Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland --and no other.
They told Van Gogh he used too much paint, and Englebart that the mouse was pointless. Galileo and Copernicus were called heretics for seeing the world for what it was. Dylan and Guthrie were told they couldn’t sing and that they had nothing to say. DaVinci’s helicopters and Tesla’s radio waves stayed in notebooks for years, as the ideas were too weird for ordinary minds to understand.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
When a thing is new, people say: ‘It is not true.’ Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: ‘It is not important.’ Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say: ‘Anyway, it is not new.
Freedom is not free.
I do look for openings where I can overturn popular misconceptions, but unlike Christopher Hitchens, I am neither a contrarian nor a lone heretic. I like to have a significant number of academics watching my back.
To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
It is taboo in our society to criticize a persons religious faith... these taboos are offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, they are getting people killed. This is really my concern. My concern is that our religions, the diversity of our religious doctrines, is going to get us killed. I'm worried that our religious discourse- our religious beliefs are ultimately incompatible with civilization.
You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do.
Identity is invariably false to facts.
Almost all our suffering is the product of our thoughts. We spend nearly every moment of our lives lost in thought, and hostage to the character of those thoughts. You can break this spell, but it takes training just like it takes training to defend yourself against a physical assault.
It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
Keep your words sweet-you may have to eat them.
Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds, And binding with briars my joys and desires.
Quiet people have the loudest minds
Man's role is uncertain, undefined, and perhaps unnecessary.
Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
What one does, one becomes.
Human natureHuman nature
You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 now and we have no idea where she is.
IDIOT: A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.
What we see depends mainly on what we look for
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
In the long run I certainly hope information is the cure for fanaticism, but I am afraid information is more the cause than the cure.
Without darkness there are no dreams.
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.
It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.
The means have murdered the end.
The definition of definition is at bottom just what the maxim of pragmatism expresses.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.
If I use the word consciousness, in our lab, in our institute, what we mean is the special quality of mind, the special features that exist in the mind, that permit us to know, for example, that we, ourselves, exist, and that things exist around us.
When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
...mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics. Every other science, even logic, especially in its early stages, is in danger of evaporating into airy nothingness, degenerating, as the Germans say, into an arachnoid film, spun from the stuff that dreams are made of. There is no such danger for pure mathematics; for that is precisely what mathematics ought to be.
The sad truth is the truth is sad.
What is the pattern that connects the crab to the lobster and the primrose to the orchid, and all of them to me, and me to you?
If a man is pictured chopping off a woman's breast, it only gets a R rating, but if, God forbid, a man is pictured kissing a woman's breast, it gets an X rating. Why is violence more acceptable than tenderness?
Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.
An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.
There was no doubt that this poor man [William Blake] was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott.
Silence is sometimes the best answer.
I will help you to approach if you approach, and to keep away if you keep away.
Human relationsHuman relations
...parental outbursts of rage or threats of punishment directed to the child, calling him names, speaking to him harshly, shaking him, handling him roughly, or actual physical punishment sometimes elicit such total panic and terror in the child that we must assume more is involved than the physical pain alone.
The exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess sucess is our national disease.
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
The only way to change our lives is by changing our minds.
One of the surprising discoveries of modern psychology is how easy it is to be ignorant of your own ignorance.
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.
Old age, after all, is merely the punishment for having lived.
Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them.
The earth has grown a nervous system, and it's us.
We create the world that we perceive, not because there is no reality outside our heads, but because we select and edit the reality we see to conform to our beliefs about what sort of world we live in. The man who believes that the resources of the world are infinite, for example, or that if something is good for you then the more of it the better, will not be able to see his errors, because he will not look for evidence of them. For a man to change the basic beliefs that determine his perception - his epistemological premises - he must first become aware that reality is not necessarily as he believes it to be. Sometimes the dissonance between reality and false beliefs reaches a point when it becomes impossible to avoid the awareness that the world no longer makes sense. Only then is it possible for the mind to consider radically different ideas and perceptions.
These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that.
Information technologyInformation technology
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
To be authentic literally means to be your own author.
For every complicated problem there is a simple, easy to understand, wrong answer.
Problems and solutionsProblems and solutions
Man, when he realizes that he is an object of comedy, does not laugh.
If you ask for something you have to say "Please", if you want to get something you have to please.
Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.
Nothing in Chomsky's account acknowledges the difference between intending to kill a child, because of the effect you hope to produce on its parents (we call this “terrorism”), and inadvertently killing a child in an attempt to capture or kill an avowed child murderer (we call this “collateral damage”). In both cases a child has died, and in both cases it is a tragedy. But the ethical status of the perpetrators, be they individuals or states, could not be more distinct For Chomsky, intentions do not seem to matter. Body count is all.
The future depends on what you do today.
The real, then, is that which, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you. Thus, the very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a COMMUNITY, without definite limits, and capable of a definite increase of knowledge.
How can we encourage other human beings to extend their moral sympathies beyond a narrow locus? How can we learn to become mere human beings, shorn of any more compelling national, ethnic, or religious identity? We can be reasonable. It is in the very nature of reason to fuse cognitive and moral horizons. Reason is nothing less than the guardian of love.
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.
It must be remembered that necessity is only the mother of invention; socially accumulated knowledge is its father.
Some of us, for better or worse, develop very stable, consistent, and largely predictable machineries of self. But in others, the self machinery is more flexible and more open to unexpected turns.
Maxims, because what is isolated can be seen better.
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
We cannot learn real patience and tolerance from a guru or a friend. They can be practiced only when we come in contact with someone who creates unpleasant experiences. According to Shantideva, enemies are really good for us as we can learn a lot from them and build our inner strength.
A court common to all is swept by no one.
Public propertyPublic property
Your parents and society use that word duty as a means of molding you, shaping you according to their particular idiosyncrasies, their habits of thought, their likes and dislikes, hoping thereby to guarantee their own safety.
We find systems which by their very nature and definition are not closed systems. Every living organism is essentially an open system. It maintains itself in a continuous inflow and outflow, a building up and breaking down of components, never being, so long as it is alive, in a state of chemical and thermodynamic equilibrium but maintained in a so-called steady state which is distinct from the latter.
People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards.
The habit of spending nearly every waking moment lost in thought leaves us at the mercy of whatever our thoughts happen to be. Meditation is a way of breaking this spell.
Our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth. We cannot reasonably aim at certainty. Once we realize that human knowledge is fallible, we realize also that we can never be completely certain that we have not made a mistake.
Love is the absence of judgment.
I believe in equality. Equality for everybody. No matter how stupid they are or how superior I am to them.
I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.
Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.
Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting, the possibility of saying No to any authority - literary, artistic, philosophic, religious, social, and even political.
Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.
Neurons that fire together wire together.
One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the twenty-first century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns-about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering-in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. We desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project more that the respect we accord religious faith.
The man who will not act until he knows all will never act at all.
A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
If something good happens to a Christian—he feels some bliss while praying, or he sees some positive change his life—we're told that God is good. But when children by the tens of thousands are torn from their parents’ arms and drowned, we are told god is mysterious.
Genius is nothing but continued attention.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Even if he does occasionally hurt people's feelings -- he occasionally hurts my feelings -- but I'm a big boy. I can get over it. I can argue back. We really need somebody to question the way a university is run.
Friendship is a pact, a convention. Two beings tacitly promise never to broadcast what each really thinks of the other. A kind of alliance based on compromises. When one of them publicly calls attention to the other's defects, the pact is declared null and void, the alliance broken. No friendship lasts if one of the partners ceases to play the game. In other words, no friendship tolerates an exaggerated proportion of honesty.
The Christian view that all intercourse outside marriage is immoral was, as we see in the above passages from St. Paul, based upon the view that all sexual intercourse, even within marriage, is regrettable. A view of this sort, which goes against biological facts, can only be regarded by sane people as a morbid aberration. The fact that it is embedded in Christian ethics has made Christianity throughout its whole history a force tending towards mental disorders and unwholesome views of life.
The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
Life and 'Mind' are systemic processes.
Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool on the other.
Immagina di essere morto, di aver vissuto la tua vita. Poi vivi in modo appropriato quanto ti resta da vivere.
Life and DeathLife and Death
We are discovering today that several of the premises which are deeply ingrained in our way of life are simply untrue and become pathogenic when implemented with modern technology.