Quotations of Wisdom

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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]

Todd Jealous

We do not owe allegiance to any candidate because they share our party or our color, but because they share our principles and our conscience. [Q2067]

Wendell Berry

If you can control a people’s economy, you don’t need to worry about its politics; its politics have become irrelevant. [Q1330]

Václav Havel

It's not hard to stand behind one's successes. But to accept responsibility for one's failures... that is devilishly hard! But only thence does the road lead... to a radically new insight into the mysterious gravity of my existence as an uncertain enterprise and to its transcendental meaning. [Q1763]

René Descartes

The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once. [Q1124]

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]

Dalai Lama

Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. [Q691]

Woodrow Wilson

Social reform is a matter of cooperation, and, if it be of a novel kind, requires an infinite deal of converting to bring [people] to believe in it and support it. [Q1820]

Mario Cuomo

Poll watching politicians respond with Pavlovian sureness. The touch every button, satisfy every rabid carving with swift passage of draconian and regressive measures. They serve up a binge of new death penalty statutes as though there had suddenly been discovered proof that the death penalty can save lives. [Q1822]

Jeanne DuPrau

There is so much darkness in Ember, Lina. It's not just outside, it's inside us, too. Everyone has some darkness inside. It's like a hungry creature. It wants and wants and wants with a terrible power. And the more you give it, the bigger and hungrier it gets. — The City of Ember [Q1039]

Konrad Lorenz

Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge in which he must be an expert in order to compete with other people. The specialist knows more and more about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing. [Q1430]

Sir Francis Bacon

Scientia potentia est. "Knowledge is Power". [Q1495]

Donald E. Westlake

All of the changes in publishing since 1960 are significant. There are far fewer publishers. [Q1194]

Stephen Bantu Biko

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

Marshall McLuhan

The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers. [Q1478]

Margaret Mead

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. [Q1415]

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]

John Boyd Orr

After the First World War the economic problem was no longer one of production. It was the problem of finding markets to get the output of industry and agriculture dispersed and consumed. [Q1150]

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]

Buckminster Fuller

Computers can remember accurately and can cope with and integrate the vast amounts of all known, relevant information on complex problems, uncopeable with prior to the computer. What we had prior to the computer were respected opinions and only-selfishness-conditioned reflexes on how to cope. Though an opinion might be wrong, there was no practical and convincing way to prove it. Unchallenged , the opinions became respected precedent, then exceptionless concepts, and sometimes even civil and academically accepted social law. [Q123]

Francis Kissling

People don't read what you write, they read what they thank what you are saying. [Q2024]

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]

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]

Edward de Bono

The greatest danger is perhaps not the arrogance with which we defend our existing thinking system but the complacency with which we hold onto it — because we cannot conceive of anything else. This complacency means that we have channeled so much of our intellectual effort, resources, education and esteem into the existing methods that the more needed habits of thinking do not get a chance. There are no resources left, and many educators have told me there simply is no time teach thinking in school.

We are as locked into our institutions and structures as we are to beliefs. The paradox is that as we move forward into the room for change because everything is locked into position. We rely so much on the excellence of argument for attack and defence that we fail to see that something may be 'right' but inadequate for the larger framework.

(from the book, I am right, you are wrong. pg 28). [Q2004]

Louis Pasteur

Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence. [Q1022]

Marie Curie

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy. [Q328]

Robin Williams

The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and yelling, 'You want a piece of me?' [Q1382]

Robert Nozick

I think philosophers can do things akin to theoretical scientists, in that, having read about empirical data, they too can think of what hypotheses and theories might account for that data. So there's a continuity between philosophy and science in that way. [Q1269]


Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty. [Q879]

Ward Cunningham

A wiki is like a party that doesn’t have to stop. It’s a party that doesn’t get crowded because new rooms appear when needed. It’s a timeless party where you can try each conversation over and over until you get it right. [Q1007]

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]

Mohandas Gandhi

Faith... must be enforced by reason... when faith becomes blind it dies. [Q562]

Senator Paul Simon

... the rigidity and piousness and the unwillingness to face fundamental facts by some of the pro-life people offends me. If our aim is to stop abortion, then we should be encouraging family planning and sex education, both of which reduces the abortion rate, but many in their ranks oppose the measures. They say that sex education in the public schools will require that certain moral judgements have to made in the process, and even teaching about this as a mechanistic amoral process involves teaching choices. There is truth to that, so are their churches providing sex education classes? With rare exceptions the answer is no.

Jeanne and I once made our home available for a teenager so that she could carry a baby to term, and a family in California then adopted the baby. How many of the pro-life zealots have done something practical like that, something more difficult than carrying signs and booing those who you disagree?



You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. [Q808]

Václav Havel

The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships. [Q1786]

Thomas Paine

If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately. [Q266]

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Look at that document, read it carefully, nothing in human life brings us perfection... What is the alternative for 308 million who think different things trying to live together. It can't be war among men and therefore it is law among them ... You don't like what is going on, I can't tell you what to do, if I had a shot at it, I would say go out and participate. Try to persuade people, try to understand, and when you can't persuade people to your point of view, then you try again ... I can't tell you what kind of life to lead, but I can tell you this because I've worked with this document, the Constitution for seventeen years in the Supreme Court. If you don't participate in your communities and get out there and try to persuade people. If you don't do that, this document won't work. [Q1600]

Theodore Roosevelt

I am a part of everything that I have read. [Q504]

Scott Nesler

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

G. K. Chesterton

Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; [Q1111]

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]

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]

Albert Einstein

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

Edgar Allan Poe

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? [Q2038]

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]

Michel de Montaigne

Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know. [Q2018]

Jonas Salk

Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? — In answer to Edward R. Murrow's question, who owns the patent on this vaccine? [Q484]


Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. [Q1290]

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]

Swami Vivekananda

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God. [Q1136]

Ivar Giaever

There are many stories circulating about scientists who have sudden flashes of insight seemingly coming from nowhere. The fact is that scientists often become so engrossed in their ideas that they constantly turn them over in their minds whether they drive, eat, sleep, or make love. This ruminating process allows unrelated impulses to trigger associations in the brain, and eureka — An unexpected solution suddenly appears. In 'lateral thinking' this haphazard way of gaining insight is replaced by a deliberate method that, in prescribed and systematic way, solves the problem. — Prologue to Edward de Bono's, I am Right You are Wrong. [Q1986]

René Descartes

The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues. [Q1122]

Brian Kernighan

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. [Q1408]

Phil Jackson

Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength. [Q206]

William Bernbach

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

Italo Calvino

The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space. — Invisible Cities [Q389]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be great is to be misunderstood. [Q423]

Scott Nesler

In the world of discourse objectivity is little more than subjective consensus. [Q655]

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]

George Mobus

If we are such a clever species, why is the world the way it is, and heading in a bad direction? [Q1842]

Harold Washington

That fallacy flies in the face of studies that show, every day, in every way, things are getting a little worse for America's minorities relative to the progress made by those in the top percentiles of assets and income. [Q1053]

Scott Nesler

I would like to think we're all placed on this planet with the task to do good. Each one of us is given the opportunity to achieve the success of Budda, Plato, Jesus Christ, Michelangelo, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, or Jimmy Wales. [Q1178]

David Boies

Here you have a new technology, and if that technology is going to work, you must allow people to provide central indexes of the data. It's just like a newspaper that publishes classified ads. [Q1215]

Jesus Christ

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. — Matthew 23-13 YouTube [Q1610]

Richard P. Feynman

It's because someone knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance... so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about! [Q971]

Louis Pasteur

When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become. [Q1023]

Theodore Roosevelt

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. [Q1284]


Keep a watch also on the faults of the patients, which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed. [Q1030]

Dante Alighieri

You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man's bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man's stairs. [Q1518]

John F. Kennedy

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are with families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor - it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. [Q1277]

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]

Václav Havel

The history of the human race has generated several papers articulating basic moral imperatives, or fundamental principles, of human coexistence that — maybe in association with concurring historical events — substantially influenced the fate of humanity on this planet. Among these historic documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — adopted fifty years ago today — holds a very special, indeed, unique position. It is the first code of ethical conduct that was not a product of one culture, or one sphere of civilization only, but a universal creation, shaped and subscribed to by representatives of all humankind. Since its very inception, the Declaration has thus represented a planetary, or global commitment, a global intention, a global guideline. For this reason alone, this exceptional document — conceived as a result of a profound human self-reflection in the wake of the horrors of World War II, and retaining its relevance ever since — deserves to be remembered today. [Q1769]

Thor Heyerdahl

Therefore, I feel convinced that any political picture can be changed to suit the needs of the powers that be. [Q1541]


The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education. [Q788]

René Descartes

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. [Q1118]

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]

Senator Paul Simon

In the arena of religion — as well as politics — it is sometimes too easy to say with certitude, "I'm right and you're wrong," and then slip into saying, "I'm good and you're bad." The later leads to intolerance and bloodshed. [Q1697]

Margaret Mead

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night. [Q1427]

Dante Alighieri

No one thinks of how much blood it costs. [Q1511]

Contact the Movie

You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an "airplane," you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon, or atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I'm asking, is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history... of history. — Ellie Arroway [Q1409]

Will Rogers

One Ad is worth more to a paper than forty Editorials. [Q1375]

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]

Clarence Darrow

Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. [Q1093]


Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. [Q841]

Gautama Buddha

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it. [Q2]

Carl Jung

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. [Q256]

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]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Every idea is an incitement... Eloquence may set fire to reason. [Q1077]

Michel de Montaigne

Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head. [Q1172]


Age carries all things away, even the mind. [Q1570]

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]

Senator Paul Simon

The first academic offer came from Southern Illinois University, where I would teach many years later. I explained to them that while I had written a number of books and had more honorary doctorates than I deserved, I had not finished college. They said that would be no problem. They had another faculty member named Buckminster Fuller who did not have a bachelor's degree. [Q1726]

Napoleon Hill

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

Douglas Adams

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

Albert Einstein

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. [Q482]

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]

Galileo Galilei

The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go. [Q941]

Ward Cunningham

The code might be organized in a hierarchy, but the solution has more dimensions than will fit in a hierarchy. So when you discover a solution in a dimension that crosses across the hierarchy, you just have to go where the solution takes you and put the solution in. [Q1017]

Thomas Jefferson

With all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing, or that ever did exist. [Q195]

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]

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