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When I have ceased to exist, I won’t ever have existed.
A leader is a dealer in hope.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror.
CYNIC: A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
Should one name one central concept, a first principle, of cybernetics, it would be circularity.
it is very important, while you are young, to be real revolutionaries—which means not accepting anything, but inquiring into all these things to find out what is true. Only then can you create a new world.
Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.
We philosophers are mistake specialists.
Never lend books -- nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have lent me. 
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
I think that we're all mentally ill. Those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better - and maybe not all that much better after all.
It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas).
HORSE SENSE: Stable thinking
It will happen but it will take time.
The masses are the opium of religion.
If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.
The truth is so precious that it must be guarded by a vast bodyguard of lies.
How can we encourage other human beings to extend their moral sympathies beyond a narrow locus? How can we learn to become mere human beings, shorn of any more compelling national, ethnic, or religious identity? We can be reasonable. It is in the very nature of reason to fuse cognitive and moral horizons. Reason is nothing less than the guardian of love.
My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.
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.
if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies.
Much more than our other needs and endeavors, it is sexuality that puts us on an even footing with our kind: the more we practice it, the more we become like everyone else: it is in the performance of a reputedly bestial function that we prove our status as citizens: nothing is more public than the sexual act.
Everyone needs to be loved, especially when they do not deserve it.
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. 
Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.
Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.
Evolutionary psychology was the organizing framework—the source of “explanatory adequacy” or a “theory of the computation”—that the science of psychology had been missing. Like vision and language, our emotions and cognitive faculties are complex, useful, and nonrandomly organized, which means that they must be a product of the only physical process capable of generating complex, useful, nonrandom organization, namely, natural selection. An appeal to evolution was already implicit in the metatheoretical directives of Marr and Chomsky, with their appeal to the function of a mental faculty, and evolutionary psychology simply shows how to apply that logic to the rest of the mind.
The only profitable conversations are with enthusiasts who have ceased being so, with the ex-naïve. Calmed down at last, they have taken, willy-nilly, the decisive step toward knowledge, that impersonal version of disappointment.
Don't find fault, find a remedy.
It is better to be hated for what one is, than loved for what one is not.
Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.
Even if he does occasionally hurt people's feelings -- he occasionally hurts my feelings -- but I'm a big boy. I can get over it. I can argue back. We really need somebody to question the way a university is run.
Play the music, not the instrument.
I am asking myself what is fear: not what I am afraid of. I lead a certain kind of life; I think in a certain pattern; I have certain beliefs and dogmas and I don't want those patterns of existence to be disturbed because I have my roots in them. I don't want them to be disturbed because the disturbance produces a state of unknowing and I dislike that. If I am torn away from everything I know and believe, I want to be reasonably certain of the state of things to which I am going. So the brain cells have created a pattern and those brain cells refuse to create another pattern which may be uncertain. The movement from certainty to uncertainty is what I call fear.
I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority.
Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Money does not bring happiness, it buys it.
I think governments can't do much.
Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.
Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations,you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.
Reality is not confined to a single discipline.
No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.
I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.
Sometimes you can observe a lot by watching. 
Who would I want to read my journal? An insightful, compassionate voyeur, perhaps. Or, maybe I'm secretly writing to/for the god I wish existed, the god I longed for during my childhood and teenage years... Or, I’m writing to that part of myself (and all of us) that can forgive. As if true and original writing makes forgiveness natural.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.
One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.
The map is not the territory … The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map...
A man who is 'of sound mind' is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
Food is an important part of a balanced diet.
Why is it when we talk to God we're praying -- but when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic?
You are going to pay a price for every thing you do and every thing you don't do. You don't ge to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you're going to take.
No one gossips about other people's secret virtues. 
We always underestimate the ingenuity of idiots.
Once, the governing human metaphor was pastoral or agricultural, and it clarified, and so preserved in human care, the natural cycles of birth, growth, death, and decay. But modern humanity's governing metaphor is that of the machine. Having placed ourselves in charge of creation, we began to mechanize both the creation itself and our conception of it. We began to see the whole creation merely as raw material, to be transformed by machines into a manufactured Paradise.
You learn something every day if you pay attention.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
Life is a movement, a constant movement in relationship; and thought, trying to capture that movement in terms of the past, as memory, is afraid of life.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
Marriage is the waste-paper basket of the emotions.
The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you.
Creativity is connecting things.
My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher. And that is a good thing for any man
Our civilization seems to be suffering a second curse of Babel: Just as the human race builds a tower of knowledge that reaches to the heavens, we are stricken by a malady in which we find ourselves attempting to communicate with each other in countless tongues of scientific specialization... The only goal of science appeared to be analytical, i.e., the splitting up of reality into ever smaller units and the isolation of individual causal trains...We may state as characteristic of modern science that this scheme of isolable units acting in one-way causality has proven to be insufficient. Hence the appearance, in all fields of science, of notions like wholeness, holistic, organismic, gestalt, etc., which all signify that, in the last resort, we must think in terms of systems of elements in mutual interaction.
If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.
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.
Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices.
The most common error made in matters of appearance is the belief that one should disdain the superficial and let the true beauty of one's soul shine through. If there are places on your body where this is a possibility, you are not attractive - you
Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors - ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics. But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply.
Words are memes that can be pronounced.
Two starving men cannot be twice as hungry as one; but two rascals can be ten times as vicious as one.
As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.
A marriage is likely to be called happy if neither party ever expected to get much happiness out of it.
What a man can be, he must be.
Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.
Whatever we may say will not be the objective level, which remains fundamentally un-speakable. Thus, we can sit on the object called 'a chair', but we cannot sit on the noise we made or the name we applied to that object.
I used to want to be an old man when I was a kid. Now I'm an old man and my kids are growing, I think I want to be a kid.
Having been unpopular in high school is not a just cause for book publication.
Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them.
I got interested in the emotions after studying patients who had lost the ability to emote and feel under certain circumstances. Many of those patients also had major impairments in their ability to make decisions.
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Too little liberty brings stagnation, and too much brings chaos.
If all people learned to think in the non Aristotelian manner of quantum mechanics, the world would change so radically that most of what we call "stupidity" and even a great deal of what we consider "insanity" might disappear, and the "intractable" problems of war, poverty and injustice would suddenly seem a great deal closer to solution.
It is just the ones who have loved and been well loved, and who have had many deep friendships who can hold out against hatred, rejection or persecution.
What I say to myself - who says it? Who does he say it to?
Stripped to its essentials, every decision in life amounts to choosing which lottery ticket to buy. . . . Most organisms don't buy lottery tickets, but they all choose between gambles every time their bodies can move in more than one way. They should be willing to 'pay' for information---in tissue, energy, and time---if the cost is lower than the expected payoff in food, safety, mating opportunities, and other resources, all ultimately valuated in the expected number of surviving offspring. In multicellular animals the information is gathered and translated into profitable decisions by the nervous system.
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.
Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.
I don't tell people, 'You're okay the way that you are.' That's not the right story. The right story is, 'You're way less than you could be.'
He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.
Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.
Love thy neighbor as thyself, but choose your neighborhood.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Suffering is above, not below. And everyone thinks that suffering is below. And everyone wants to rise.
2394 quotes