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By learning which manipulations achieve which goals, humans have mastered the art of the surprise attack. They use novel, goal-oriented courses of action to overcome the Maginot Line defenses of other organisms, which can respond only over evolutionary time. The manipulations can be novel because human knowledge is not just couched in concrete instructions like 'how to catch a rabbit.' Humans analyze the world using intuitive theories of objects, forces, paths, places, manners, states, substances, hidden biochemical essences, and, for other animals and people, beliefs and desires. . . . People compose new knowledge and plans by mentally playing out combinatorial interactions among these laws in their mind's eye.
The earth is my body, my head is in the stars. (From the film "Harold and Maude")
Every living thing is, from the cosmic perspective, incredibly lucky simply to be alive. Most, 90 percent and more, of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without viable offspring, but not a single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of life on Earth, suffered that normal misfortune. You spring from an unbroken line of winners...
Doubt is an uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief; while the latter is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish to avoid, or to change to a belief in anything else.
Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly.
The important and the unimportant are the same only at the start.
Free speech is not just another value. It's the foundation of Western civilization.
Love and affection, as well as their possible expression in sexuality, are generally looked upon
with ambivalence and are customarily hedged about with many restrictions and inhibitions.
How can we be “free” as conscious agents if everything that we consciously intend is caused by events in our brain that we do not intend and of which we are entirely unaware? We can’t.
The future depends on what you do today.
Another peculiar characteristic of the human organism when it is dominated by a certain need is that the whole philosophy of the future tends also to change. For our chronically and extremely hungry man, Utopia can be defined very simply as a place where there is plenty of food.
When you deal with something like compassion for physical pain, which we know is very, very old in evolution - we can find evidence for it in nonhuman species - the brain processes it at a faster speed. Compassion for mental pain took many seconds longer.
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him
The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost.
A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.
Who lacks armament should avoid argument.
It is necessary to study not only parts and processes in isolation, but also to solve the decisive problems found in organization and order unifying them, resulting from dynamic interaction of parts, and making the the behavoir of the parts different when studied in isolation or within the whole.
Words are loaded pistols.
Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity.
To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.
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