Quotations about   catastrophe

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Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make — bombs for instance, or strawberry shortcake — if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it has floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you’d made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.

Lemony Snicket (b. 1970) American author, screenwriter, musician (pseud. for Daniel Handler)
The Austere Academy (2000)
Added on 20-Jan-21 | Last updated 20-Jan-21
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H.G. Wells said that history was a race between education and catastrophe, and it may be that the writer will add just sufficient impetus to education to enable it to outrace catastrophe. And if education wins by even the narrowest of margins, how much more can we ask for?

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“Your Future As A Writer,” Writer’s Digest (May 1986)
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See referenced quotation by Wells.
Added on 7-Jan-20 | Last updated 7-Jan-20
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Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) British writer [Herbert George Wells]
The Outline of History, Vol. 2, ch. 41, sec. 4 (1921)
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Also attributed to Wells: "Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have."
Added on 6-Jan-20 | Last updated 6-Jan-20
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It was said that God, in order to test mankind which had become swelled with pride as in the time of Noah, had commanded the wise men of that age, among them the Blessed Leibowitz, to devise great engines of war such as had never before been upon the Earth, weapons of such might that they contained the very fires of Hell, and that God had suffered these magi to place the weapons in the hands of princes, and to say to each prince: “Only because the enemies have such a thing have we devised this for thee, in order that they may know that thou hast it also, and fear to strike. See to it, m’Lord, that thou fearest them as much as they shall now fear thee, that none may unleash this dread thing which we have wrought.” But the princes, putting the words of their wise men to naught, thought each to himself: If I but strike quickly enough, and in secret, I shall destroy these others in their sleep, and there will be none to fight back; the earth shall be mine.

Such was the folly of princes, and there followed the Flame Deluge.

Walter M. Miller Jr. (1923-1996) American science fiction writer
A Canticle for Leibowitz, “Fiat Homo,” ch. 6 (1959)
Added on 30-Jan-17 | Last updated 30-Jan-17
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Americans learn only from catastrophes and not from experience.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Autobiography (1913)
Added on 4-Jun-14 | Last updated 4-Jun-14
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VENKMAN: This city is headed for a disaster of Biblical proportions.

MAYOR: What do you mean, “Biblical”?

RAY: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!

EGON: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes …

WINSTON: The dead rising from the grave!

VENKMAN: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters [with Harold Ramis] (1984)
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Added on 18-May-10 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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