Friday, March 02, 2007

Or So He Said

Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal that has the true religion -- several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

And with that we begin another round--a long one, I'm afraid--of quotations that have been piling up for the past three months or so. Yikes! As usual, most--indeed, I think all, this time--are culled from the wonderful e-mail newsletter A Word a Day. You should subscribe. But then you probably wouldn't read these quotations...

Well, be that as it may, continuing for a moment on the theme of religion, here's another interesting little quotation:

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. -Sam Harris, author (1967- )

The above is all the more interesting to me because I have seen Harris quoted by pastors of my acquaintance, and to make wholly different points. Reminds me of a book we had floating around the room back in my high-school debate days: How to Lie with Statistics.

Here's more--no particular order, no particular subject...though it seems I do cant rather toward the ironic:

I believe I found the missing link between animal and civilized man. It is us. -Konrad Lorenz, ethologist, Nobel laureate (1903-1989)

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers. -Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist and author (1955- )

People like to imagine that because all our mechanical equipment moves so much faster, that we are thinking faster, too. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty. -Stephen King, novelist (1947- )

A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. -Roger Miller, musician (1936-1992)

Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. -Louis L'Amour, novelist (1908-1988)

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way. -Rollo May, psychologist (1909-1994)

The world is a skirt I want to lift up. -Hanif Kureishi, author (1954- )

All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

If you have the same ideas as everybody else but have them one week earlier than everyone else then you will be hailed as a visionary. But if you have them five years earlier you will be named a lunatic. -Barry Jones, politician, author (1932- )

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. -William Arthur Ward, college administrator, writer (1921-1994)

We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. -Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. -George Baker (1877-1965)

Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat. -Caroline Schoeder

Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it. -Henry Thomas Buckle, historian (1821-1862)

A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it. -William Penn, Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania (1644-1718)

Your neighbor's vision is as true for him as your own vision is true for you. -Miguel de Unamuno, writer and philosopher (1864-1936)

To find a person who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness. -Robert Brault, software developer, writer (1938- )

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. -Gladys Browyn Stern, writer (1890-1973)

I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

Profits, like sausages... are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them. -Alvin Toffler, futurist and author (1928- )

Extended empires are like expanded gold, exchanging solid strength for feeble splendor. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person. -William Feather, author, editor and publisher (1889-1981)

Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, "Lighthouses" as the poet said "erected in the sea of time." They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print. -Arthur Schopenhauer , philosopher (1788-1860)

A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics". All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. -George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)

Kindness is loving people more than they deserve. -Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt. -Otto von Bismarck, statesman (1815-1898)

O Liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name! -Jeanne-Marie Roland, revolutionary (1754-1793)

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking. -John Maynard Keynes, economist (1883-1946)

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. -Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (1835-1919)

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, and author (1872-1970)

My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library. -Peter Golkin, museum spokesman (1966- )

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked for forgiveness. -Emo Philips, comedian (1956- )

The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal. -Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and author (1900-1980)

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. -George Washington, 1st US president (1732-1799)

As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

The only gift is a portion of thyself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

He who would be a leader must be a bridge. -Welsh proverb

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them. -T.S. Eliot, poet (1888-1965)

Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it. -Shakti Gawain, teacher and author (1948- )

We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full. -Marcel Proust, novelist (1871-1922)

He who dares not offend cannot be honest. -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. -Edgar Guest, poet (1881-1959)

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -Dr. Seuss, author and illustrator (1904-1991)

Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax. -Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)

As far as I'm concerned, 'whom' is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler. -Calvin Trillin, writer (1935- )

At times it may be necessary to temporarily accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good. -Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901-1978)

Humor may be defined as the kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life, and the artistic expression thereof. -Stephen Leacock, economist and humorist (1869-1944)

It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law. -Louis D. Brandeis, lawyer, judge, and writer (1856-1941)

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong. -Richard Feynman, physicist, Nobel laureate (1918-1988)

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game. -Paul Rodriguez

Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation. -Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

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