WIST is my personal collection of quotations. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 14,796 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America argument beauty belief change church and state creation death democracy destiny ego evil faith fear freedom future God government honesty humanity integrity justice law leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power religion science silence society success truth tyranny virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've only been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
Men love better books which please them than those which instruct. Since their ennui troubles them more than their ignorance, they prefer being amused to being informed.
Earliest found attribution in The New Era (Jan 1873).
There are no friends at cards or world politics
JONES: I’m going after that truck.
JONES: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.
So long as a man rides his hobbyhorse peaceably and quietly along the King’s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him — pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?
The three most beautiful words in the English language are not “I love you.” They are: “It is benign.”
Human nature is so constituted, that all see and judge better in the affairs of other men than in their own.
If these writings of the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed.
Ordering the burning of the Library of Alexandria in AD 641, as quoted in Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88). The story is generally considered spurious. More discussion here. Alt. trans.: "They will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous"
Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.
There is a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to the gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women … recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution, and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man.
To have a thing is little, if you’re not allowed to show it;
And to know a thing is nothing, unless others know you know it.
“So the moon effects magic, why?”
“I’m working on several theories,” I said. “But I’m currently favoring the hypothesis that the moon has a seemingly arbitrary effect on magic because it likes to piss me off.”
“That’s a theory with a high degree of applicability to other spheres of life,” he said.
“Yes, it is,” I said, and we spontaneously fist bumped.
How ridiculous is Caesar and Bonaparte wandering from one extreme of civilization to the other to conquer men — himself, the while, unconquered, unexplored, almost wholly unsuspected to himself?
You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch.”
The earliest source I can find of the quote is in People (8 Apr 1974), where it appears as an epigraph for a story on Mitchell three years after his flight to the Moon.
When “Do no Evil” has been understood,
Then learn the harder, braver rule, “Do Good.”
Those see nothing but faults that seek for nothing else.
Ought not every woman, like every man, to follow the bent of her own talents?
I have said time and again there is no place on this earth to which I would not travel, there is no chore I would not undertake if I had any faintest hope that, by so doing, I would promote the general cause of world peace.
If Carmel’s founders should return, they could not afford to live there, but it wouldn’t go that far. They would be instantly picked up as suspicious characters and deported over the city line.
Nothin’g sa’ys q’uality fantas’y l’ike misuse’d apos’tro’phes.
“SFBC 1999 June,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (11 Feb 2004)
Review of James Clemens's Wit'ch Storm.
Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.
“The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” (1981)
The girl that I will marry
Will be like a fine wine
That will become better
A bit every morning.
[La fille que j’aimera
Sera comme bon vin
Qui se bonifiera
Un peu chaque matin.]
A refined simplicity is the characteristic of all high bred deportment, in every country.
To act with common sense according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one’s duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot; bless the Goodness that has given so much happiness with it, whatever it is; and despise affectation.
YODA: No! Try not. Do — or do not. There is no try.
I wonder why you can always read a doctor’s bill and you can never read his prescription.
If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
Every man hath in his own life sins enough, in his own mind trouble enough, in his own fortune evils enough, and in performance of his offices failings more than enough, to entertain his own inquiry; so that curiosity after the affairs of others cannot be without envy, and an evil mind. What is it to me, if my neighbour’s grandfather were a Syrian, or his grandmother illegitimate; or that another is indebted five thousand pounds, or whether his wife be expensive?
It was a great relief to be in a country where salacious sex literature cannot be sold; where putrid motion pictures and gangster films cannot be shown. The new Germany has burned great masses of corrupting books and magazines along with its bonfires of Jewish and communistic libraries.
No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has “The Truth”. To be an atheist is almost as arrogant as to be a fundamentalist. But then again, I can get pretty arrogant.
To live bravely by convictions from which the free peoples of the world can take heart, the American people must put their faith in long-range policies — political, economic, and military — programs that will not be heated and cooled with the brightening and waning of tensions. The United States has matured to world leadership; it is time we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship.
Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just … start.
“Start now” (27 Sep 2014)
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consultin’ with the rain;
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’,
If I only had a brain.
Say nothing good of yourself, you will be distrusted; say nothing bad of yourself, you will be taken at your word.
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, Part 5 “Joy, Suffering, Fortune,” #22 (1886) [tr. Hapgood]
“There’s weird shit,” I said. “And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.” Which is often that a wizard did it.
The Bible is a sealed book to him who has not first heard its laws from his soul.
I like to believe that people, in the long run, are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?
Some Mistakes of Moses, Sec. 18 “Dampness” (1879)
All God’s creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who does most good to God’s creatures.
Mister Marvin Middle Class is really in a stew
Wond’rin’ what the younger generation’s coming to
And the taste of his martini doesn’t please his bitter tongue
Blame it on the Rolling Stones.
Blame it on the Stones; blame it on the Stones
You’ll feel so much better, knowing you don’t stand alone
Join the accusation; save the bleeding nation
Get it off your shoulders; blame it on the Stones.
O Earth! all bathed with blood and tears, yet never
Hast thou ceased putting forth thy fruit and flowers.
The way’s not easy where the prize is great:
I hope no virtues, where I smell no sweat.
Emblems, Emblem 11, Epigram (1634)
Often given, "I see no virtue where I smell no sweat."
A staff can be no better than the man it serves.
Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.
“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” (1979)
Look, I tried the cat experiment. On the third trial, the cat was dead. On each of the subsequent 413 trials, it remained dead. Am I doing something wrong?
“SCHRODINGER’S CAT??” sci.physics, Usenet (11 Mar 1992)
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-rousing remain the true duty of patriots.
“Introduction: Family Values” (1988), The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990)
Men understand the worth of blessings only when they have lost them.
The scholar, without good breeding, is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.
MICHAEL: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
SAM: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
MICHAEL: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?
“Vice,” said Mr. Dooley, “is a creature of such heejous mein, as Hogan says, that th’ more ye see it th’ betther ye like it.”
[“Vice,” said Mr. Dooley, “is a creature of such hideous mien, as Hogan says, that the more you see it the better you like it.”]
“The Crusade Against Vice,” Mr. Dooley’s Opinions (1901)