities are is impossible, though we make leaps of faith frequently in our lives without understanding. ... There is truth to St. Augustine's words: "Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, let us seek not to understand so that we may believe, but believe that we may understand." [Q1694]

Master Po

Superstition is like a magnet. It pulls you in the direction of your belief. [Q55]

Carl Sagan

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

Margaret Mead

I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings. [Q1421]

Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one. [Q1432]

Joseph and Owen Lovejoy

What right have five hundred or five thousand to interfere with the lawful expression of a free man's sentiments because they happen to number more than those who think with him. We spurn the base tyranny—this utter denial of all rights, save as the tender mercies of a mob shall vouchsafe them. If Mr. Lovejoy's views were erroneous, let them be refuted; if his motives were corrupt, (but this is not pretended,) let them be exposed and contemned; if his actions were unlawful, let them be lawfully punished. But, right or wrong, none of these were better or worse for the fact that they were unacceptable to the majority. He had as perfect and absolute a right to proclaim and defend his sentiments in Illinois, where nine-tenths may be opposed to them, as though all were enthusiastic in their favour; and he who would deny or in the least degree abridge this right, is an enemy to freedom, and a hypocrite if he dare pretend to republicanism. — The New Yorker [Q1890]

Nikola Tesla

The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power. [Q1676]

Caine and Master Kan

Caine, "Beauty differs from being to being". Master Kan, "Beauty is constant as is the truth. Seek and find what is the truth". Caine, "What is the truth of man, Master". Master Kan, "It has been said that a man is three things, what he thinks he is, what others think he is, and what he really is. Which of these do you feel is the truth"? Caine, "What he really is, but if a man is wrong about himself, and others are wrong about him, who is left to say what he really is"? Master Kan, "At what point in time can a man be fixed from force if he is to live and grow". Caine, "He must change". Master Kan, "As the lowly caterpillar transforms itself into a finer and more beautiful creature". Kung Fu" 1973 Season 2, Episode 14 [Q617]

Barbara Deming

We learn best to listen to our own voices if we are listening at the same time to other women whose stories for all our differences turn out, if we listen well, to be our stories also. [Q1397]

Tom Stoppard

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

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]

Senator Paul Simon

Freedom in a community dies a little when public officials are willing to take money for votes or favors; freedom is diminished when school boards and city councils hold secret meetings, keeping out the public who elected them; freedom is eroded when law enforcement officials want to stop crime by using methods that violate freedoms given to us in our Constitution; freedom suffers a defeat when a teacher or a member of the clergy or anyone in a community is not permitted to express an unpopular opinion. And freedom is set back when any citizen does not have an equal opportunity for a job. Because the battle will always go on, there must be citizens who are willing to match each defeat with a victory. [Q1897]


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

Meister Eckhart

There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence. [Q1632]

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]

Elbert Hubbart

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

Alexander Fleming

One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. [Q314]

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