Category:Quotes

From Christoph's Personal Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I enjoy reading and pondering after what I believe to be good quotes. This category will be a collection of quotes that I find interesting and worth remembering. Note that I do not agree with all of these; I simply find them worth pondering. Eventually, they will be organised into subcategories and topics.

List of Quotes

  • "... the momentary state of science that may change tomorrow ..."
— Bertrand Russell (6 March 1927)
  • "video et taceo" ("I see and keep silent")
— Queen Elizabeth I of England
  • "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur." ("Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.")
author unknown
  • "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
— Charles Darwin
  • "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument."
—William G. McAdoo
  • "It is difficult to reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into."
author unknown
  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
— Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)
  • "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
— Bertrand Russell
  • "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
— Stephen Hawking
  • "Doesn't it get on my nerves when people say science doesn't know everything. Science knows it doesn't know everything otherwise it would stop. Just becuase science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy-tale appeals to you."
— Dara O'brian
  • "A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a drink. The bartender replies, 'For you, no charge.'"
— Dr. Sheldon Cooper
  • "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
— Thomas Paine
  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke
  • "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
— Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • "Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities." / "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity, can lead you to commit an atrocity."
— Voltaire
  • Maxims: "Principiis obsta" and "Finem respice" ("Resist the beginnings" and "Consider the end")
  • Bastiat's axiom: "Where goods do not cross frontiers, armies will." Bastiat's corollary: "Where goods cross frontiers, armies do not."
— Frédéric Bastiat (1801 – 1850)
  • "Why must one love rarely to love well?"
— Albert Camus (7 November 1913 - 4 January 1960)
  • "It has been my experience that those with no vices have very few virtues."
— Abraham Lincoln
  • "A man with two watches never knows what time it is."
author unknown
  • "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought."
— Basho
  • "What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof."
— Christopher Hitchens
  • "The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
— Delos B. McKown
  • "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions. Their lives a mimicry. Their passions a quotation."
— Oscar Wilde
  • "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."
— Edward Gibbon
  • "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
— Epicurus
  • "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfold fear."
— Thomas Jefferson
  • "Those who beat their swords into plowshares will end up plowing for those who didn't."
author unknown
  • "And they'll beat swords into ploughshares and ploughshares into swords, and so on and so on, and back and forth."
— Yehuda Amichai (Sort of An Apocalypse, 1958)
— Mao Zedong
  • "Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good."
— Thomas Paine (29 January 1737 - 8 June 1809), The Rights of Man
  • "Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
— Thomas Paine (29 January 1737 - 8 June 1809), The American Crisis
  • "Life is too short to be taken seriously."
— Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900)
  • "For any particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?"
— Marcus Aurelius (ca. 170-180 CE)
  • "If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now."
— Marcus Aurelius (ca. 170-180 CE)
  • "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" ("Who will guard the guards?" or "Who shall watch the watchers themselves?")
— Plato in the Republic
  • "Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto." ("I am a man, I consider nothing human foreign to me.")
Heauton Timorumenos, 77, Publius Terentius Afer (ca. 170 BC-160 BCE)
  • "Fortis fortuna adiuvat." ("Fortune favours the brave.")
Phormio, 203, Publius Terentius Afer (ca. 170 BC-160 BCE)
  • "Quot homines, tot sententiae: suo' quoique mos." ("There are as many opinions as there are people: everyone has their own way of doing things.")
Phormio, 454, Publius Terentius Afer (ca. 170 BC-160 BCE)
  • "The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love."
Heauton Timoroumenos, 2nd century BCE, Publius Terentius Afer (ca. 170 BC-160 BCE)
  • "It's a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours."
—Harry S. Truman
  • "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."
—Blaise Pascal
  • "Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."
—Pablo Picasso
  • "No emotion, any more than a wave, can long retain its own original form."
Henry Ward Beecher
  • "There is still a lot of good music waiting to be written in C major."
—Arnold Schönberg (31 December 1951)
  • "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."
—Booker T. Washington
  • "The more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs."
— Bertrand Russell (6 March 1927)
  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
author unknown
  • "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
author unknown
  • "Negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice."
author unknown
  • "There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."
author unknown
  • "You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away."
— Antoine de Saint Exupery (The Little Prince)
  • "Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection."
author unknown
  • Omne ignotum pro magnifico. ("Everything unknown passes for miraculous.")
  • partie carre' ("part of four")
  • "And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers / Is always the first to be touched by the thorns."
—Thomas Moore (1779-1852)
  • "The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more."
—Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.)
  • "Everything harmonizes with me, which is harmonious to thee, o universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which is in due time for thee. Everything is fruit to me which thy seasons bring, Nature; from thee are all things, in thee are all things, to thee all things return."
—Marcus Aurelius
  • "Nature secretly avenges herself for the constraint imposed upon her by the laws of man."
— Alexis de Tocqueville (29 July 1805 - 16 April 1859)
  • "No men are less addicted to reverie than the citizens of a democracy."
— Alexis de Tocqueville (29 July 1805 - 16 April 1859)
  • "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
—Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
  • "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
—Theodore Roosevelt
  • "The rich and the poor both know what the middle class doesn't: the law is corrupt."
—author unknown
  • A Zen mantra goes: "great doubt: great awakening; little doubt: little awakening; no doubt: no awakening."
  • "God was my Co-Pilot . . . but we crashed in the Andes, and I had to eat him."
—author unknown
  • "You left your heart in the hands of a juggling clown."
—author unknown
  • "An it harm none, do what ye will."
Wiccan Rede
  • "When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself."
—Peter O'Toole
  • "With deep men, as with deep wells, it takes a long time for anything that falls into them to hit bottom. Onlookers, who almost never wait long enough, readily suppose that such men are callous and unresponsive—or even boring." ([real]: With deep men, as with deep wells, it takes a long time for anything that falls into them to hit bottom. Onlookers, who almost never wait long enough, readily suppose that such men are callous and unresponsive—or even boring.)
—Nietzsche
  • "No way of thinking or doing however ancient, can be trusted without proof."
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk."
—Henry David Thoreau, Journal
  • "Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, which in others are luxuries merely and in others still are entirely unknown."
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • "The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost."
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or, Life in the Woods
  • "If you want to milk the cow you need to feed it."
—Bofinger
  • "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases."
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights; it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is man's deadliest enemy. It is not as protection against private actions, but against governmental actions that the Bill of Rights was written."
—Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness [1964]
  • "The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost."
—author unknown
  • "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time."
—E. B. White
  • "I prefer the most unjust peace to the most righteous war."
—Cicero
  • "Even peace may be purchased at too high a price."
—Poor Richard
  • "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
—Buddha
  • "I know something about everything, but I don't know everything about anything."
—Ron Kling
  • "If God lived on earth, people would break his windows."
—Jewish Proverb
  • "To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle."
—Confucius
  • "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
—Edmund Burke
  • "The more restrictions and prohibitions in the world, the poorer people get."
—Lao Tzu
  • "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."
—Tacitus, Roman historian
  • "Politics is the pursuit of trivial men who, when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men."
—George Jean Nathan (1882 - 1958)
  • "The trouble today is that we have too many laws."
—John Garner, US Vice-President, 1932
  • "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
—Plato
  • "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."
—Plato
  • "Being in politics is like being a football coach; you have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important."
—Eugene McCarthy
  • "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
—Mao Tse-tung
  • "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master."
—George Washington
  • "When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom." - Thomas Paine
  • "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
—Benjamin Franklin, to the Penn State Legislature
  • "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
—George Bernard Shaw
  • "...That government is best which governs least"
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe 'That government is best which governs not at all'; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."
—Henry David Thoreau
  • "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "America is at that awkward stage; it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
—Claire Wolfe, 1995
  • "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms..."
—Richard Henry Lee
  • "Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the state."
—Heinrich Himmler
  • "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
—Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Once governments are given the authority to restrict the liberty of some sane adults for what it considers their physical or moral welfare, there is no principled stopping point in terms of what governments will have the authority to prohibit. The consequence will be that virtually anything which anyone holds of most value may become prohibited to them on grounds of its being judged immoral or dangerous to them. There are practically no forms of activity in which sane adults like to engage that others are not able to find reasons to condemn as morally or physically bad for those who engage in them. This ranges from drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, to eating certain types of food, to not taking exercise, to taking too much, engaging in dangerous sports, practising certain religions, not practising any religion, reading books on science, etc. Unless government draws the line at only prohibiting conduct that harms others against their will, no member of society can be secure in being able to do or have anything they most want and value."
—David Conway
  • "The ever-growing power of a soulless political bureaucracy which supervises and safeguards the life of man from the cradle to the grave is putting ever-greater obstacles in the way of co-operation among human beings."
—Rudolph Rocker
  • "There can be little doubt that man owes some of his greatest successes in the past to the fact that he has not been able to control social life. His continued advance may well depend on his deliberately refraining from exercising controls which are now in his power."
—Friedrich A. Hayek
  • "The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest."
—John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
  • "The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom."
—Supreme Court Justice William Orville Douglas
  • "Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
—Albert Einstein
  • "Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."
—Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Proponents say the antiflag-burning amendment is necessary in order to get us to respect the flag. But our culture is in truly bad shape if we have come to define respecting something as the failure to set it on fire. True, torching something is often a clear sign of disrespect, but the converse does not hold. As they proceed with their weighty deliberations, our Congress members should realize that just because someone does not douse them in kerosene and hold a match to their pants cuffs is no reason to think they are held in respect."
—Barbara Ehrenriech
  • "One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
—Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)
  • "The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
—H. L. Mencken
  • "In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either."
—Mark Twain
  • "Practical politics consists in ignoring facts."
—Henry Adams
  • "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans."
—Bill Clinton (1993)
  • "The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'."
—Larry Hardiman
  • "All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood of the world to do the fighting for them."
—Emma Goldman (1917)
  • "ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third."
—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
  • "In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant."
—Charles de Gaulle
  • "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
—William Pitt (Earl of Chatham), speech in the House of Lords, November 18, 1783
  • "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law, for nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced."
—Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A, 1921
  • "How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it."
—Henry David Thoreau
  • "Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things."
—Russell Baker
  • "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
—Noah Webster
  • "It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen want? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
—Patrick Henry
  • "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
—Daniel Webster
  • "He was such a good man that people hated to see him coming."
—Mark Twain
  • "Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
—H.L. Mencken
  • "I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts."
—John Locke
  • "In the 19th century, it was sufficient to ask who you are. In the 20th century, it was sufficient to show who you are. In the 21st century, you will have to prove who you are."
—Tate Preston, vice president at Datacard Group
  • "In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from."
—Peter Ustinov
  • "Liberalism, however dressed in 'sharing and caring' modernity, is ultimately about the primitive, ignorant, troglodyte tribal idea of collective life. And about human sacrifice -- liberals like that even better. The will, the con- -science, the very existence of the person must be destroyed for the benefit of the mob. Liberals have the same morals as Fascists, Communists, Crips and Bloods. The worship of collective power always ends in some kind of drive-by shooting. Pearl Harbor, for example."
—P.J. O'Rourke
  • "Too many people are only willing to to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitarian governments are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things *I* think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other's people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own."
—Tony Lawrence
  • "The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty."
—Former Lord Chief Justice Halisham
  • "Nothing's ever really changed. What difference does it make whether it's the Corporate state or the Nation state? In our struggle for freedom we still find ourselves fighting the state."
—Jay Terpstra
  • "What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • "By far the most numerous and most flagrant violations of personal liberty and individual rights are performed by governments ... The major crimes throughout history, the ones executed on the largest scale, have been committed not by individuals or bands of individuals but by governments, as a deliberate policy of those governments ...that is, by the official representatives of governments, acting in their official capacity."
—John Hospers
  • "The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
—Senator Hubert H. Humprey
  • "The best society, the best human existence, arrives when humans most closely determine the truth, and act on the truth, and separate it from superstition, falsity, or misinformation. And there is no better system for determining the truth than free speech: Testing the validity of an idea in the waters of public discussion and debate."
—Dave Rodgers
  • "As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is up to us."
—A. J. Toynbee
  • "The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments."
—William E. Borah
  • "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
—H. L. Mencken
  • "Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will pledge with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the "Unknown". When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government."
—Henry Kissinger
  • "Under conditions of tyranny it is far easer to act than to think."
—Hanna Arendt
  • "It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection can create them."
—Che Guevara
  • "Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny."
—Aeschylus
  • "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
—Anais Nin
  • "Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences."
—author unknown
  • "Almost always the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better."
—Martin Luther King, Jr
  • "The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone."
—Henrik Ibsen
  • "Anarchism has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, 'Freedom.' Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully."
—Lucy Parsons
  • "When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
—Robert A. Heinlein
  • "Decades of indoctrination, manipulation, censorship and KGB excursions haven't altered this fact: People want a piece of their own little Something-or-Other, and, if they don't get it, have a tendency to initiate counterrevolution."
—Frank Zappa
  • "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
—Margaret Mead
  • "We have given away far too many freedoms in order to be free. Now it's time to take some back."
—John Le Carre
  • "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
—Malcolm X
  • "It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."
—Alfred Adler
  • "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
—Adolph Hitler (1935-04-15)
  • "In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
—Martin Niemoller
  • "Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."
—Potter Stewart
  • "Pardon one offense, and you encourage the commission of many."
—Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)
  • "Stop tolerating in your leaders what you would not tolerate in your friends."
—Michael Ventura
  • "Don't put constrictions on da people. Leave 'em ta hell alone."
—Jimmy Durante (1950)
  • "There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle."
—Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U. S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
—President Woodrow Wilson (1913)
  • "The year 2000 will be a turning point for the New World Order."
—George Bush (1990)
  • "There's no evidence that these new police powers will actually stop terrorists, but there is a clear and present danger that they will curtail the fundamental civil liberties of Americans."
—Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party National Director
  • "The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
—Adolf Hitler
  • "The events of September 11 would have been impossible if there were no airport security system at all. If average Americans were allowed to carry their personal firearms on board our aircraft ..., the chances that several passengers on each flight would have been armed—and thus able to shoot the hijackers, preventing the Trade Center and Pentagon hits—would have been quite substantial."
—Vin Suprynowicz
  • "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
—Johann W. Von Goethe
  • "What disaster took their reason away from men? What whip lashed them to their knees in shame and submission? The worship of the word 'We.'"
—Ayn Rand, Anthem
  • "The Totalitarian system of thought control is far less effective than the democratic one, since the official doctrine promoted by the intellectuals at the service of the state is readily identifiable as pure propaganda, and this helps free the mind. ...the democratic system seeks to determine and limit the entire spectrum of thought by leaving the fundamental assumptions unexpressed. They are pre-supposed but not asserted."
—C.P. Otero
  • "The rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious."
—Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda
  • "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions."
—Abraham Lincoln
  • "Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. ...The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive."
—Frank Herbert
  • "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
—Vladimir Lenin
  • "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
—George Orwell
  • "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
—Helder Camara
  • "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
—Noam Chomsky
  • "They have exiled me now from their society and I am pleased, because humanity does not exile except the one whose noble spirit rebels against despotism and oppression. He who does not prefer exile to slavery is not free by any measure of freedom, truth and duty."
—Kahil Gibran
  • "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
—Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "He that will not reason is a bigot, He that cannot reason is a fool, He that dares not reason is a slave."
—William Drummond
  • "That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."
—George Orwell
  • "The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve 'the common good.' It is true that capitalism does -- if that catch-phrase has any meaning -- but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification for capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice."
—Ayn Rand
  • "Educators have lost sight of the purpose of a liberal education -- to foster the values of freedom and growth in students and, ultimately, to produce good human beings ... Although most educators agree that a liberal education is important, they spend too much time bickering over course requirements and not enough time talking about the qualities those requirements should instil in students. ... Students' educational success should be a measure of how well they listen, read, write, solve problems,empathize with others, and participate in their communities, not how many credits they accumulate. ... All the required courses in the world will fail to give us a liberal education if, in the act of requiring them, we forget that their purpose is to nurture human freedom and growth."
—William Cronon In autumn 1998 issue of "The American Scholar"
  • "Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education."
—Bertrand Russell
  • "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk."
—Thomas Jefferson
  • "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."
—Isaac Asimov
  • "Only a brave person is willing to honestly admit, and fearlessly to face, what a sincere and logical mind discovers."
—Rodan of Alexandria
  • "The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."
—Oscar Wilde
  • "The law identifies drug users through their blood. Also through their excreta . . . All that matters is a person's blood and excreta. All that matters is the makeup of a person's physical body. Drug law does not care if an illicit user is a beloved schoolteacher who improves a community or a vicious psychopath who tortures victims to death. . . . The law does not care if tests used to detect illicit drug users fail to demonstrate that users are impaired. The law does not care if users behave in ordinary ways. A statute creating a status crime targets ordinary people. That is its purpose. If illicit drug users acted in ways that distinguished them from nonusers, a status crime statute would be unnecessary."
—(R. Miller Drug Warriors and Their Prey, p. 9, 1996.)
  • "While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State."
—Vladimir Lenin
  • "It would be easier to pay off the national debt overnight than to neutralize the long-range effects of our national stupidity."
—Frank Zappa
  • "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."
—Sam Houston
  • "He is always the severest censor of the merit of others who has the least worth of his own."
—Elias Lyman Maggon
  • "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
—Niels Bohr
  • "The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true."
—Robert Oppenheimer
  • "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
—Hunter S. Thompson
  • "These students are going to find out what law and order is all about."
—Robert Canterbury, Commanding General of the Ohio State National Guard, minutes before his troops fired on students at Kent State, 1970
  • "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."
—Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "I was crazy back when being crazy really meant something."
—Charles Manson
  • "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."
—Mark Twain
  • "As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it."
—Dick Cavett
  • "Once I moved about like the wind. Now I surrender to you and that is all."
—Geronimo, surrendering to the US, 1886
  • "Sum Ergo Cogito." ("I Am Therefore I Think.")
  • A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
—Mark Twain
  • Those who trade a little freedom for a little security will lose both and deserve neither.
—Thomas Jefferson
  • People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it
—George Bernard Shaw
  • How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be When there's no help in truth!
—Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
  • They had not persuaded me . . . but they had troubled me. Their arguments had shaken me without ever convincing me. It is hard to prevent oneself from believing what one so keenly desires.
—Rousseau
  • What a man desires to be true he also believes to be true.
—Demosthenes
  • Nature abhors a vacuum or Nature abhors a wrinkle
—Akins
  • Science is the art of asking the right questions
—author unknown
  • Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
—Thoreau
  • Marriage Ceremony: An incredible metaphysical sham of watching God and the law being dragged into the affairs of your family.
—O. C. Ogilvie
  • I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.
—Groucho Marx
  • You know you are being fair and balanced when everybody hates you.
—author unknown
  • "Having been brought up in a serf-owner's family, I entered active life, like all young men of my time, with a great deal of confidence in the necessity of commanding, ordering, scolding, punishing and the like. But when, at an early stage, I had to manage serious enterprises and to deal with [free] men, and when each mistake would lead at once to heavy consequences, I began to appreciate the difference between acting on the principle of command and discipline and acting on the principle of common understanding. The former works admirably in a military parade, but it is worth nothing where real life is concerned, and the aim can be achieved only through the severe effort of many converging wills."
Pyotr Alexeyvich Kropotkin (Memoirs of a Revolutionist)
  • "I know no lie more abject than the expression taught to children 'Healthy mind in healthy body'. Who ever said a healthy mind was a desirable goal? 'Healthy', in this case, means stupid, conventional, lacking imagination and malice, domesticated by the stereotypes of established morals and official religion. Is that a 'healthy' mind? No! It's a conformist mind, the mind of a monk, of a notary, an insurance agent, an altar boy, a virgin, a boyscout. That's not health, that's a defect. A rich and personal mental life requires curiosity, malice, fantasies and unsatisfied desires, in other words, a 'dirty' mind -- evil thoughts, flowering of forbidden images, appetites that lead to the exploration of the unknown and the renovation of the known, and systematic challenges to inherited ideas, hackneyed knowledge, and accepted values."
—excerpt from 'The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto' by Mario Vargas Llosa.
  • "Ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after

death."

—Einstein
  • "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."
—Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
  • "And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers Is always the first to be touched by the thorns."
—Thomas Moore (1779-1852)
  • "The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more."
—Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
  • "Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity--I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character."
—Plato (427-347 B.C.)
  • "Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful."
—Plato (427-347 B.C.)
  • "Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection."
author unknown

Design

  • "Perfection (in design) is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (29 June 1900 – presumably 31 July 1944)

Shakespeare

From "The Merchant of Venice":

  • "I hold the world but as the world Gratiano, A stage where every man must play his part, And mine a sad one."
—(Antonio, I.i)
  • "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
—(Antonio, I.iii)
  • "The weakest kind of fruit drops earliest to the ground."
—(Antonio, IV.i)
  • "The quality of mercy is not strain'd, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
—(Portia, IV.i)
  • "How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
—(Portia at V, i)

Scepticism

science will be taken to mean: a set of mental and behavioural methods designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomenon, past or present, aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation. In other words, science is a specific way of thinking and acting—a tool for understanding information that is perceived directly or indirectly ("observed or inferred"). "Past or present" refers to both the historical and the experimental sciences. Mental methods include hunches, guesses, ideas, hypotheses, theories, and paradigms; behavioural methods include background research, data collection, data organization, colleague collaboration and communication, experiments, correlation of findings, statistical analyses, manuscript preparation, conference presentations, and publications.

"scientific method":

  1. Observation: Gathering data through the senses or sensory enhancing technologies.
  2. Induction: Drawing general conclusions from the data. Forming hypothesis.
  3. Deduction: Making specific predictions from the general conclusions.
  4. Verification: Checking the predictions against further observations.

This process constitutes the core of what philosophers of science call the hypothetico-deductive method, which involves "(a) putting forward a hypothesis, (b) conjoining it with a statement of 'initial conditions', (c) deducing from the two a prediction, and (d) finding whether or not the prediction is fulfilled" (Bynum, Browne, Porter, 1981, p. 196). It is not possible to say which came first, the observation or the hypothesis, since we do both from childhood, through school, to college, into graduate training, and on the job as scientists. But Observations are what flesh out the hypothetico-deductive process and serve as the final arbiter for the validity of the predictions, as Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington noted: "For the truth of the conclusions of science, observation is the supreme court of appeal" (1958, p. 9).

Hypothesis: A testable statement to account for a set of observations. Theory: A well-supported testable statement to account for a set of observations. Fact: Data or conclusions confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement.

A hypothesis and theory may be contrasted with a construct: a non-testable statement to account for a set of observations. The observation of living organisms on Earth may be accounted for by God or by evolution. The first statement is a construct, the second a theory. Most biologists would even call evolution a fact by the above definition.

Historian of science, Frank Sulloway, identifies three characteristics of Darwin's intellect and personality that mark him as one of the handful of giants in the history of science who found the essential tension between scepticism and credulity (1991, p. 28): "First, although Darwin indeed had unusual reverence for the opinions of others, he was obviously quite capable of challenging authority and thinking for himself." Second, "Darwin was also unusual as a scientist in his extreme respect for, and attention to, negative evidence." Darwin included, for example, a chapter on "Difficulties on Theory" in the Origin of Species; as a result his objectors were rarely able to present him with a challenge that he had not already confronted or addressed. Third, Darwin's "ability to tap the collective resources of the scientific community and to enlist other scientists as fellow collaborators in his own research projects." Darwin's collected correspondence numbers greater than 16,000 extant letters, most of which involve lengthy discussions and question-and-answer sequences about scientific problems. He was constantly questioning, always learning, confident enough to formulate original ideas, yet modest enough to recognize his own fallibility.

A fourth characteristic that might be added is that Darwin maintained a good dollop of modesty and cautiousness that Sulloway sees as "a valuable attribute" that helps "prevent an overestimation of one's own theories." There is much to be learned in this regard from Darwin's Autobiography. Darwin confesses that he has "no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so remarkable in some clever men," a lack of which makes him "a poor critic: a paper or book, when first read, generally excites my admiration, and it is only after considerable reflection that I perceive the weak points."

Carl Sagan summed up this essential tension (in Basil, 1988, p. 366):

It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most sceptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. If you are only sceptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of sceptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.

It is assumed that human beings are born with the ability to perceive cause-and-effect relationships. When we are born we have no cultural experience whatsoever. But we do not come into the world completely ignorant. We know lots of things—how to see, hear, digest food, track a moving object in the visual field, blink at approaching objects, become anxious when placed over a ledge, develop a taste aversion for noxious foods, and so on. We also inherit the traits our ancestors evolved in a world filled with predators and natural disasters, poisons and dangers, and risks from all sides. We are descended from the most successful ancestors at understanding causality.

Our brains are natural machines for piecing together events that may be related and for solving problems that require our attention. One can envision an ancient hominid from Africa chipping and grinding and shaping a rock into a sharp tool for carving up a large mammalian carcass. Or perhaps we can imagine the first individual who discovered that knocking flint would create a spark with which to light a fire. The wheel, the lever, the bow and arrow, the plow—inventions intended to allow us to shape our environment rather than be shaped by it—started civilization down a path that led to our modern scientific and technological world.

Vincent Dethier, whose words opened this manifesto, in his discussion of the rewards of science, recounts a pantheon of the obvious ones—monetary, security, honour—as well as the transcendent: "a passport to the world, a feeling of belonging to one race, a feeling that transcends political boundaries and ideologies, religions, and languages." But he brushes these aside for one "more lofty and more subtle." This is the natural curiosity of humans in their drive to understand the world (pp. 118-119):

One of the characteristics that sets man apart from all the other animals (and animal he undubitably is) is a need for knowledge for its own sake. Many animals are curious, but in them curiosity is a facet of adaptation. Man has a hunger to know. And to many a man, being endowed with the capacity to know, he has a duty to know. All knowledge, however small, however irrelevant to progress and well-being, is a part of the whole. It is of this the scientist partakes. To know the fly is to share a bit in the sublimity of Knowledge. That is the challenge and the joy of science.

As Ayn Rand concluded in her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged (1957, p. 1012):

Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it….Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch—or build a cyclotron—without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.

Over three centuries ago the French philosopher and sceptic René Descartes, after one of the most thorough sceptical purges in intellectual history, concluded that he knew one thing for certain: "Cogito ergo sum." "I think therefore I am." By a similar analysis, to be human is to think. Therefore, to paraphrase Descartes:

Poetry

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

-- William Blake (Auguries of Innocence)


I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
Flood, fire, and demon—his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him. He is nothing more nor less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess;
Or answer. I will only make him good.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay


"Alone"

The strectch acroos this earth-ball:
roads without number or name,
but all are alike:
their goal is the same.
You can ride, you can travel 5
with a friend of you own;
the final step
you must walk alone.
No wisdom is better
than this, when known: 10
that every hard thing
is done alone.

-- Hermann Hesse


HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

-- William Butler Yeats (Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven)


"High Flight"

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

-- John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

External links

Subcategories

This category has only the following subcategory.