Quotes

Some of my favorite quotes are collected below. Randomly selected quotes appear in Random Quote box on most pages, which provides a good reminder of the wisdom I’ve found over the years.


Universal laws are for lackeys. Context…is for Kings.

— Captain Gabriel Lorca, Star Trek Discovery

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

— Benjamin Franklin

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

The problem with humanity….We have Paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology.

— E. O. Wilson

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

A meta-system provides the reason for doing something which does not lie in the immediate situation itself.

— Edward de Bono

We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.

Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.

Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

“At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.”

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.

— Diane Von Furstenberg

A child’s feeling of self-esteem is centered on the experience for which he/she is noticed most intently.

— Howard Glasser

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.

— Richard P Feynman

As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.

— Albert Schweitzer

An expert is an ordinary man away from home giving advice.

— Oscar Wilde

The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.

— Gregory Bateson

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what gets you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evening, how you spend your weekend, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart—it will decide everything.

— Father Pedro Arrupe

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

There was once a time when nothing was explained. Ever since that time, everything we have explained has been found to be the product of mindless forces acting on inanimate objects. How will all the rest turn out?

— Richard Carrier

Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.

— Voltaire

More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.

— Rudyard Kipling

The Muse visits during the act of creation, not before. Don’t wait for her. Start alone.

I’m not rich enough to be eccentric.

— Brent Zupp

Time heals what reason cannot.

— Seneca

The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

— Salman Rushdie

If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.

— Jewish Concentration Camp Prisoner

If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.

— Jonathan Winters

A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.

— John Le Carre’

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson

It’s not your fault; it’s your journey.

— Daphne Rose Kingma

When religion dictates that we intentionally discriminate against others, it’s time to question our religion.

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.

— Christopher Hitchens

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” said Alice. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here.”

— Lewis Carroll

I err therefore I am.

— Saint Augustine

If you love something, let it go…That’s exactly what I did with my body.

— Homer Simpson

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer

— Albert Camus

It’s not that we disagree. It’s that we let different people do our thinking for us.

— Brent Zupp

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

— Henry Miller

‎When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

— Kahlil Gibran

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.

— Mark Twain

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

— Albert Einstein (missattributed)

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere till you change it.

— Warren Whitlock

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

— Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See

The perspective you are judging from is inferior to the perspective that can help you the most.

The perception of beauty is a moral test.

— Henry David Thoreau

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

— Anais Nin

Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can.

— Coach John Wooden

I am a religious agnostic because of science, an atheist because of probability, and an anti-theist because of religion.

Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.

Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a donut because you’re on a diet.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

— Buddha

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been.’

— Kurt Vonnegut

The US will only get serious about the war on obesity if it turns out that fat people have oil.

Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.

— Aristotle

Once the game is over, the king & the pawn go back in the same box.

— Italian Proverb

Wanting to be someone you’re not is a waste of the person you are.

— Kurt Cobain

Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.

— Helen Keller

If you do not study hard when young you’ll end up bewailing your failures as you grow up.

— Chinese Proverbs

The worst thing about being lied to is simply knowing you weren’t worth the truth.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

— Albert Einstein

Facebook went public this week. It wasn’t a business decision as much as a malfunction in their privacy settings.

Treasure your doubts. Our souls feed off mysteries

The journey is the reward.

— Taoist saying

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

— Unknown

The way to succeed is to double your error rate.

— Thomas J. Watson

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.

— Winston Churchill

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.

— Mark Twain

If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you are playing by the rules.

— Paul Arden

In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.

— Jonathan Glover

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

— Mother Teresa

A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.

— Robert Townsend

Perfection is the enemy of the good.

— Gustave Flaubert

Insanity in individuals is something rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.

— Nietzsche

Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.

— Scottish proverb

War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

— Thomas Mann

Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s?

— Nietzsche

Knowledge, idea, belief stands in the way of wisdom.

— J. Krishnamurthi

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

— Stephen Roberts

You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do.

— Unknown

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

— Bertrand Russell

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.

— Satchel Paige

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

— Gene Roddenberry

I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

— Mohandas Gandhi

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

— Henry David Thoreau

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

— Oscar Wilde

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

— George Bernard Shaw

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

— Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

When all else fails, men turn to reason.

— Abba Eban

When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.

— R. Buckminster Fuller

It’s good to have the things money can buy, provided we do not lose the things money cannot buy.

— W. Wiersbe

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.

— Unknown

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

— Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Don’t worry about avoiding temptation! As you grow old, it starts avoiding you!

— Unknown

Most problems are created not by circumstances but by a particular perception of them.

— Edward de Bono

The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

— George Bernard Shaw

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality.

— Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.

— Unknown

Adolescents sense a secret, unique greatness in themselves that seeks expression. They gesture toward the heart when trying to express any of this, a significant clue to the whole affair.

— Joseph Chilton Pearce, Evolution’s End

I don’t develop; I am.

— Pablo Picasso

One always learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence.

— Robertson Davies, Fifth Business

In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.

— C. G. Jung

Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that passed upon my life a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life’s foolscap.

— Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

There is more in a human life than our theories of it allow.

— James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

Death is an enemy because we have too much unlived life within us.

— W.D. Norwood paraphrase of Norman O. Brown sentiment

Start before you are ready.

— Robert Zuckerman, from Kindsight

It is not enough to add years to one’s life, one must also add life to those years.

— John F. Kennedy

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

— Dr. Seuss

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

— Carl Bard

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.

— Peter Drucker

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

— Albert Schweitzer

Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.

— Eric Hoffer

You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.

— Winston Churchill (attribution disputed)

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

— Thomas A. Edison

I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man’s being unable to sit still in a room.

— Blaise Pascal

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

— Soren Kierkegaard

The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.

— Robert Jackson

True greatness is measured by how much freedom you give to others, not by how much you can coerce others to do what you want.

— Larry Wall, Creator of Perl

The desire to protect ourselves is what stands in our way of being fully able to respond.

— Patrick Cassidy

Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.

— Czech Proverb

Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose.

— Edward de Bono

Perception is real even when it is not reality.

— Edward de Bono

If you never change your mind, why have one?

— Edward de Bono

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

— Leonardo Da Vinci

Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.

— Will Cuppy

The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.

— Douglas Adams, Last Chance To See…

To be pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Snowmen fall from Heaven, unassembled.

— Unknown

Grant me the Serenity to prioritize things I cannot delegate, the Courage to say No when I need to, and the Wisdom to know when to go home.

— Unknown

Your question is [your quest]. No questions — no journey. Timid questions — timid trips. Radical questions — an expedition to the root of your being. Bon voyage.

— Sam Keen

If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?

— From Ad for U.S. Army

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

To find your true self, you need to cultivate your eccentricities.

— Paraphrased from James Hillman (Jungian Psychologist)

One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, three or more is a congress.

— John Quincy Adams

I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.

— Edgar Allen Poe

He who dies with the most stuff … obviously didn’t have enough hit points.

— Dave

Love is what is left in a relationship after all the selfishness is taken out.

— Nick Richardson

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

— John Gardner

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

— Arthur C. Clarke (Clarkes’ First Law)

Not all who wander are lost.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.

— Gene Knudsen Hoffman

I married my wife for her looks… but not the ones she’s been giving me, lately!

— Anonymous

Every time I walk into a singles bar, I can hear Mom’s wise words: “Don’t pick that up, you don’t know where it’s been!”

— Momma’s Boy

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.

— Rilke

Please remember that law is the wise restraint that make men free.

— Creed of Harvard Law Graduates

Be generous in the bedroom — share your sandwich.

— Homer Simpson

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

— Unknown

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

— W. Somerset Maugham

…but chaos is stimulating, provocative, if only to strengthen our resolve to create order.

— Brent Zupp

The law is what we live with. Justice is something harder to achieve.

— Arthur Conan Doyle

If all the insects on earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on earth would disappear. If all humans disappeared, within 50 years all species would flourish as never before.

— Jonas Salk

It is the responsibility of the living to make meaningful the sacrifices of the dead.

— Stephen R Donaldson

A wise person knows when to make the exception to every rule.

— Barry Schwartz

If you are going through hell, keep going.

— Winston Churchill

All of nature is the conjugation of the verb “to eat.”

— William Ralph Inge

Play is the highest form of research.

— Albert Einstein

Just because it’s not true, doesn’t mean it’s not helpful.

— Brent Zupp

I was reading about how countless species are being pushed toward extinction by man’s destruction of forests….Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

— Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

We do not stop playing because we grow old, We grow old because we stop playing!

— Benjamin Franklin

The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization.

— Christopher Hitchens

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

— George Bernard Shaw

Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.

— La Bruyere

You are born an original, don’t die a copy

— John Mason

All models are wrong. Some models are useful.

— George Box

 

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