Quotations about   problems

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I also think living in the country gives you faith. All you have to do is get up and look at the mountains and look at the other animals to realize that your problems are mostly made up or exacerbated by humans. But human life isn’t necessarily life. There’s so much more out there.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Interview in OutSmart (Jan 1998)
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Added on 30-Oct-17 | Last updated 30-Oct-17
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There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to mind. We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough. But it can’t be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we’ve ever known in any period of the world’s history. So it can’t be because we don’t know enough. And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can’t be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to warp distance and place time in chains, so that today it’s possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that. It can’t be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man’s scientific genius has been amazing. I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Rediscovering Lost Values,” Sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)
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Added on 7-Apr-17 | Last updated 8-Apr-17
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I doubt if there is in the world a single problem, whether social, political, or economic, which would not find ready solution if men and nations would rule their lives according to the plain teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
“Greeting to the World’s Christian Endeavor Convention,” Melbourne (15 Jun 1938)
Added on 9-Oct-16 | Last updated 9-Oct-16
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“Simple things are never problems,” I told her. “Unfortunate, maybe, but if it isn’t complicated, it isn’t really a problem.”

The Goddess nodded. “Very good, Vlad; I didn’t expect such wisdom from you.”

I grunted and didn’t tell her I was quoting my grandfather; I’d rather she stayed impressed.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Issola (2001)
Added on 9-Sep-16 | Last updated 9-Sep-16
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There ain’t any news in being good. You might write the doings of all the convents of the world on the back of a postage stamp, and have room to spare.

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
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You can judge a leader by the size of the problem he tackles — people nearly always pick a problem their own size, and ignore or leave to others the bigger or smaller ones. The chief executive should be thinking about the long-term changes which will bring growth or decay to different parts of the enterprise, not fussing over day-to-day problems. Other people can cope with the waves, it’s his job to watch the tide.

Jay - watch the tide - wist_info quote

Antony Jay (b. 1930) English writer, broadcaster, director
Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into the Politics of Corporate Life, ch. 17 (1967)
Added on 15-Feb-16 | Last updated 15-Feb-16
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People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.

Shaw - attached to burdens - wist_info quote

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
A Treatise on Parents and Children (1910)
Added on 14-Jan-16 | Last updated 14-Jan-16
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Poverty is the only burden which is not lightened by being shared with others.

Jean-Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [pseud. Jean-Paul]
(Attributed)
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In Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech (1886)
Added on 7-Jan-16 | Last updated 7-Jan-16
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Substantial progress toward better things can rarely be taken without developing new evils requiring new remedies.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers (1916)
Added on 10-Aug-15 | Last updated 10-Aug-15
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English does not contain a suitable word for “system of problems.” Therefore, I have had to coin one. I choose to call such a system a mess.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
Redesigning the Future (1974)
Added on 5-Mar-15 | Last updated 5-Mar-15
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If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Dec-14 | Last updated 18-Dec-14
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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.

J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964) English geneticist [John Burden Sanderson Haldane]
“Daedalus, or Science and the Future,” speech, Cambridge (24 Feb 1923)
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Added on 5-Dec-14 | Last updated 5-Dec-14
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The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.

Robert Francis Kennedy (1925-1968) American politician
“Day of Affirmation,” address, University of Capetown, South Africa (6 Jun 1966)
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Added on 24-Nov-14 | Last updated 24-Nov-14
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At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice, and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1952)
Added on 5-Nov-14 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
No Man Is an Island, 7.7 (1955)
Added on 21-Oct-14 | Last updated 21-Oct-14
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We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 8, 12 Aug 1904 (1929)
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Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American poltician, educator, US President (1963-69)
News conference, Johnson City, Texas (28 Nov 1964)
Added on 27-Mar-13 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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And we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient — that we are only six percent of the world’s population — that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind — that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity — and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, University of Washington, Seattle (16 Nov 1961)
Added on 2-Apr-12 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
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When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
The Second World War, Vol. 2: Their Finest Hour, ch. 23 “September Tensions” (1949)
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Added on 4-Oct-10 | Last updated 25-Mar-19
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And I have again observed, my dear friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.

[Und ich habe, mein Lieber, wieder bei diesem kleinen Geschäft gefunden, dass Missverständnisse und Trägheit vielleicht mehr Irrungen in der Welt machen als List und Bosheit. Wenigstens sind die beiden letzteren gewiss seltener.] 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers [The Sorrows of Young Werther], “Letter from May 4th” (1774)

Alt. trans.: "Misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent."
Added on 29-Jan-09 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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It’s not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American writer, epigramist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-May-15
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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Innovation,” Essays, No. 26 (1625)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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