The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.

— Unknown

Date Added: Jul 11, 2003

The price of reliability is simplicity, and for many engineers that is too high a price to pay.

— Unknown

Date Added: Aug 17, 2008

They were at the wrong place at the wrong time, naturally they became heroes.

— Unknown

I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,” I’ll even Hara Kari if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun.

— Hawkeye (Alan Alda), M*A*S*H

Those who believe in miracles when it comes to matters of the heart may believe that there is a perfect mate for each of us waiting to be discovered somewhere in the world. But if this is true, the far greater miracle is the frequency with which the Fates conspire to place this person within walking distance.

— Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, and Hillgard, Introduction to Psychology

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.

— Francis Bacon

There is a love which seeks to possess; there is a love which softens and enervates; there is a love which withdraws a man from the battle; there is a love which shuts its eyes to faults and to ways which end in ruin. But [real] love will always seek the highest good of others and will accept all the difficulties, problems and toil which that search involves.

— William Barclay

Once Law was sitting on the bench
And Mercy knelt a-weeping.
“Clear out!” he cried, “disordered wench!
Nor come before me creeping.
Upon you knees if you appear,
’Tis plain you have no standing here.”

Then Justice came. His Honor cried:
“YOUR states? — Devil seize you!”
“Amica curiae,” she replied —
“Friend of the court, so please you.”
“Begone!” he shouted — “There’s the door —
I never saw your face before!”

— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they are, infinite.

— William Blake

Food for Thought, Former QotITP, Movies

… [L]ove doesn’t make things nice. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess, we aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect, not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit.

— Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage), Moonstruck

Date Added: Jul 13, 2003

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.

— John Ciardi

Having only coarse food to eat, plain water to drink, and a bent arm for a pillow, one can still find happiness therein. Riches and honor acquired by righteous means are to me as drifting clouds.

— Confucius

Date Added: Sep 24, 2003

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I learn.
In the doing is the understanding.

— Confucius

Everything you say now sounds like it was ghost-written.

— Elvis Costello, “New Amsterdam,” Get Happy

The dreamers are the ones who conceive of what could happen and the scientists are the ones who make it happen. The best of humanity are those who combine both traits.

— Peter David, Vendetta

If you don’t know what your program is supposed to do, you’d better not start writing it.

— Edsger Dijkstra

He who marches joyfully in rank and file has already earned my contempt. A large brain has been wasted on this individual, since for him, a spinal cord would suffice.

— Albert Einstein

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot

The religion that is afraid of science dishoners God and commits suicide.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or where it will end.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Programming is an exercise in overcoming how wrong you’ve been in the past. At first you’ll overcome the syntax errors, then you’ll overcome the structural errors, and then you’ll come to align your code with the standards of a greater community and you’ll feel safe and like you’ve made it. You haven’t – you’re still wrong because you’re always wrong. You are playing a game you cannot win. And let’s face it – if it was a game you could win you’d not be playing at all.

— Guy English, “I’ve Been Wrong Before,” Kicking Bear

Date Added: Oct 25, 2010

I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

— E. M. Forster

What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.

— Sigmund Freud

A man who knows his road can occasionally jump off it, whereas a man who does not know his road can only be on it by accident.

— Eric Gill

Date Added: Dec 19, 2011

Ginsberg’s Theorem
  1. You can’t win.
  2. You can’t break even.
  3. You can’t even quit the game.
Freeman’s Commentary on Ginsberg’s theorem:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg’s Theorem. To wit:
  1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
  2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
  3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them, needs religion.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You teach kids how to succeed when they successfully foil the educational system.

— Arlo Guthrie

Date Added: May 23, 2009

Do not seek death; death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.

— Dag Hammarskjold

Memory never recaptures reality. Memory reconstructs. All reconstructions change the original, becoming external frames of reference that inevitably fall short.

— Frank Herbert, The Mentat Handbook

Date Added: Jul 13, 2003

It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.

— John Andrew Holmes

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments - there are consequences.

— Robert Ingersoll

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before,” Bokonon tells us. “He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cat’s Cradle

It has been said [by Antaole France], “it is not by amusing oneself that one learns,” and, in reply: “it is only by amusing oneself that one can learn.”

— Edward Kasner and James R. Newman

As far as I am concerned, paranoia is nothing but heightened awareness.

— H. Jameel al Khafiz

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

— T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Life is what’s going on
While you’re busy making other plans.

— John Lennon

Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure?

Is there a better way to die?

— Charles Lindbergh

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

Leland … Leland, the time has come for you to seek the path. Your soul has set you face to face with the clear light, and you are about to experience it in its reality, wherein all things are like the void and cloudless sky and the naked spotless intellect is like a transparent vacuum without circumference or center. Leland, in this moment, know yourself and abide in that state. Look to the light, Leland, find the light. Into the light, Leland, into the light. Into the light, Leland … into the light … Don’t be afraid.

— FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Twin Peaks

FWIW the Vegas hotel that flew your live lobster from Maine into a desert would appreciate your reusing your towel. For the environment.

— Merlin Mann

Date Added: Jul 22, 2008

This is life’s sorrow:
That one can only be happy where two are
And that our hearts are drawn to stars that want us not.

— Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology

If the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.

— Terrence McKenna

Date Added: Dec 11, 2003

Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

Date Added: Aug 15, 2008

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

— H.L. Mencken

Those who curse the universe, curse that which is deaf.
Those who shake their fists, shake them at blind stars.

— Michael Moorcock

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.

— Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

That was always the dream, wasn’t it? “I wish I knew then what I know now?” But when you got older, you found out that you now wasn’t you then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of those rocky patches was being a twerp.

A much better dream, one that’d ensure sounder sleep, was not to know now what you didn’t know then.

— Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

Date Added: Oct 5, 2003

If failure is not an option, then neither is creativity. If failure is not an option, don’t waste time with trust. If failure is not an option, you’d better stay in beta forever. If failure is not an option, you can only keep doing what has worked in the past. If failure is not an option, you can act only on things you can measure. If failure is not an option, neither is experimentation. If failure is not an option, life lacks dimension.

If failure is not an option, success is not an option.

— Andy Rutledge, “Failure,” UnitVerse

Date Added: Oct 27, 2010

Just as most issues are seldom black or white, so are most good solutions seldom black or white. Beware of the solution that requires one side to be totally the loser and the other side to be totally the winner. The reason there are two sides to begin with usually is because neither side has all the facts. Therefore, when the wise mediator effects a compromise, he is not acting from political motivation. Rather, he is acting from a deep sense of respect for the whole truth.

— Stephen R. Schwambach

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

— Mark Twain

If God made us in his image, we have certainly returned the compliment.

— Voltaire

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who rest assured are not dumb and are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV Spring Break on Primary Day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

— David Foster Wallace, Rolling Stone, April 13, 2000

Date Added: Oct 27, 2013

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.

— Daniel Webster

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our Constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.

— Rabbi Sherwin Wine

Date Added: Nov 25, 2003

… Illusions are the most valuable and necessary of all things, and she who can create one is among the world’s greatest benefactors.

— Virginia Woolf, Orlando

… “fire” does not matter, “earth” and “air” and “water” do not matter. “I” do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words. The more words he remembers, the cleverer do his fellows esteem him. He looks upon the great transformations of the world, but he does not see them as they were seen when man looked upon reality for the first time. Their names come to his lips and he smiles as he tastes them, thinking he knows them in the naming.

— Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

About this Page

This is an excerpt from my quote file. Things that I've found inspirational, profound, food for thought, but most of all, funny.

This portion is for the “Food for Thought” category. The complete list can be found here, or via the links below.

Return to my blog.

By Attribution