Quotations of Wisdom

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Václav Havel

You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. [Q1782]

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge. [Q663]

Robert Krulwich

When a cousin, or an uncle, or a buddy comes up and asks you, "so what are you working on?" even if it's hard to explain, even if you know they don't really want to hear it - not really - I urge you to give it a try. Because talking about science, telling stories to regular folks is not a trivial thing. Scientists need to tell stories to non-scientists because science stories - and you know this - have to compete with other stories about how the universe works and how the universe came to be. And some of those other stories - Bible stories, movie stories, myths - can be very beautiful and very compelling. But to protect science, and scientists - this is not a gentle competition - you've got to get in there and tell yours, your version of how things are and why things came to be. [Q724]


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


Even virtue is fairer when it appears in a beautiful person. [Q1575]

Andy Kaufman

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

Wendell Berry

Do not think me gentle because I speak in praise of gentleness, or elegant because I honor the grace that keeps this world. I am a man crude as any, gross of speech, intolerant, stubborn, angry, full of fits and furies. That I may have spoken well at times, is not natural. A wonder is what it is. [Q1341]

Douglas Rushkoff

Programming is the sweet spot, the high leverage point in a digital society. If we don’t learn to program, we risk being programmed ourselves. [Q1291]

Orrin G. Hatch

For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation's most important health legislation. — Referring to Ted Kennedy. [Q284]


A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. [Q871]

Adlai Stevenson

As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end. [Q1646]

Scott Nesler

There is no right to be heard. [Q97]


Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by religion. [Q1564]

Blaise Pascal

It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants. [Q591]

John F. Kennedy

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. [Q1503]


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

Albert Einstein

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. [Q372]

Debra Smith TED - Can we question the great thinkers

If it feels impossible it may be because you have not yet marshalled a compelling case/argument or presented it in an approachable fashion. There are times, however, that the mind you need to change has already made a decision based on limited knowledge it has. At this point that self-reflection should click in and you need to be asking yourself if they know something you do not. [Q1960]


Do not talk a little on many subjects, but much on a few. [Q925]

Orison Swett Marden

You cannot measure a man by his failures. You must know what use he makes of them. What did they mean to him. What did he get out of them. [Q467]

Master Kan

If we have the wisdom to learn, all may teach us their virtues. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q517]

William Gibson

I don't have to write about the future. For most people, the present is enough like the future to be pretty scary. [Q680]


To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle. [Q15]


There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good. [Q903]

Blaise Pascal

If man made himself the first object of study, he would see how incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole? [Q589]

Howard Zinn

If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves. [Q385]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons. [Q411]

Dalai Lama

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. [Q543]

Wendell Berry

Individualism is going around these days in uniform, handing out the party line on individualism. [Q1322]


When words are no better than silence, one should remain silent. - Kung Fu Television Series 1972 [Q508]

Milton S Hershey

One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy and only useful as he contributes his influences for the finer callings in life. [Q1391]

Brian David Josephson

Logical thinking is thinking based on propositions and on consideration of the truth or falsity of propositions. Its primary usefulness is in situations where facts can be relied on to remain facts — in other words, in circumstances where nothing really new or unexpected is likely to happen. — Prologue to Edward de Bono's I am Right You are Wrong [Q1988]

Robert N. Charrette

Not admitting what you don't know, as well as not being able to reverse decisions in the face of refuting information, are the call signs of imminent project failure. — Sowing the Seeds of Failure [Q1131]

René Descartes

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt. [Q1121]

Buckminster Fuller

If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference. [Q109]

Steven Spielberg

We have to realize that people are not born with hatred. They acquire it. We have the responsibility to listen to the voices of history so that future generations never forget what so few lived to tell! [Q1221]

Murray Gell-Mann

I have been interested in phenomena involving complexity, diversity and evolution since I was a young boy. [Q979]

Henry Lawson

We shall never be understood or respected by the English until we carry our individuality to extremes, and by asserting our independence, become of sufficient consequence in their eyes to merit a closer study than they have hitherto accorded us. [Q429]

Senator Paul Simon

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

Buckminster Fuller

People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things. [Q111]

Noam Chomsky

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public. [Q162]

Senator Paul Simon

Our race into more and more business mergers is generally not healthy, thought in some instances it is. Our tax laws encourage these mergers. For example, when U.S. Steel (now USX Corporation) borrowed $5.6 billion to buy Marathon Oil, it did not increase steel productivity, it did not cause any more oil wells to be drilled, it added nothing to the nation's productivity. But the interest they paid on that purchase is tax deductible — ultimately subsidized by you and me. It eats up money on the financial markets, increasing interest. [Q1732]

Stephen Hawking

It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years. [Q729]

David Hume

What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call thought. [Q1365]

Napoleon Bonaparte

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. [Q92]

Václav Havel

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

Charles Lindbergh

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values... God made life simple. It is man who complicates it. [Q1934]

Miles Davis

I'll play it first and tell you what it is later. [Q2056]


We ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use we throw away. [Q791]

Maya Angelou

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

Clarence Darrow

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

Edward de Bono

Sometimes it is not enough just to be against something. Pressure groups can be powerful in bringing something to an end. But in many cases there is also a need for constructive ideas. (from the book, I am Right, you are wrong. page 22) [Q2000]


The eyes of the soul of the multitudes are unable to endure the vision of the divine. [Q897]

Guy Debord

Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs. [Q713]

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]

Clarence Darrow

Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom; Justice is what comes out of a courtroom. [Q1103]


Those who aim at great deeds must also suffer greatly. [Q789]

Margaret Mead

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

Tryon Edwards

Mystery is but another name for ignorance; if we were omniscient, all would be perfectly plain! [Q712]

Michel de Montaigne

I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind - and to work some of those contradictions out for myself. [Q1170]


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]

William O. Douglas

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor. [Q998]

John Boyd Orr

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

Senator Paul Simon

We have two major flaws — and a number of minor ones — in our political process: first, our system of financing campaigns, and second, the scientific pandering through polls that has come to dominate decision-making. [Q1818]

Václav Havel

The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both. [Q1754]


The life so short, the craft so long to learn. [Q1033]

Wendell Berry

Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call “the economy” or “the free market” is less and less distinguishable from warfare. [Q1337]

Bill Gates

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. [Q1292]

Jean-Luc Picard

Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged. [Q170]


Pleasant it is, when over a great sea the winds trouble the waters, to gaze from shore upon another's great tribulation; not because any man's troubles are a delectable joy, but because to perceive you are free of them yourself is pleasant. [Q1561]

Thomas Jefferson

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

René Descartes

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

Robert Bárány

The interpretation of facts in a certain way stimulates other scientists' thoughts. [Q1435]

George Taylor

If this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet. [Q1603]

Julian Assange

Which country is suffering from too much freedom of speech? Name it, is there one? [Q1212]

Scott Nesler

If your desire is stagnation, finding an argument which is 180 degrees opposed to yours will help. If your desire is to move your argument in a specified direction, finding a similar argument within 15 degrees of separation is a better pool to recruit from. [Q142]


When you cease to strive to understand then you will know without understanding. [Q11]

Edward de Bono

The to-and-fro of political argument has little constructive or creative force. This is because argument was never intended to be creative or constructive. Argument is meant to reveal the truth, not create it. Argument can oppose a bad idea and can modify, and thereby improve, a good idea. But it does not design new ideas any more than garden shears grow a garden. Politicians, however, do not have to be creative. For ideas they listen to their advisers and analysts. (from the book, I am Right, you are wrong. Page 22. [Q2002]

Thurgood Marshall

What is the quality of your intent? [Q758]

Jack Kerouac

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

Isaac Newton

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. [Q369]

Michel de Montaigne

The ceaseless labour of your life is to build the house of death. [Q1175]

Oscar Wilde

In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever. [Q620]

Marie Curie

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

Stephen Jay Gould

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question. [Q1809]

Thomas Paine

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. [Q274]

George Orwell

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

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]

Albert Camus

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

Paul Krugman

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

Kurt Gödel

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

Mustafa Kemal

...by complete independence, we mean of course complete economic, financial, juridical, military, cultural independence and freedom in all matters. Being deprived of independence in any of these is equivalent to the nation and country being deprived of all its independence. [Q1928]

Albert Einstein

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. [Q361]


The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. [Q822]

Grover Cleveland

The ship of democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those on board. [Q499]

Nicholas Sparks

Because publishing is becoming more business-oriented each day with more examination of the bottom line, it's harder to break out than ever. [Q1195]

Harry Truman

Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican the people will choose the Republican every time. [Q1710]

Scott Nesler

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

George Washington Carver

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. [Q317]

Henry David Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. [Q1614]

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