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."
Quotes13676 quotes and counting ...
The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation.
Interview with Antonio Spadaro, America Magazine (30 Sep 2013)
Wherever a knave is not punished, an honest man is laughed at.
Let us resolve to do the best we can with what we’ve got.
We love peace, yet spurn a tame submission to wrong.
A President is best judged by the enemies he makes when he has really hit his stride.
The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.
Galatians 5:19-21 (CEB)
- Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NRSV)
- Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)
The grackle’s voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
An ornithological debacle.
She’s the sort of woman who lives for others — you can always tell the others by their haunted expression.
Men, as well as women, are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings.
It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference.
If you think there are no new frontiers, watch a boy ring the front doorbell on his first date.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has enjoyed the trust of good women, and the respect of intellectual men and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, and who has left the world better than he found it whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul, who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, and whose memory is a benediction.
The essay (though often presented in stanzas) was written for a poetry contest to answer the question "What is success?" in 100 words or less. It (especially the first 13 words) is often misattributed to Robert Louis Stevenson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Elbert Hubbard (the latter probably because the essay appeared in an advertisment in his series of books Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers (e.g.). More information here.
He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed.
There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone:
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back onto our own.
I just have one of those faces. People come up to me and say, “What’s wrong?” Nothing. “Well, it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile.” Yeah, you know it takes more energy to point that out than it does to leave me alone?
Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.
Like many men of genius, he could not understand why things obvious to him should not be so at once to other people, and found it easier to believe that they were corrupt than that they could be so stupid.
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide.
SIMON: What happens if they board us?
ZOE: If they take the ship, they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.
Man seeks objectives that enable him to convert the attainment of every goal into a means for the attainment of a new and more desirable goal. The ultimate objective in such a sequence cannot be obtainable; otherwise its attainment would put an end to the process. An end that satisfies these conditions is an ideal …. Thus the formulation and pursuit of ideals is a means by which to put meaning and significance into his life and into the history of which he is part.
I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice — it was the choice of the one who subjected it — but in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.
We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, & in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.
Letter to the New Church (22 Jan 1793)
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.
In the final analysis, a democratic government represents the sum total of the courage and the integrity of its individuals. It cannot be better than they are.
Every major industrialized nation has A BEER (you can’t be a Real Country unless you have A BEER and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need A BEER).
The Real Frank Zappa Book, ch. 12 “America Drinks & Goes Marching” (1989)
Success is ten percent opportunity and ninety percent intelligent hustle.
It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.
Man can learn nothing unless he proceeds from the known to the unknown.
You know I’ve noticed a certain anti-intellectualism going around this country ever since around 1980, coincidentally enough. I was in Nashville, Tennessee last weekend and after the show I went to a Waffle House, and I’m sitting there and I’m eating and reading a book. I don’t know anybody, I’m alone, I’m eating and I’m reading a book. This waitress comes over to me (mocks chewing gum) “What you readin’ for?” Wow, I’ve never been asked that; not “What am I reading,” “What am I reading for?” Well, goddammit, you stumped me. I guess I read for a lot of reasons — the main one is so I don’t end up being a fuckin’ waffle waitress. Yeah, that would be pretty high on the list. Then this trucker in the booth next to me gets up, stands over me and says [mocks Southern drawl] “Well, looks like we got ourselves a readah.” What the fuck’s going on? It’s like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George costume or something. Am I stepping out of some intellectual closet here? I read, there I said it. I feel better.
If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting it off.
The worst thing about stupidity is its insistency.
A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.
ZOE: I know something ain’t right.
WASH: Sweetie, we’re crooks. If everything were right, we’d be in jail.
Recently I asked three corporate executives what decisions they had made in the last year that they would not have made were it not for their it not for their corporate plans. All had difficulty in identifying one such decision. Since each of their plans were marked “secret” or “confidential,” I asked them how their competitors might benefit from the possession of their plans. Each answered with embarrassment that their competitors would not benefit. Yet these executives were strong advocates of corporate planning.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
John 16:12-13 (NRSV)
Alt. trans.: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (KJV)
Unhappy it is though to reflect, that a Brother’s Sword has been sheathed in a Brother’s breast, and that, the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with Blood, or Inhabited by Slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?
Letter to George William Fairfax (31 May 1775)
Grace is beauty in action.
A respect for the rights of other people to determine their forms of government and their economy will not weaken our democracy. It will inevitably strengthen it. One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.
Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, three months ago broad daylight, but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back. I can give myself up to the sacred frenzy, I can have the insolence to make a full confession to mortal men that I have stolen the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make from them a tabernacle for my God far from the confines of the land of Egypt. If you forgive me I shall rejoice; if you are angry, I shall bear it; I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen.
The Harmonies of the World [Harmonices Mundi], Book 5, Introduction (1618)
- "It may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer." [in David Brewster, The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841)]
- "It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer."
- "I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony ... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker." [in S Krantz and B Blank, Calculus: Multivariable (2006)]
- "I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice.; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study him."
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.
I hear much of People’s calling out to punish the Guilty, but very few are concern’d to clear the Innocent.
There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.
My hope of preserving peace for our country is not founded in the greater principles of non-resistance under every wrong, but in the belief that a just and friendly conduct on our part will procure justice and friendship from others.
The real sadness of fifty is not that you change so much but that you change so little.
Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the purely scientific mind.
“The Preaching Humorist,” The Saturday Review of Literature (18 Oct 1941)
The apparent origin of "Analyzing humor is a bit like dissecting a frog: You learn how it works but you end up with a dead frog" (and variants). Also attributed to Mark Twain (not found in his writing) and André Maurois (who said something similar in 1960). See here for more.
Better one byrde in hand than ten in the wood.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (KJV)
Every man seeks for truth: God only knows who has found it.
No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.
“Optimism,” part 1 (1903)
Gentlemen: I shall never shave, for the same reason that I started a beard, and for the reason my father started his. I remember standing at his side, when I was five, while he was shaving for the last time. “Father,” I asked, “Why do you shave?” He stood there for a full minute and finally looked down at me. “Why the hell do I?” he said.
Postcard response when invited by an electric razor company to shave off his beard with their product. Variant:
- "I was about five at the time, and I was standing at my father's knee whilst he was shaving. I said to him, 'Daddy, why do you shave?' He looked at me in silence, for a full minute, before throwing the razor out of the window, saying, 'Why the hell do I?' He never did again."
The Bill of Rights was designed trustfully to prohibit forever two of the favorite crimes of all known governments: the seizure of private property without adequate compensation and the invasion of the citizen’s liberty without justifiable cause and due process.
Beauty loses its relish; the graces never.
It seems to me that America’s objective today should be to try to make herself the best possible mirror of democracy that she can. The people of the world can see what happens here. They watch us to see what we are going to do and how well we can do it. We are giving them the only possible picture of democracy that we can: the picture as it works in actual practice. This is the only way other peoples can see for themselves how it works; and can determine for themselves whether this thing is good in itself, whether it is better than they have, better than what other political and economic systems offer them.
The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, ch. 43 “Milestones” (1961)
Since geometry is co-eternal with the divine mind before the birth of things, God himself served as his own model in creating the world (for what is there in God which is not God?), and he with his own image reached down to humanity.