WIST is my personal and ever-growing collection of quotations. Please feel free to browse and borrow. More info and contact information is available under "About WIST."
Quotes13476 quotes and counting ...
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.
2 Peter 3 [NIV]
- "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." [KJV]
Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
Let the great book of the world be your principal study.
If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.
I think the most un-American thing you can say is, “You can’t say that.”
The rack, or question, to extort a confession from criminals, is a practice of a different nature; [...] an engine of the state, not of law.
America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests, and teach us what it means to be citizens.
A pretty girl is like a melody
That haunts you night and day,
Just like the strain of a haunting refrain,
She’ll start upon a marathon
And run around your brain.
It is certain that great prosperity and worldly glory are no sure tokens of God’s love.
It is only when it takes the form of physical addiction that sex is evil. It is also evil when it manifests itself as a way of satisfying the lust for power or the climber’s craving for position and social distinction.
That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
When the limit of suffering is overpassed, the most imperturbable virtue is disconcerted.
I have not succeeded if I have an antagonist who fails. It must be humanity’s success.
There are some people who will never understand what loyalty means. They could tell you what it was, of course, but they will never know. They will never see it from the inside. They couldn’t imagine a world where something like that was real.
Since history is not an objective reality, but only an imaginative reconstruction of vanished events, the pattern that appears useful or agreeable to one generation is never entirely so to the next.
The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (1932)
The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.
‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.
‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said, gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date on which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not to be encountered in private life.
Self-trust is the first secret of success.
To carry care to bed is to sleep with a pack on your back.
Christianity has probably the most flexible morals of any religion, because Jesus left no code of law behind him like Moses or Muhammad, and his moral precepts are so different from those of ordinary life that no society has ever made any serious attempt to carry them out, such as was possible in the case of Israel and Islam. But every Christian church has tried to impose a code of morals of some kind for which it has claimed divine sanction. As these codes have always been opposed to those of the gospels a loophole has been left for moral progress such as hardly exists in other religions. This is no doubt an argument for Christianity as against other religions, but not as against none at all, or as against a religion which will frankly admit that its mythology and morals are provisional. That is the only sort of religion that would satisfy the scientific mind, and it is very doubtful whether it could properly be called a religion at all.
“Daedalus, or Science and the Future,” speech, Cambridge (24 Feb 1923)
All Politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision. To restrain this, is inevitably to bring a Rust upon Men’s Understandings.
It is difficult for a majority to see, let alone sympathize with, a practice that discriminates against a minority. It’s not unlike trying to get a fish to understand the concept of water! It is simply the medium in which the fish resides, requiring no cognition of the water that supports it. Discrimination — not just individual, but systemic — is the “water” in which the majority swims, and unless something happens to bring that discrimination into the view and consciousness of the majority, nothing will change, because the majority hardly, if ever, notices it.
If you leap into a Well, Providence is not bound to fetch you out.
The elevation of the mind ought to be the principal end of all our studies.
No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer.
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
There is almost no marital problem that can’t be helped enormously by taking off your clothes.
Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem.
Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides.
Good nature will always supply the absence of beauty; but beauty cannot supply the absence of good nature.
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
A modern poet has characterized the personality of art and the impersonality of science as follows: Art is I: Science is We.
Compete success alienates a man from his fellows, but suffering makes kinsmen of us all.
To accomplish almost anything worthwhile, it is necessary to compromise between the ideal and the practical.
Pain is a byproduct of life. That’s the truth. Life sometimes sucks. That’s true for everyone. But if you don’t face the pain and the suck, you don’t ever get the other things either. Laughter. Joy. Love. Pain passes, but those things are worth fighting for. Worth dying for.
Often cited to the short story "Vignette" (also known as "Publicity and Advertising"), but not found there.
It is from the ruins of the Capitol that we perceive, as from a great distance, a thousand years filled with dim shapes of men moving blindly, performing strangely, in an unreal shadowy world.
The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-century Philosophers, “The New History” (1932)
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
If the first button of one’s coat is wrongly buttoned, all the rest will be crooked.
Attributed in John Emerich & Edward Dalberg, The Cambridge Modern History (1904).
We measure the excellency of other men by some excellency we conceive to be in ourselves.
What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily — whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence — whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.
“On the Mindless Menace of Violence,” speech, City Club of Cleveland (5 Apr 1968)
The slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown. He must dominate in his turn.
I’m proof against that word failure. I’ve seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.
Felix Holt, the Radical (1866)
It took me twenty years to become an overnight success.
Though most often attributed to Cantor, the phrase is also associated with Danny Thomas and many others. Sometimes given as "It takes twenty years to become an overnight success" (or sometimes ten years). More here.
You may batter your way through the thick of the fray,
You may sweat, you may swear, you may grunt;
You may be a jack-fool, if you must, but this rule
Should ever be kept at the front:–
Don’t fight with your pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.
Science is as yet in its infancy, and we can foretell little of the future save that the thing that has not been is the thing that shall be; that no beliefs, no values, no institutions are safe. So far from being an isolated phenomenon the late war is only an example of the disruptive result that we may constantly expect from the progress of science. The future will be no primrose path. It will have its own problems. Some will be the secular problems of the past, giant flowers of evil blossoming at last to their own destruction. Others will be wholly new. Whether in the end man will survive his ascensions of power we cannot tell. But the problem is no new one. It is the old paradox of freedom re-enacted with mankind for actor and the earth for stage.
“Daedalus, or Science and the Future,” speech, Cambridge (24 Feb 1923)
We may have an excellent Ear in Musick, without being able to perform in any kind. We may judge well of Poetry, without being Poets, or possessing the least of a Poetick Vein: But we can have no tolerable Notion of Goodness, without being tolerably good.
The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.
With Stupidity and sound Digestion man may front much.
Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them.
That all history shows the necessity, in order to the preservation of liberty, of every subjects having a watchful eye on the conduct of Kings, Ministers, and Parliament, and of every subjects being not only secured, but encouraged in alarming his fellow subjects on occasion of every attempt upon public liberty.
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly,” ch. 9 “Of the Liberty of Speech and Writing on Political Subjects” (1774)