Quotations of Wisdom

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That we are possessed by what we would possess; held in bondage to earth and vested things by the attachments we form for them.. Even so holy a thing as a chalice. So slight a thing as a pebble. — 1973 Season Two Kung Fu Series - The Chalice. [Q572]


Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments. [Q881]

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]

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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

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]

Alexis de Tocqueville

Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic. [Q958]

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


Episode 109 Snap Judgement

Blind obedience to authority is critical because all of our training as children is in fact to be blindly obedient to authority. The problem is that not all authority deserves our respect. [Q1529]

David Hume

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. [Q1353]

Václav Havel

People who live in the post-totalitarian system know only too well that the question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of whether or not it is possible to live like a human being. [Q1781]

Benjamin Franklin

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. [Q70]

Buckminster Fuller

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

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]

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]

Buckminster Fuller

Revolution by design and invention is the only revolution tolerable to all men, all societies, and all political systems anywhere. [Q360]

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]


After this event there was contention for a long time between the upper classes and the populace. Not only was the constitution at this time oligarchical in every respect, but the poorer classes, men, women, and children, were the serfs of the rich. They were known as Pelatae and also as Hectemori, because they cultivated the lands of the rich at the rent thus indicated. The whole country was in the hands of a few persons, and if the tenants failed to pay their rent they were liable to be haled into slavery, and their children with them. All loans secured upon the debtor's person, a custom which prevailed until the time of Solon, who was the first to appear as the champion of the people. But the hardest and bitterest part of the constitution in the eyes of the masses was their state of serfdom. Not but what they were also discontented with every other feature of their lot; for, to speak generally, they had no part nor share in anything. — The Athenian Constitution — Section 1 Part 2 [Q1620]

Ward Cunningham

In the months before I made wiki, we had been having an argument. I think Kent Beck and I were on one side. People who had a lot of faith in the prevailing dogma of software engineering were on the other side. We said, “Collective code ownership is good.” They said, “That’s ridiculous. You’ll never get responsibility. You’ll never get quality if you don’t have responsibility. And the only way you’ll get responsibility is ownership. You have to pin the bugs back on somebody if you want them to ever rise above producing bugs.” And I said, “Well that’s wrong.” [Q1011]

Nikola Tesla

Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life. [Q1678]

Douglas Adams

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. [Q1000]


It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it common; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition. [Q851]

Sarah's Key

Sometimes our own stories are the ones we can never tell. But if a story isn't told it becomes something else; forgotten. [Q1878]

Marshall McLuhan

A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion. [Q1444]

Marshall McLuhan

Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. [Q1472]

Oliver Goldsmith

Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain, With grammar, and nonsense, and learning, good liquor, I stoutly maintain, gives genius a better discerning. [Q2089]

John Boyd Orr

The increase of territory and power of empires by force of arms has been the policy of all great powers, and it has always been possible to get the approval of their state religion. [Q1154]

René Descartes

Travelling is almost like talking with those of other centuries. [Q1126]

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]


Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm. [Q1024]

Blaise Pascal

Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists. [Q584]

Winston Churchill

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

Theodore Roosevelt

A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues. [Q1280]

Nikola Tesla

The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes. [Q1680]

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]

Benjamin Franklin

Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them. [Q29]

Scott Nesler

My hope is in the average citizen's desire for freedom and democracy. It is within these individuals true patriotism exist and where the voice of humanity can be heard. [Q1553]

Noam Chomsky

You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it. [Q164]

Kevin Eubanks

If you do the right thing for the right reasons and you keep a cool head while doing it ... it will all work out. — Interview on NPR Talk of the Nation. [Q550]

John Steinbeck

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. [Q1368]

Bertrand Russell

The evils of the world are due to moral defects quite as much as to lack of intelligence. But the human race has not hitherto discovered any method of eradicating moral defects.... Intelligence, on the contrary, is easily improved by methods known to every competent educator. Therefore, until some method of teaching virtue has been discovered, progress will have to be sought by improvement of intelligence rather than of morals [Q1180]

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]

Johannes Stark

Many scientists will have to contribute to the solution of the great problem; they will have to follow up and measure all those phenomena in which the atomic structure is directly expressed. [Q449]

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]

Carl Sagan

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. [Q227]

Margaret Mead

It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good. [Q952]

Herbert Hoover

It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own. [Q997]

Jimmy Wales

The goal is to give people a free encyclopedia to every person in the world, in their own language. Not just in a 'free beer' kind of way, but also in the free speech kind of way. [Q219]

David Hume

Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few. [Q1359]

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]

John Boyd Orr

Though the general principles of statecraft have survived the rise and fall of empires, every increase in knowledge has brought about changes in the political, economic, and social structure. [Q1157]

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]

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. [Q1833]

Margaret Mead

It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly. [Q948]

M. Scott Peck

Share our similarities, celebrate our differences. [Q1202]

Abraham Lincoln

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

Mustafa Kemal

To the women: Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your country than we have been able to do. It is to you that I appeal.

To the men: If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West.


James Mill

Some ideas are by frequency and strength of association so closely combined that they cannot be separated; if one exists, the other exists along with it in spite of whatever effort we make to disjoin them [Q1443]

John Adams (HBO Miniseries)

Our first step would be to incur a national debt. The greater the debt, the greater the credit. And to that end I have recommended to the president that Congress adopt all the debts incurred by the individual states during the war through a national bank. The idea being that if the states owe Congress money, then other nations will feel more inclined to lend it to us. — (Unite or Die[5]) Alexander Hamilton [Q1134]

James Q Wilson

At root in almost every area of important concern, we are seeking to induce persons to act virtuously, whether as schoolchildren, applicants for public assistance, would-be lawbreakers or voters and public officials [Q1907]

Edward Thorndike

Psychology helps to measure the probability that an aim is attainable. [Q454]

Octavio Paz

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

Saul Alinsky

Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life. [Q989]

Phil Jackson

Approach the game with no preset agendas and you'll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts. [Q208]

Carl Sagan

We humans long to be connected with our origins, so we create rituals. Science is another way to express this longing. It also connects us with our origins. It too has its rituals and commandments. Its only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts, no matter how fond of it we are, must be discarded or revised. Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It's only a tool, but its the best tool we have. Self correcting, ever changing, applicable to everything. With this tool we vanquish the impossible. With the methods of science we have begun to explore the cosmos. For the first time, scientific discoveries are widely accessible. [Q1239]

John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. [Q1369]

Nursultan Nazarbayev

As of today, we do not need expert reports by the authoritative analytical institutions to realize that the reasons for such a situation in our community lie in global inequality, poverty and illiteracy. [Q1200]

Carl Jung

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. [Q252]

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]

Grady Booch

The function of good software is to make the complex appear to be simple. [Q674]

Blaise Pascal

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth. [Q585]

Cullen Hightower

The true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success . [Q460]


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]


Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech. [Q784]

Bill Moyer

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

Jack Kerouac

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion. [Q2097]

Mohandas Gandhi

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. [Q33]

Albert Einstein

A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it. [Q394]

Thomas Jefferson

It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good. [Q1243]

Kurt Gödel

The more I think about language, the more it amazes me that people ever understand each other at all. [Q1961]

Ward Cunningham

I’m not a fan of classification. It’s very difficult to come up with a classification scheme that’s useful when what you’re most interested in is things that don’t fit in, things that you didn’t expect. But some people decided that every page should carry classification. They came up with a scheme, based on page names, to establish a classification structure for a wiki. And these people who care about classification maintain it. [Q1009]

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]

Adlai Stevenson II

This is one of those intervals in our history when the press, money, business, and government have coalesced. These are important forces in our national life, and as the tendency to concentration of power and influence grows, the power of coercion grows, too... We see dissent and criticism diminishing. And conformity is always the easiest way. [Q1850]


Mind moves matter. [Q1584]

Titus Maccius Plautus

Modus omnibus in rebus - In everything the middle course is best, all things in excess brings contention. — Poenulus [Q1218]

Leo Tolstoy

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

Henry David Thoreau

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something. [Q58]

Adlai Stevenson III

Today's politics tends to focus on popularity and the games: who is supporting whom, the polls and the money, personalities over truth, substitutes for Reason. [Q1844]

Eduardo Galeano

I am astonished each time I come to the U.S. by the ignorance of a high percentage of the population, which knows almost nothing about Latin America or about the world. It's quite blind and deaf to anything that may happen outside the frontiers of the U.S. [Q717]

Meister Eckhart

The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake. [Q1631]


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]

Galileo Galilei

Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not. [Q940]

Isaac Asimov

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

Dmitri Mendeleev

It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relations of man - social and political - and to the entire universe as a whole. [Q446]

Jonas Salk

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors. [Q487]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our best thoughts come from others. [Q416]

John Kenneth Galbraith

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. [Q1595]

Marshall McLuhan

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

Sam Harris

...we will soon receive a large tax cut for all our troubles. What is the word for the feeling this provokes in me? Imagine being safely seated in lifeboat, while countless others drown, only to learn that another lifeboat has been secured to take your luggage to shore... [Q1247]

Napoleon Bonaparte

What is history but a fable agreed upon? [Q93]

Marie Curie

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. [Q330]

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