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More may have been learned about the brain and the mind in the 1990s - the so-called decade of the brain - than during the entire previous history of psychology and neuroscience.
In science, self-satisfaction is death. Personal self-satisfaction is the death of the scientist. Collective self-satisfaction is the death of the research. It is restlessness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, agony of mind that nourish science.
Progress is only possible by passing from a state of undifferentiated wholeness to differentiation of parts.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
We cannot address complexity without using our own complexity.
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. 
He who laughs last thinks slowest
To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn't a joke. You must die - not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longing, pleasure; and agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.
Unless someone truly has the power to say no, they never truly have the power to say yes.
We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.
We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.
You can't achieve anything without getting in someone's way.
Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.
Each part of the brain knows a little bit about what’s happening in some other [parts], but there’s no single place that knows everything. ... It’s like a big corporation.
The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
He who allows oppression, shares the crime.
I've always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.
In the past two decades anthropologists have gathered data on life and death in pre-state societies rather than accepting the warm and fuzzy stereotypes. What did they find? In a nutshell: Hobbes was right, Rousseau was wrong.
As an atheist, I am angry that we live in a society in which the plain truth cannot be spoken without offending 90% of the population.
We can never be quite clear whether we are referring to the world as it is or to the world as we see it.
I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror.
Our rulers, who rule our symbols, and so rule a symbolic class of life, impose their own infantilism on our instituitions, educational methods, and doctrines. This leads to maladjustment of the incoming generations which, being born into, are forced to develop under the un-natural (for man) semantic conditions imposed on them. In turn, they produce leaders afflicted with the old animalistic limitations. The vicious circle is completed; it results in a general state of human un-sanity, reflected again in our instituitions. And so it goes, on and on.
Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
General Systems Theory... possibly the model of the world as a great organization can help to reinforce the sense of reverence for the living which we have almost lost.
Hope, deceitful as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.
Don't cut what you can untie.
Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie.
God is on the side of the strongest battalions.
Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a thelogically defensible reading of the Bible.
You can't say civilization isn't advancing, in every war they kill you in a new way.
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
Biology is Engineering.
My favorite animal is steak.
If you ask for something you have to say "Please", if you want to get something you have to please.
Love and Compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion.
Ideas never lack for words. It is words that lack ideas. As soon as the idea has come to its last degree of perfection, the word blossoms; or, if you like, it blossoms from the word that presents it and clothes it.
I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
it is very important, while you are young, to be real revolutionaries—which means not accepting anything, but inquiring into all these things to find out what is true. Only then can you create a new world.
All our evil comes from our inability to be alone.
Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
Hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords; but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain.
Philosophers who know only philosophy consign themselves to a janitorial role in the great enterprises of exploration that are illuminating the mysteries of our lives.
The self has the characteristic that it is an object to itself, and that characteristic distinguishes it from other objects and from the body.
Evolution has long been badly taught. In particular, students - and even professional biologists - acquire theories of evolution without any deep understanding of what problem these theories attempt to solve. They learn but little of the evolution of evolutionary theory.
Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people.
We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.
If every man could act as he chose, the whole of history would be a tissue of disconnected accidents.
People often ask how I got interested in the brain; my rethorical answer is: 'How can anyone NOT be interested in it?' Everything you call 'human nature' and consciousness arises from it.
There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions. … It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory.
Theory is when we know everything but nothing works. Praxis is when everything works but we do not know why. We always end up by combining theory with praxis: nothing works and we do not know why.
Activity is the only road to knowledge.
When I have ceased to exist, I won’t ever have existed.
The point is that most of what we currently hold sacred is not sacred for any reason other than that it was thought sacred yesterday.
We should not teach children the sciences; but give them a taste for them.
True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. 
It's natural to think that living things must be the handiwork of a designer. But it was also natural to think that the sun went around the earth. Overcoming naive impressions to figure out how things really work is one of humanity's highest callings.
There is a time for politeness and there is a time when you are obliged to be rude.
Like this gas tank, you are overflowing with preconceptions, full of useless knowledge. You hold many facts and opinions, yet know little of yourself. Before you can learn, you'll have to first empty your tank.
Anger is the ultimate destroyer of your own peace of mind.
The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.
A man walking is never in balance, but always correcting for imbalance.
The beauty of a face is not a separate quality but a relation or proportion of qualities to each other.
Whenever you can, count.
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
He who gives money he has not earned is generous with other people’s labor.
Isn't it odd, that people like to fight for their religion but unwillingly live after its prescriptions.


I HAVE no patience with the hypothesis occasionally expressed, and often implied, especially in tales written to teach children to be good, that babies are born pretty much alike, and that the sole agencies in creating differences between boy and boy, and man and man, are steady application and moral effort. It is in the most unqualified manner that I object to pretensions of natural equality. The experiences of the nursery, the school, the University, and of professional careers, are a chain of proofs to the contrary.
Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.
It is difficult to think of anything more important than providing the best education possible for our children. They will develop the next technologies, medical cures, and global industries, while mitigating their unintended effects, or they will fail to do these things and consign us all to oblivion.
We will be the last generation to have witnessed life without the Internet.
You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?
If you look around at your family and friends, you will see that the happiest people are the ones who don't pretend to know what's right for others and don't try to control anyone but themselves.
Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.
Anything you may hold firmly in your imagination can be yours.
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
There is no greater need in society than that of gossip. It is the principal means of passing the time, which is one of the first necessities of life.
We'll show you that you can build a mind from many little parts, each mindless by itself.
It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion—to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources—is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity.
His ignorance is encyclopedic.
You are not made to live as beasts but to follow virtue and knowledge
When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.
TACT: The art of saying nothing when there is nothing to say.
To be conspicuous by one's absence and listened to by one's silence are two little masterpieces of vanity.
When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.
The organized community or social group which gives to the individual his unity of self may be called “the generalized other.” The attitude of the generalized other is the attitude of the whole community. Thus, for example, in the case of such a social group as a ball team, the team is the generalized other in so far as it enters—as an organized process or social activity—into the experience of any one of the individual members of it.
An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
We are permitted to suppose that the relatively small size of the female brain depends in part upon her physical inferiority and in part upon her intellectual inferiority.
When you love, you are not lonely. The sense of loneliness arises only when you are frightened of being alone and of not knowing what to do. When you are controlled by ideas, isolated by beliefs, then fear is inevitable; and when you are afraid, you are completely blind.
Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
2465 quotes