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There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.
CONSERVATIVE: A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
Society exists for the benefit of its members - not the members for the benefit of society.
I believe in equality. Equality for everybody. No matter how stupid they are or how superior I am to them.
Most wars are not fought over shortages of resources such as food and water, but rather over conquest, revenge, and ideology.
Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
The visual system of the brain has the organization, computational profile, and architecture it has in order to facilitate the organism's thriving at the four Fs: feeding fleeing, fighting, and reproduction.
What do we mean by "knowledge" or "understanding"? And how do billions of neurons achieve them? These are complete mysteries. Admittedly, cognitive neuroscientists are still very vague about the exact meaning of words like "understand," "think," and indeed the word "meaning" itself.
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.
One of the surprising discoveries of modern psychology is how easy it is to be ignorant of your own ignorance.
The fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable, and so far from the criteria otherwise applied in 'hard' science has become a dogma can only be explained on sociological grounds.
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language.
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
SPOUSE: Someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single.
We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them ‘religious’; otherwise, they are likely to be called ‘mad’, ‘psychotic’ or ‘delusional’...
The condemnation of an error is another error.
There are living systems; there is no living "matter." No substance, no single molecule, extracted and isolated from a living being possess, of its own, the aforementioned paradoxical properties. They are present in living systems only; that is to say, nowhere below the level of the cell.
The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn...and change.
Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.
If in this moment I were to go mad, my madness would consist of sitting always with my eyes staring, my mouth open, and my hands between my knees, without laughing or crying, or even moving except for sheer necessity. I haven't the least urge to conceive a desire, not even for death. . . . This is the first time that noia [boredom or spleen] not only presses and tires me but harries and rips like the sharpest pain.
Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a thelogically defensible reading of the Bible.
Sperm is a bandit in its pure state.
The secret to humor is surprise.
There's no polite way to say to somebody (religious followers) 'Do you realize you've wasted your life?'
Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
Great souls have wills; feeble souls have wishes.
Evolution has long been badly taught. In particular, students - and even professional biologists - acquire theories of evolution without any deep understanding of what problem these theories attempt to solve. They learn but little of the evolution of evolutionary theory.
Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
If God had wanted to put everything into the universe from the beginning, He would have created a universe without change, without organisms and evolution, and without man and man's experience of change. But he seems to have thought that a live universe with events unexpected even by Himself would be more interesting than a dead one.
Creative thought must always contain a random component.
To look is important. We look to immediate things and out of immediate necessities to the future, coloured by the past. Our seeing is very limited and our eyes are accustomed to near things.
Our look is as bound by time-space as our brain. We never look, we never see beyond this limitation; we do not know how to look through and beyond these fragmentary frontiers. But the eyes have to see beyond them, penetrating deeply and widely, without choosing, without shelter; they have to wander beyond man-made frontiers of ideas and values and to feel beyond love. Then there is a benediction which no god can give.
Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?
It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
Racism, because it favors color over talent, is bad for business.
I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
From the cradle to the grave, each individual pays for the sin of not being God.
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.
By exposing the absence of purpose in the laws governing the universe, science forces us to take responsibility for the welfare of ourselves, our species, and our planet.
If you fear failure, you shall never succeed.
People are under the impression that dictionaries legislate language. What a dictionary does is keep track of usages over time.
No passion is stronger in the breast of a man than the desire to make others believe as he believes. Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high.
Thus, when a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce...in the same individual, we have the best possible conditions for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries. Such men do not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. Their ideas posses them, they inflict them, for better or worse, upon their companions or their age.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Imagination is cheap as long as you don't have to worry about the details.
The love of economy is the root of all virtue.
False encouragement is a kind of theft: it steals time, energy, and motivation a person could put toward some other purpose.
The only gift is giving to the poor; all else is exchange.
Religion is just mind control.
Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.
Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn't care to, or he doesn't exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.
Every move we make in fear of the next war in fact hastens it.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
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.
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.
Romantic love is mental illness. But it's a pleasurable one. It's a drug. It distorts reality, and that's the point of it. It would be impossible to fall in love with someone that you really saw.
For every complicated problem there is a simple, easy to understand, wrong answer.
Man lives in a world of Meaning. What he sees and hears means what he will or might handle.
But the myth of power is, of course, a very powerful myth, and probably most people in this world more or less believe in it. It is a myth, which, if everybody believes in it, becomes to that extent self-validating. But it is still epistemological lunacy and leads inevitably to various sorts of disaster.
What luck for rulers, that men do not think.
Nobody is always stupid, but everyone is stupid sometimes.
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.
To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.
I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
The recognition of the difference between appearance and reality is a human discovery.
In science, self-satisfaction is death. Personal self-satisfaction is the death of the scientist. Collective self-satisfaction is the death of the research. It is restlessness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, agony of mind that nourish science.
Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.
To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn't a joke. You must die - not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longing, pleasure; and agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.
He who gives money he has not earned is generous with other people’s labor.
If you can change your mind, you can change your life.
The very desire to be certain, to be secure, is the beginning of bondage. It's only when the mind is not caught in the net of certainty, and is not seeking certainty, that it is in a state of discovery.
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.
All things living are in search of a better world.
Do not believe that it is very much of an advance to do the unnecessary three times as fast.
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.
Reality is not confined to a single discipline.
Don't cut what you can untie.
To be conspicuous by one's absence and listened to by one's silence are two little masterpieces of vanity.
In life, stress happens when you resist what arises.
If you ask, then, where directly in your own experience the “I” comes in, the answer is that it comes in as a historical figure. It is what you were a second ago that is the “I” of the “me.” It is another “me” that has to take that rôle. You cannot get the immediate response of the “I” in the process.
That religion may have served some necessary function for us in the past does not preclude the possibility that it is now the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization.
When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.
It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.
In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.
A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.
People tend to talk about what people tend to talk about.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
I'm very interested in language because it reflects our obsessions and ways of conceptualising the world.
It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite.
We want to make life permanent, but in doing so we go against nature, and there lies our pain. Only the mind which is always moving, without resting places and fixed ideas, can be in tune with life and therefore joyful.