RSSCategory: Quotes

Thinking at different levels

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

“Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein

This quote appeals me more than the platitude to think outside the box. It challenges us to reframe problems, which sometimes means there’s actually no problem at all (or the problem might be much worse than we thought). I often think of this quote in terms of our seemingly intractable national problems. Conservation can substantially alleviate the “need” to spew CO2 into the air, but conservation is not part of the Chevron-driven national dialogue. Good schools and decriminalization of drugs are a LOT cheaper than prisons, but politicians fail to connect the dots to those other levels. Ubiquitous applications of this quote, but we so often get trapped on our own cozy level, cozy because that’s what we are used to, and we are so used to it that it seems to be stone foundation rather than something to vigorously question.


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No rest for the weary

February 6, 2014 | By | Reply More

I found this quote by the Dalai Lama on FB:

Dalai lama


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More of my favorite quotes

January 7, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

I’ve collected hundreds of quotes at this site. Here is a batch of my newest favorites:

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”
― Helen Keller, Rebel Lives: Helen Keller

“The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”
– Tom Waits

The atheist is free to concentrate on the fate of this world — whether that means visiting a friend in a hospital or advocating for tougher gun control laws — without trying to square things with an unseen overlord in the next. Atheists do not want to deny religious believers the comfort of their faith. We do want our fellow citizens to respect our deeply held conviction that the absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions on earth.
Susan Jacoby –

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”
– Chris Hedges

“Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes ‘

I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.
– Elie Weisel

When he was asked if he hated Germans, Elie Weisel replied, “the children of murderers aren’t murderers, just children.”

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”
– Alvin Toffler

Committee–a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
Fred Allen (1894 – 1956)

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
– Jeannette Rankin (1880 – 1973)

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
– Elbert Hubbard

“When inventing a god, the most important thing is to claim it is invisible, inaudible and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people will become skeptical when it appears to no one, is silent and does nothing.” – Anonymous
― Alvin Toffler

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
– Ansel Adams

Omnipotent God chooses not to use his power to simply forgive humankind, but instead implements a solution which requires that he impregnate a teen girl in order to give birth to himself so he can have himself slaughtered to save human beings from the Hell that he created. He then decides to communicate his scheme through conflicting accounts penned decades later by anonymous authors and subjectively handed down by flawed translators who can’t even agree on the interpretation of “virgin.”
– anon


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35 Founding Father quotes conservative Christians won’t like

July 7, 2013 | By | Reply More

There are 35 of these inconvenient quotes at Addicting Information. Here are the first five:

1. “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

2. “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
~George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792

3. “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
~George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

4. “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

5. “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams


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African proverbs

April 27, 2013 | By | Reply More

I’ve often posted on quotes, but a friend recently sent me a link to a big collection of African proverbs. Lots of wisdom in these words, and here are some of my favorites:

To get lost is to learn the way. ~ African proverb

He who learns, teaches. ~ Ethiopian proverb

You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~ African proverb

You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. ~Moroccan Proverb

Traveling is learning. ~Kenyan Proverb

Peace is costly but it is worth the expense. ~Kenyan proverb

War has no eyes ~ Swahili saying

There can be no peace without understanding. ~Senegalese proverb

If you can’t resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve war. ~ Somalian proverb

He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb

A large chair does not make a king. ~ Sudanese proverb

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb

It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb

Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb

Hold a true friend with both hands. ~ African proverb

Show me your friend and I will show you your character. ~ African proverb

Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. ~ Gabon proverb

Make some money but don’t let money make you. ~ Tanzania

The rich are always complaining. ~ Zulu

Money can’t talk, yet it can make lies look true. ~ South Africa

What you give you get, ten times over. ~ Yoruba

The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on. ~Ghanaian Proverb

You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. ~Congolese Proverb

Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. ~Moroccan Proverb

A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~Egyptian Proverb

Youth is beauty, even in cattle. ~Egyptian Proverb


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Another batch: my favorite quotes

March 31, 2013 | By | Reply More

Here’s another batch of quotes I have been collecting. It’s a constantly growing collection, supplemented by my personal review of anything I happen to read. I realize that this collection is getting quite large. Here’s the latest batch:

“Live and let live,” writes a clear-headed Austrian officer,
“is no device for an army. Contempt for one’s own comrades, for
the troops of the enemy, and, above all, fierce contempt for
one’s own person, are what war demands of every one. Far better
is it for an army to be too savage, too cruel, too barbarous,
than to possess too much sentimentality and human reasonableness.”
– William James. From The Varieties of Religious Experience.

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.”
― Ivan Illich

“If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people, including me, would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
-Hunter Thompson

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!”
-Hunter Thompson

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
-Leonardo da Vinci

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”
H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937), “The Call of Cthulhu”,

“Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary.”
Evan Esar (1899 – 1995)

[More . . . ]


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About systemic ignorance

March 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

Yes, this is ironic . . .

Richard Nixon on freedom of information


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Consumerism quote

March 10, 2013 | By | Reply More

You never know where your life style will be challenged. Here’s a quote I spotted on a parked car a few months ago:



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William James, on the effect of repetition

March 1, 2013 | By | Reply More

William james

Daniel Kahneman discusses the “mere exposure effect” in his 2011 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Humans tend to like the things to which they are repeatedly exposed.


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