Quotations of Wisdom

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Lily Tomlin

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. [Q1945]

George Bernard Shaw

Periods of increasing tensions end to become periods of increasing repressions. Soon freedom of speech may become only freedom to say acceptable things. Even thinking, except for the orthodox, may become precarious. [Q1849]

Ralph Johnson

Software is not limited by physics, like buildings are. It is limited by imagination, by design, by organization. In short, it is limited by properties of people, not by properties of the world. [Q248]

Thomas Jefferson

I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. — wrote Jefferson (to George Logan, 1816. FE 10:69) [Q304]

Socrates

Wisdom begins in wonder. [Q764]

Al Gore

Our democracy, our constitutional framework is really a kind of software for harnessing the creativity and political imagination for all of our people. The American democratic system was an early political version of Napster. [Q1245]

Sir Francis Bacon

Practical men, like owls, see clearly in the dim twilight of their preconceptions and are blinded by the bright light of truth. [Q1871]

Blaise Pascal

He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright. [Q587]

Caine

The years have been good. Quiet and measured. Flowing slowly like water. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q514]

George McGovern

Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all. — 1972 Democratic Convention, Miami Florida [Q2026]

David S Allen

Over time, the stories journalist tell about their place in democracy have changed from claiming rights enjoyed by all citizens to rights enjoyed by a privileged professional group. — Democracy, Inc. — Introduction — Page 10 [Q240]

Swami Vivekananda

If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. [Q1138]

Richard P. Feynman

The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. ... No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it. [Q972]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Beware how you take away hope from another human being. [Q1075]

Master Kan

Ten million living things have as many worlds. Do not see yourself as the center of the universe, wise and good and beautiful. Seek, rather, wisdom, goodness, and beauty, that you may honor them everywhere. — Kung Fu Series 1972 — Episode # 9 [Q527]

Hippocrates

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

Ward Cunningham

I wouldn't think to start a program from first principles. If I want to make a program, I want to find the people who know kind of how to do it, and say, come sit with me, come help me get started. Let's talk to each other. [Q220]

Margaret Mead

A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again. [Q1414]

Epictetus

All religions must be tolerated... for every man must get to heaven in his own way. [Q809]

Scott Nesler

I worry about the fate of the citizens when hate, fear, ignorance, and chaos becomes the most effective methods for political change. Coherency, community, and courtesy should be given equal opportunity. [Q184]

David Mitchell

My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops? &mdash Cloud Atlas [Q2092]

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]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children. [Q1081]

Donald E. Westlake

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

Scott Nesler

The lack of a common language is a barrier. Even with the same dialect, each technology contains its own obtrusive jargon. Joining together a diverse group in a common language requires time and resources which many are not motivated to provide. [Q378]

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]

Woodrow Wilson

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. [Q748]

Mark Twain

Don't let schooling interfere with your education. [Q60]

Andy Warhol

The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet. [Q580]

Thomas Paine

Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad. [Q263]

Scott Nesler

The song He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones reminded me of teenage heartbreak. I thought of what people do with fame. Fame comes by chance. It's used for good or not at all. We gauge fame from a triggered emotion. George Jones shared an unbridled empathy divorced from negative emotion. What a rare gift this man provided his admirers. [Q2072]

Carl Jung

If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool. [Q254]

Robert Pirsig

Any effort which has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster. [Q375]

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]

Socrates

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. [Q1315]

Alexis de Tocqueville

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in? [Q957]

Isaac Newton

To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. [Q370]

Mustafa Kemal

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

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

[Q1926]

Sophocles

Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution. [Q1255]

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]

George Washington

... there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community as in ours, it is proportionably essential. To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways: by convincing those who are entrusted with the public administration, that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people; and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigences of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness—cherishing the first, avoiding the last; and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws. [Q1834]

Senator Paul Simon

Elijah Lovejoy's Speech

I feel, Mr. Chairman, that this is the most solemn moment of my life. I feel, I trust, in some measure the responsibilities which at this hour I sustain to these, my fellow-citizens, to the Church of which I am a minister, to my country, and to God. And let me beg of you, before I proceed further, to construe nothing I shall say as being disrespectful to this assembly. I have no such feeling; far from it. And if I do not act or speak according to their wishes at all times, it is because I cannot conscientiously do it.

It is proper I should state the whole matter, as I understand it, before this audience. I do not stand here to argue the question, as presented by the report of the committee. My only wonder is that the honourable gentleman, the chairman of that committee, for whose character I entertain great respect, though I have not the pleasure of his personal acquaintance—my only wonder is how that gentleman could have brought himself to submit such a report.

Mr. Chairman, I do not admit that it is the business of this assembly to decide whether I shall or shall not publish a newspaper in this city. The gentlemen have, as the lawyers say, made a wrong issue. I have the right to do it. I know that I have the right freely to speak and publish my sentiments, subject only to the laws of the land for the abuse of that right. This right was given me by my Maker; and is solemnly guaranteed to me by the constitution of these United States, and of this State. What I wish to know of you is, whether you will protect me in the exercise of this right; or whether, as heretofore, I am to be subjected to personal indignity and outrage. These resolutions, and the measures proposed by them, are spoken of as a compromise—a compromise between two parties. Mr. Chairman, this is not so. There is but one party here. It is simply a question whether the law shall be enforced, or whether the mob shall be allowed, as they now do, to continue to trample it under their feet, by violating with impunity the rights of an innocent individual.

Mr. Chairman, what have I to compromise? If freely to forgive those who have so greatly injured me, if to pray for their temporal and eternal happiness, if still to wish for the prosperity of your city and State, notwithstanding all the indignities I have suffered in it—if this be the compromise intended, then do I willingly make it. My rights have been shamefully, wickedly outraged; this I know, and feel, and can never forget. But I can and do freely forgive those who have done it. But if by a compromise is meant that I should cease from doing that which duty requires of me, I cannot make it. And the reason is, that I fear God more than I fear man. Think not that I would lightly go contrary to public sentiment around me. The good opinion of my fellow-men is dear to me, and I would sacrifice anything but principle to obtain their good wishes; but when they ask me to surrender this, they ask for more than I can, than I dare give. Reference is made to the fact that I offered a few days since to give up the editorship of the Observer into other hands. This is true; I did so because it was thought or said by some that perhaps the paper would be better patronised in other hands. They declined accepting my offer, however, and since then we have heard from the friends and supporters of the paper in all parts of the State. There was but one sentiment among them, and this was, that the paper could be sustained in no other hands than mine. It is also a very different question, whether I shall voluntarily, or at the request of friends, yield up my post, or whether I shall forsake it at the demand of a mob. The former I am at all times ready to do, when circumstances occur to require it, as I will never put my personal wishes or interests in competition with the cause of that Master whose minister I am. But the latter, be assured, I NEVER will do. God, in his providence, so say all my brethren, and so I think, has devolved upon me the responsibility of maintaining my ground here; and, Mr. Chairman, I am determined to do it. A voice comes to me from Maine, from Massachusetts, from Connecticut, from New York, from Pennsylvania—yea, from Kentucky, from Mississippi, from Missouri—calling upon me, in the name of all that is dear in heaven or earth, to stand fast; and by the help of God, I WILL STAND. I know I am but one, and you are many. My strength would avail but little against you all. You can crush me, if you will; but I shall die at my post, for I cannot and will not forsake it.

Why should I flee from Alton? Is not this a free State? When assailed by a mob at St. Louis, I came hither, as to the home of freedom and of the laws. The mob has pursued me here, and why should I retreat again? Where can I be safe, if not here? Have not I a right to claim the protection of the laws? What more can I have in any other place? Sir, the very act of retreating will embolden the mob to follow me wherever I go. No, sir, there is no way to escape the mob but to abandon the path of duty, and that, God helping me, I will never do.

It has been said here that my hand is against every man, and every man's hand against me. The last part of the declaration is too painfully true. I do indeed find almost every hand lifted against me; but against whom, in this place, has my hand been raised? I appeal to every individual present; whom of you have I injured? Whose character have I traduced? Whose family have I molested? Whose business have I meddled with? If any, let him rise here and testify against me. [No one answers]

And do not your resolutions say that you find nothing against my private or personal character? And does any one believe that, if there was anything to be found, it would not be found and brought forth? If in anything I have offended against the law, I am not so popular in this community as that it would be difficult to convict me. You have courts, and judges, and juries; they find nothing against me. And now you come together for the purpose of driving out a confessedly innocent man, for no cause but that he dares to think and speak as his conscience and his God dictate. Will conduct like this stand the scrutiny of your country, of posterity, above all, of the judgment-day? For remember, the Judge of that day is no respecter of persons. Pause, I beseech you, and reflect! the present excitement will soon be over; the voice of conscience will at last be heard. And in some season of honest thought, even in this world, as you review the scenes of this hour, you will be compelled to say, `He was right; he was right!'

But you have been exhorted to be lenient and compassionate, and in driving me away to affix no unnecessary disgrace upon me. Sir, I reject all such compassion. You cannot disgrace me. Scandal, and falsehood, and calumny have already done their worst. My shoulders have borne the burden till it sits easy upon them. You may hang me up as the mob hung up the individuals of Vicksburg! You may burn me at the stake, as they did McIntosh at St. Louis, or you may tar and feather me, or throw me into the Mississippi, as you have often threatened to do; but you cannot disgrace me. I, and I alone, can disgrace myself; and the deepest of all disgrace would be, at a time like this, to deny my Master by forsaking his cause. He died for me, and I were most unworthy to bear his name should I refuse, if need be, to die for him!

Again, you have been told that I have a family, who are dependent on me, and this has been given as a reason why I should be driven off as gently as possible. It is true, Mr. Chairman, I am a husband and a father; and this it is that adds the bitterest ingredient to the cup of sorrow I am called to drink. I am made to feel the wisdom of the Apostle's advice, `It is better not to marry.' I know sir, that in this contest I stake not my life only, but that of others also. I do not expect my wife will ever recover the shock received at the awful scenes through which she was called to pass at St. Charles. And how was it the other night on my return to my house? I found her driven to the garret, through fear of the mob, who were prowling round my house; and scarcely had I entered the house ere my windows were broken in by the brickbats of the mob, and she so alarmed that it was impossible for her to sleep or rest that night. I am hunted as a partridge upon the mountains; I am pursued as a felon through your streets; and to the guardian power of the law I look in vain for that protection against violence which even the vilest criminal may claim.

Yet think not that I am unhappy. Think not that I regret the choice that I have made. While all around me is violence and tumult, all is peace within. An approving conscience and the rewarding smile of God is a full recompense for all that I forego and all that I endure. Yes, sir, I enjoy a peace which nothing can destroy. I sleep sweetly and undisturbed, except when awaked by the brickbats of the mob.

No, sir, I am not unhappy. I have counted the cost and stand prepared freely to offer up my all in the service of God. Yes, sir, I am fully aware of all the sacrifices I make in here pledging myself to continue this contest to the last. (Forgive these tears—I had not intended to shed them, and they flow not for myself, but others.) But I am commanded to forsake father, and mother, and wife, and children for Jesus' sake; and as his professed disciple I stand prepared to do it. The time for fulfilling this pledge in my case, it seems to me, has come. Sir, I dare not flee away from Alton. Should I attempt it, I should feel that the angel of the Lord, with his flaming sword, was pursuing me wherever I went. It is because I fear God that I am not afraid of all who oppose me in this city. No, sir, the contest has commenced here, and here it must be finished. Before God and you all, I here pledge myself to continue it, if need be, till death. If I fall, my grave shall be made in Alton.

[Q1888]

Tryon Edwards

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

Napoleon Bonaparte

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

David S Allen

... the values of corporations, which emphasize efficiency, maximizing profits, scientific reasoning, and winning as opposed to understanding, have become the values of the public sphere. — Democracy, Inc Introduction (Page 2) [Q190]

Mohandas Gandhi

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. [Q557]

Dante Alighieri

The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and bad treatment it is. [Q1515]

Plato

To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less. [Q907]

Franz Kafka

By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself. [Q303]

Winston Churchill

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is. [Q690]

Marshall McLuhan

Madison Avenue is a very powerful aggression against private consciousness. A demand that you yield your private consciousness to public manipulation. [Q1464]

Václav Havel

Today's world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats. From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility. Thus, the only way to save our world, as I see it, lies in a democracy that recalls its ancient Greek roots: democracy based on an integral human personality personally answering for the fate of the community. [Q1800]

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]

David Hume

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

Jonas Salk

Nothing happens quite by chance. It's a question of accretion of information and experience ... it's just chance that I happened to be here at this particular time when there was available and at my disposal the great experience of all the investigators who plodded along for a number of years. [Q485]

John Boyd Orr

There can be no peace in the world so long as a large proportion of the population lack the necessities of life and believe that a change of the political and economic system will make them available. World peace must be based on world plenty. [Q1156]

Senator Paul Simon

With flawed understanding, I try to reach reality in religion. But I know my understanding is flawed, and that helps to avoid excessively dogmatic assertions. [Q1696]

Stephen Hawking

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. [Q732]

Aristotle

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life. [Q854]

Scott Nesler

It's a fact that facts are misused. [Q52]

David Brooks

When you cover politics, you realize that knowing how to talk about character matters more and more. The way we hold ideas is more important than the ideas. [Q470]

Wendell Berry

A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. [Q1319]

Heraclitus

Much learning does not teach understanding. [Q917]

Barbara Deming

We believe, in fact, that the one act of respect has little force unless matched by the other, in balance with it. The acting out of that dual respect I would name as precisely the source of our power. [Q1394]

Eric Raymond

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter. [Q675]

Woodrow Wilson

Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Therefore all of our activities are in the hands of a small group of men who chill and check true economic freedom. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, completely controlled and dominated governments in the world. No longer a government of the majority but a government of the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. - Attributed by the movie Ethos [Q1973]

Robert Bárány

The incorrectness and weaknesses of a theory cause other minds to formulate the problems more exactly and in this way scientific progress is made. [Q1434]

Phil Jackson

Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength. [Q206]

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. [Q662]

Benjamin Franklin

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing. [Q1880]

Albert Einstein

May the conscience and the common sense of the peoples be awakened, so that we may reach a new stage in the life of nations, where people will look back on war as an incomprehensible aberration of their forefathers! [Q583]

Aristotle

I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law. [Q847]

Plutarch

Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage. [Q775]

Francis Kissling
 

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

Blaise Pascal

How can a part know the whole [Q669]

Jean-Luc Picard

You can commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life. [Q172]

Episode 109 Snap Judgement

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

Dan Dennet

The secret of happiness: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it. [Q1984]

Saul Alinsky

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict. [Q990]

Senator Paul Simon

There are times when right is right and wrong is wrong — when you have to stand up, even though it may be unpopular. Had Lincoln taken a poll, he never would have issued his then unpopular Emancipation Proclamation. [Q1894]

Lenny Bruce

The liberals can understand everything but people who don't understand them. [Q336]

Swami Vivekananda

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them. [Q1141]

Albert Einstein

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. [Q121]

Epictetus

Unless we place our religion and our treasure in the same thing, religion will always be sacrificed. [Q826]

Julian Assange

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

Plato

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

Enrico Fermi

There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. [Q320]

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]

Theodore Roosevelt

Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures. [Q1285]

Marshall McLuhan

As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.' [Q1454]

Franklin Roosevelt

Theirs were not the gods of things as they were, but of the gods of things as they ought to be. — Speaking of Thomas Jefferson. — Monticello - Studio 360 [Q1147]

Marie Curie

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

Epictetus

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid. [Q815]

Robert Fuller

When we're unable to stand up to put-downs, we hate those who diminish us; those who, assuming their own superiority, condescend to us or presume to know what's best for us. When we find ourselves without resources or allies, we despise those who take us for nobodies. [Q1348]

Miles Davis

You can dominate a game if you dominate on the line... We're just going to have to go out there and work hard and blow people off the ball, and let our runners do what they do best. [Q2057]

Václav Havel

Cultural conflicts are increasing and are understandably more dangerous today than at any other time in history. The end of the era of rationalism has been catastrophic. Armed with the same supermodern weapons, often from the same suppliers, and followed by television cameras, the members of various tribal cults are at war with one another. [Q1805]

Senator Paul Simon

Attorney General James Austin of Massachusetts stood. He referred to blacks as "wild beast" and to the mob as men like the patriots who threw the tea overboard in the famed Boston Tea Party. (Meeting at Faneuil Hall in Boston regarding the death of Elijah Lovejoy.) [Q1891]

Miles Davis

Don't play what's there, play what's not there. [Q2052]

Virgil

If ye despise the human race, and mortal arms, yet remember that there is a God who is mindful of right and wrong. [Q1581]

Carl Sagan

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. [Q225]

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