Quotations of Wisdom

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David S Allen

As historians and social critics have noted, inherent in corporate liberalism is the idea that the corporation, not the individual, is at the center of protection. — Democracy, Inc — Introduction Page 7. [Q238]

Dwight D. Eisenhower

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. [Q1275]

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]

Dante Alighieri

He listens well who takes notes. [Q1509]

Ramana Maharshi

The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress. [Q1041]

Carl Bernstein

The lowest form of popular culture - lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people's lives - has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage. [Q625]

Václav Havel

The attempt to devote oneself to literature alone is a most deceptive thing, and often, paradoxically, it is literature that suffers for it. [Q1752]

Senator Paul Simon

But when people in the name of any religion claims to have the sole possession of truth, they have crossed the line from faith to arrogance. [Q1701]

Jawaharlal Nehru

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new; when an age ends; and when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance. [Q991]

Murray Gell-Mann

Of course the word chaos is used in rather a vague sense by a lot of writers, but in physics it means a particular phenomenon, namely that in a nonlinear system the outcome is often indefinitely, arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in the initial condition. [Q980]

Henry David Thoreau

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

Robert J Gula

Men and woman may be rational animals, but they are not by nature reasoning animals. Careful and clear thinking requires a certain rigor; it is a skill, and, like all skills, it requires training, practice, and vigilance. [Q1183]

Bertrand Russell

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine. [Q443]

Edward de Bono

The sheer ability of journalist to comprehend different fields is usually limited, so they have to fall back on three basics: the human angle; some gimmick aspect; attack. The prime purpose is not exposition of the subject but journalistic 'interest'. The ludecy is clear. Commercial democracy has its own ludecy. The larger the readership or the viewership the higher the advertising rates, so the search for the mass market is necessary. Clash and controversy are intrinsically more interesting than agreement, so disagreements have to be played up and emphasized. Scandals are fun, so personalities rate more than substance. — Page 266, Chapter titled, "Communication", I Am Right You are Wrong [Q2032]

Thor Heyerdahl

I don't believe in war as a solution to any kind of conflict, nor do I believe in heroism on the battlefield because I have never seen any. [Q1534]

Murray Gell-Mann

We are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game. [Q981]

Charles Lindbergh

All mentally well-balanced persons know that we are not governed by the true principals of social justice when we make the main aim of our social existence the gaining of money. [Q1940]


Death is not the worst that can happen to men. [Q877]

Henry David Thoreau

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. [Q59]

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]

René Descartes

When it is not in our power to follow what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable. [Q1127]

René Descartes

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

Jonas Salk

When things get bad enough, then something happens to correct the course. And it is that sense I speak of evolution as an error-making and error-correctiong process. And if we can be ever so much better — ever so much slightly better — at error correcting than at error making, then we'll make it. [Q489]

Bill Withers

The thing I always tell my kids—it's ok to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful you are going to have to pass through alright. Take a good look around at alright and get used to it because that may be as far as you are going to go. Most people don't know or don't care who you are. Kinda like pennies—you have them in your pocket but you don't know they are there. [Q1947]

Stephen Hawking

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special. [Q733]

Senator Paul Simon

He has the right to form his opinions and the right to express them — and the day the right freely to express our own thoughts is taken from us, that day will be the last of our religious and political freedom. Alton Telegraph, Aug 10, 1836 in response to Elijah's first press thrown into the Mississippi River. [Q1884]


It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. [Q816]

Jack Kerouac

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

Jesse Jackson

No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams. [Q1551]


If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another. [Q798]

Bill Moyer

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

Ward Cunningham

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

Mohandas Gandhi

Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. [Q570]

Elbert Hubbart

Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. [Q1385]

John Boyd Orr

When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes. [Q1159]

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]

Lao Tzu

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. [Q1618]

Henry Buckle

Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it. [Q1864]

John Boyd Orr

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

Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. [Q1955]

Christopher Alexander

The difference between prose and poetry is not that different languages are used, but that the same language is used differently. In an ordinary English sentence, each word has one meaning, and the sentence too, has one simple meaning. In a poem, the meaning is far more dense. Each word carries several meanings; and the sentence as a whole carries an enormous density of interlocking meanings, which together illuminate the whole. [Q666]

Bryant McGill

Where wise actions are the fruit of life, wise discourse is the pollination. [Q1381]


Good means not merely not to do wrong, but rather not to desire to do wrong. [Q766]


Courage consists not in hazarding without fear; but being resolutely minded in a just cause. [Q774]

Scott Nesler

Certainty needs not faith, doubt has faith of mistakes. [Q48]

John Steinbeck

What a frightening thing is the human, a mass of gauges and dials and registers, and we can only read a few and those perhaps not accurately. &ndash The Winter of Our Discontent [Q2017]


I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding. [Q797]

Adlai Stevenson III

Nineteen men armed with box cutters could not bring all America down. Only its government can do that. [Q1869]

Franklin Roosevelt

We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization. [Q137]


A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true. [Q759]

Steve Nash

I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person's life is the affect they have on others. [Q441]

Marshall McLuhan

We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. [Q1486]

Lloyd Bentsen

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy [Q1307]

Saul Alinsky

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


One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. [Q889]


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

Meister Eckhart

What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love. [Q1635]

Albert Schweitzer

To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic. [Q69]


The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes. [Q861]

Winston Smith

A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects. And its object is not victory over Eurasia or Eastasia, but to keep the very structure of society intact. — George Orwell's 1984 [Q297]

Kurt Gödel

Intuition is not proof; it is the opposite of proof. We do not analyze intuition to see a proof but by intuition we see something without a proof. [Q1963]

Michel de Montaigne

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

Woodrow Wilson

Since I have entered politics I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere. A power so subtle, so organised, so complete and pervasive that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. [Q1971]

Scott Nesler

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

Franklin Roosevelt

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. [Q362]

D. A. Ridgely

When I was young American politics were fairly straightforward: conservatives let you keep all your money in return for telling you how to live your life, while liberals let you live as you pleased in return for all your money. Now the only difference is whether they want your money or your life first. [Q1839]

The Diane Rehm Show

David and Julie, I was born in 1947. I am typing this email through tears of respect for Ike. After listening to you guys analyze the past and present with so much insight and knowledge. I'm inspired by my memories of the balance and wisdom of Ike. He lives on through you. More importantly you were willing to help us remember. Hopefully your efforts will throw more balance into the current political discussion. — From Bob in Indianapolis who emailed the Diane Rehm episode, David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower: "Going Home to Glory" [Q1220]

Claude Pepper

Life is like riding a bicycle; you don't fall off unless you stop pedaling. [Q1641]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live. [Q1084]

Bill Clinton

Because primarily of the power of the Internet, people of modest means can band together and amass vast sums of money that can change the world for some public good if they all agree. [Q1293]

Jim Lehrer

Best I can do for them is to give them every piece of information I can find and let them make the judgments. That's just my basic view of my function as a journalist. [Q475]


Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock. [Q794]

Ibni Sina

The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes. [Q1921]

Óscar Romero

I would like to make an appeal in a special way to the men of the army, to the police, to those in the barracks. Brothers, you are part of our own people. You kill your own campesino brothers and sisters. And before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to recover your consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin. The church, defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, the dignity of the person, cannot remain silent before such abomination. We want the government to take seriously that reforms are worth nothing when they come about stained with so much blood. In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuously, I beg you, I ask you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression! [Q1074]

Caine and Master Kan

Caine, “We swore an oath of friendship, master.” Master Kan, “You are speaking of disciple Han?” Caine, “Yes, master.” Master Kan, “And he no longer feels bound by this oath?” Caine, “Because of the contest yesterday, between us, in which he was defeated.” Master Kan, “And you feel as though you have lost something?” Caine, “I do.” Master Kan, “What will you do now with your oath?” Caine, “Is not an oath eternal?” Master Kan, “But how can you control such a thing as a friendship? Which requires the assent of two persons. It is well to consider deeply, before binding yourself to an ideal, cause, or a man. But what is an oath worth that binds a man to an unachievable task?” Caine, “He is still angry, it troubles me. I do not know how to answer to his hatred.” Master Kan, “How else, but with love. One cannot always keep a friend. When that friend believes that one has wronged him.” Caine, “But, I have not wronged him. He is mistaken.” Master Kan, “Each man has the right to choose his enemies and his friends. He may choose unwisely, but the decision is his alone, to make. Then he must live with the consequences. And so must his enemies, and his friends.” — "Kung Fu" The Crossties 1974 Season 2 [Q628]

Wendell Berry

The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly. [Q1340]

Scott Nesler

The world is being pushed to believe in a scalar representation of truth. Velocity, magnitude, and time are discounted while the coordinate system expands. [Q1607]

Marshall McLuhan

When producers want to know what the public wants, they graph it as curves. When they want to tell the public what to get, they say it in curves. [Q1488]

Barbara Deming

We learn best to listen to our own voices if we are listening at the same time to other women whose stories for all our differences turn out, if we listen well, to be our stories also. [Q1397]

Kathleen Parker

Hubris is no one’s friend, and irony is a nag. — The Tea Fragger Party [Q1497]


Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, You cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation. [Q875]

Meister Eckhart

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. [Q1628]

Scott Nesler

A spelling mistake should not diminish a valid argument. [Q1252]

Senator Paul Simon

When I have my "Chamber of Commerce speech" in communities, I tell them they need to do three things to move ahead economically: work hard; be creative; take risks. The same applies to individuals and the same applies to political parties. [Q1824]

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of it scientists, and the hopes of its children. [Q1219]

Miles Davis

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

Henry Drummond

Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, backward, through the glorious ages of that sixteenth century, when bigots burned the man who dared to bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind. — Inherit the Wind [Q103]

Stephen Leacock

In ancient times they had no statistics so they had to fall back on lies. [Q364]

Albert Einstein

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it? [Q387]

Thomas Paine

It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance. [Q267]


Democracy... is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. [Q878]

Pete Seeger

I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. [Q347]

Herbert Simon

The world is vast, beautiful, and fascinating, even awe-inspiring - but impersonal. It demands nothing of me, and allows me to demand nothing of it. [Q650]

David Hume

The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny. [Q1361]

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The capitalist and aristocrat of England cannot feel that as we do, be­cause they do not mingle with the class they degrade as we do. — Page 151 [Q1899]

Bill Clinton

We can't make the perfect the enemy of the good. [Q86]

Robert H. Schuller

You can often measure a person by the size of his dream. [Q466]


Your descendants shall gather your fruits. [Q1593]

Václav Havel

I have had direct experience of this myself. Often, what the press wrote, or did not write, about a remark I made somewhere proved to be of a far greater consequence than the remark itself. Democratic choice in such cases ceases to be a choice between alternatives people are familiar with, and have personally tried, and becomes a choice between alternatives offered by those who run the media. [Q1798]

Bruce Schneier

It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state. [Q2043]

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