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."
Quotes13944 quotes and counting ...
They taught me that the truth would make me free but failed to warn me of the kind of trouble I’d get into by trying to tell it — I remain duly grateful.
“Attitude,” Commencement Address, University Of Toronto (14 Jun 1983)
He is the true conqueror of pleasure, who can make use of it without being carried away by it, not he who abstains from it altogether.Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist
- "The one to master pleasure is not he who abstains but he who employs it without being carried away by it -- just as being a master of a ship or of a horse is not abstaining from using them, but directing them where one wishes." (Fragment 55 Mannebach) (Stob. Ecl. 3.17 17
- "The master of pleasure is not he who abstains from it, but he who uses it without being carried away by it."
The curse of man, and the cause of nearly all his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible.
Only the very bad or the very good are polygamists.
“Contentions 2,” #84
And by the way, in the the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.
Many talk like Philosophers and live like Fools.
The starting point of all achievement is desire.
ZOE: You sanguine about the kind of reception we’re apt to receive on an Alliance ship, Cap’n?
MAL: Absolutely. [Pause] What’s “sanguine” mean?
ZOE: “Sanguine”. Hopeful. Plus, point of interest: it also means “bloody”.
MAL: Well, that pretty much covers all the options, don’t it?
There is an old saw in the services: that which is not inspected deteriorates.
Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part than what we suspect of what we think.
If evil Men speak good, or good Men evil of thee; examine thy Actions, and suspect thyself.
We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.
Speech, Baptist General Meeting, Chesterfield, Virginia (21 Nov 1808)
Peace will not be built, however, by people with bitterness in their hearts.
There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do.
Any sufficiently advanced indifference is indistinguishable from evil.
The gloomy and the resentful are always found among those who have nothing to do or who do nothing.
Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and inward man be at one.
Privacy is as necessary as company; you can drive a man crazy by depriving him of either.
Honor wears different coats to different eyes.
The Guns of August, ch. 7 (1962)
I must say I’m not very fond of oratory that’s so full of energy it hasn’t any room for facts.
Arrowsmith, ch. 22, part 3 (1925)
The result of a single action may spread like the circles that expand when a stone is thrown into a pond, until they touch places and people unguessed at by the person who threw the stone.
Contraceptives should be used on all conceivable occasions.
Ultimately, therefore, the question “whether or not we admit religious values into our public affairs” is too broad to yield a single answer. “Yes,” we create our public morality through consensus and in this country that consensus reflects to some extent religious values of a great majority of Americans. But “no,” all religiously based values don’t have an a priori place in our public morality. The community must decide if what is being proposed would be better left to private discretion than public policy; whether it restricts freedoms, and if so to what end, to whose benefit; whether it will produce a good or bad result; whether overall it will help the community or merely divide it.
“Religious Belief and Public Morality,” John A. O’Brien Lecture, U. of Notre Dame (13 Sep 1984)
Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.
Business and pleasure, rightly understood, mutually assist each other, instead of being enemies, as silly or dull people often think them. No man tastes pleasures truly who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well who do nothing else.
Earthly minds, like mud walls, resist the strongest batteries: and though, perhaps, sometimes the force of a clear argument may make some impression, yet they nevertheless stand firm, and keep out the enemy, truth, that would captivate or disturb them. Tell a man passionately in love that he is jilted; bring a score of witnesses of the falsehood of his mistress, it is ten to one but three kind words of hers shall invalidate all their testimonies.
Idolatry is worse than atheism.
“Contentions 2,” #37
I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and, like the grave, cries, “Give, give!” The great fish swallow up the small; and he who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances.
Looky here, America
What you done done —
Let things drift
Until the riots come.
“Beaumont to Detroit: 1943″
The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after hell is over.
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.
ZOE: Cap’n’ll come up with a plan.
KAYLEE: Well, that’s good. Right?
ZOE: Possible you’re not recalling some of his previous plans.
Thank goodness, many years ago, I had a preceptor, for whom my admiration has never died, and he had a favorite saying, one that I trust I try to live by. It was: always take your job seriously, never yourself.
There is something to be said for every error; but, whatever may be said for it, the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous.
Watch how a man takes praise, and there you have the measure of him.
We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.
We will have to want peace, want it enough to pay for it, pay for it in our own behavior and in material ways. We will have to want it enough to overcome our lethargy and go out and find all those in other countries who want it as much as we do.
Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.
Wisdom without honesty is mere craft and cozenage.
Timber, or Discoveries Made upon Men and Matter (1641)
Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.
Teach me to feel another’s Woe;
To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others show,
That Mercy show to me.
If the human animal has any value at all, he is too valuable to be property. If he has an inner dignity, he is much too proud to own other men. I don’t give a damn how scrubbed and perfumed he may be, a slave owner is subhuman.
The contemporary has no perspective; everything is in the foreground and appears the same size. Little matters loom big, and great matters are sometimes missed because their outlines cannot be seen. Vietnam and Panama are given four-column headlines today, but the historian 50 or 100 years hence will put them in a chapter under a general heading we have not yet thought of.
“Can History Be Served Up Hot?” New York Times (8 Mar 1964)
You always said people don’t do what they believe in,
they just do what’s most convenient, then they repent.
The only things in which we can be said to have any property are our actions. Our thoughts may be bad, yet produce no poison; they may be good, yet produce no fruit. Our riches may be taken away from us by misfortune, our reputation by malice, our spirits by calamity, our health by disease, our friends by death. But our actions must follow us beyond the grave; with respect to them alone, we can not say that we shall carry nothing with us when we die, neither that we shall go naked out of the world.
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat. Life is a level of complexity that almost lies outside our vision; it is so far beyond anything we have any means of understanding that we just think of it as a different class of object, a different class of matter; ‘life’, something that had a mysterious essence about it, was God given, and that’s the only explanation we had.
Speech, Digital Biota 2 Conference, Cambridge, UK (Sep 1998)
Quoted by Richard Dawkins in his eulogy for Adams (17 Sep 2001)
For telling a good and incisive religious joke, you should be praised. For telling a bad one, you should be ridiculed and reviled. The idea that you could be prosecuted for the telling of either is quite fantastic.
Letter to The Times of London (Oct 2001)
Regarding proposed legislation outlaw "incitement to religious hatred."
The honest Man takes Pains, and then enjoys Pleasures;
the Knave takes Pleasure, and then suffers Pains.
Everyone believes very easily whatever they fear or desire.
The believer sings louder than he speaks.
“Contentions 2,” #33
Another thing. This idea of “I’m offended”. Well I’ve got news for you. I’m offended by a lot of things too. Where do I send my list? Life is offensive, you know what I mean? Just get in touch with your outer adult, and grow up, and move on. Reasonable people don’t write letters because (a) they have lives and (b), they understand it’s just TV, (c) if they see something they don’t like, something they do like might be on later. I’ve seen many comics I’ve hated. I’ve seen many religious shows that have offended me. I’ve never written a letter. I just go about my life.
Interview with Howard Stern (1993)