WIST is my personal collection of quotations. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
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Topic Cloudaction age America argument art author beauty belief change church and state creativity death democracy destiny education ego evil faith fear freedom future God government history honesty humanity integrity leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power religion science silence success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
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He died doing what he loved most: not being dead.
Tweet (3 Oct 2014)
Philosophy directs us first to seek the goods of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied, or are not much wanted.
To work a Man to thy Bent: 1. Know his Inclinations. 2. Observe his Ends. 3. Search out his Weakness. And so thou mayst either draw or drive him.
Censorship, in my opinion, is a stupid and shallow way of approaching the solution to any problem. Though sometimes necessary, as witness a professional and technical secret that may have a bearing upon the welfare and very safety of this country, we should be very careful in the way we apply it, because in censorship always lurks the very great danger of working to the disadvantage of the American nation.
Are you going to come along quietly, or am I going to have to use ear plugs?
The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.
‘Tis Perseverance that prevails.
Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.
We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything.
Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves — to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.
Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something which you have to be all the time. Which isn’t easy.
What makes a plan capable of producing results is the commitment of key people to work on specific tasks.
Be what you wish others to become. Let yourself and not your words preach for you.
Crazy — a nonscientific term meaning that the person to whom one applies that label has a world picture differing from the accepted one.
Theology being the work of males, original sin was traced to the female.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, ch. 9 (1978)
Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.
Oh! be thou blest with all that Heaven can send,
Long health, long youth, long pleasure, and a friend.
We believe in only the government we need, but we insist on all the government we need. We believe in a government that is characterized by fairness and reasonableness, a reasonableness that goes beyond labels, that doesn’t distort or promise to do things that we know we can’t do. We believe in a government strong enough to use words like “love” and “compassion” and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities. We believe in encouraging the talented, but we believe that while survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order.
Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention (16 Jul 1984)
Solutions nearly always come from the direction you least expect, which means there’s no point trying to look in that direction because it won’t be coming from there.
I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect of the religion of the country, and its ceremonies. Prudence, policy, and a true Christian spirit, will lead us to look wit compassion up their errors without insulting them. While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case are they answerable.
“Charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force,” letter to Benedict Arnold (14 Sep 1775)
Regarding the invasion of (Catholic) Quebec, Canada.
When we are pleased with ourselves, we are pleased with others.
If the man doesn’t believe as we do, we say he is a crank, and that settles it. I mean it does nowadays, because now we can’t burn him.
No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.
If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?
Never threaten, because a threat is a promise to pay that it isn’t always convenient to meet, but if you don’t make it good it hurts your credit.
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son
There are some philosophers who exist to uphold the status quo, and others who exist to upset it. … For my part, I should reject both those as not being the true business of a philosopher, and I should say the business of a philosopher is not to change the world but to understand it, which is the exact opposite to what Marx said.
We are susceptible only to those suggestions with which we are already secretly in accord.
MAL: Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.
But finally, there is one other quality I would mention among these that I believe will fit you for difficult and important posts. This is a healthy and lively sense of humor.
There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.
Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.
Some very worthy persons, who have not had great advantages for information, have objected against that clause in the constitution which provides, that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. They have been afraid that this clause is unfavorable to religion. But my countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it is to exclude persecution, and to secure to you the important right of religious liberty. We are almost the only people in the world, who have a full enjoyment of this important right of human nature. In our country every man has a right to worship God in that way which is most agreeable to his conscience. If he be a good and peaceable person he is liable to no penalties or incapacities on account of his religious sentiments; or in other words, he is not subject to persecution. But in other parts of the world, it has been, and still is, far different. Systems of religious error have been adopted, in times of ignorance. It has been the interest of tyrannical kings, popes, and prelates, to maintain these errors. When the clouds of ignorance began to vanish, and the people grew more enlightened, there was no other way to keep them in error, but to prohibit their altering their religious opinions by severe persecuting laws. In this way persecution became general throughout Europe.
Essay (17 Dec 1787)
No, I have never wanted to be a man. I have often wanted to be more effective as a woman, but I have never felt that trousers would do the trick!
She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.
If you don’t know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something.
Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; It is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
May you live to be a hundred years,
With one extra year to repent.
It’s important to remember that the relationship between different media tends to be complementary. When new media arrive they don’t necessarily replace or eradicate previous types. Though we should perhaps observe a half second silence for the eight-track. — There that’s done. What usually happens is that older media have to shuffle about a bit to make space for the new one and its particular advantages. Radio did not kill books and television did not kill radio or movies — what television did kill was the cinema newsreel.
The higher paranoid scholarship is nothing if not coherent — in fact the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world.
The man who makes it his business to please the multitude is never done.
The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason.
It is really mortifying, sir, when a woman possessed of a common share of understanding considers the difference of education between the male and female sex, even in those families where education is attended to …. Nay, why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me, sir, if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealousy of rivals near the throne.
I often say that research is a way of finding out what you are going to do when you can’t keep on doing what you are doing now.
Happiness is where we find it, but very rarely where we seek it.
Slavery was contrary to all the moral principles advocated by Plato and Aristotle, yet neither of them saw this because to renounce slavery would have meant the collapse of the life they were living.
The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible is that which takes a little longer.
Quoted in Reader's Digest (Nov 1939), but without citation. The sentiment has a number of antecedents (see discussion here).
ZOE: Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killin’?
BOOK: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.
The hope of the world is that wisdom can arrest conflict between brothers. I believe that war is the deadly harvest of arrogant and unreasoning minds.
Would you have a friend who talks to you the way you talk to yourself?
Commencement Address, Sweet Briar College (22 May 1994)
There are reproaches that compliment, and compliments that disparage.
Now who can hear Christ declare that his kingdom is not of this world, and yet believe that this blending of church and state together can be pleasing to him?
An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty (1773)
I am stressing that it is the force of ideas rather than the impact of material things that made us a great nation. It is my conviction, too, that only the power of ideas, of enduring values, can keep us a great nation. For, where there is no vision the people perish.
“The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord.”
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. “Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”