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Like language, a code of manners can be used with more or less skill, for laudable or for evil purposes, to express a great variety of ideas and emotions. In itself, it carries no moral value, but ignorance in use of this tool is not a sign of virtue.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Common Courtesy, “Of Etiquette as Language, Weapon, Custom, and Craft” (1985)
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Added on 13-May-24 | Last updated 13-May-24
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Science doesn’t supply happiness; but neither does its lack. The same can be said of social utopias: they aren’t created by science, but neither does lack of science provide them. Science has cast up dangerous and cruel knowledge, which has been exploited for warfare and dictatorial power; but so have cultures so little gifted with scientists that they either make do with imported weapons or rely on clubs, axes, and daggers. Scientific information about our mistakes — for instance, that deforestation invites mud slides and deserts, that overfishing depletes fish stocks — doesn’t guarantee we will avoid such mistakes or correct them, but that is owing to failure to heed what science uncovers.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
Dark Age Ahead, ch. 3 “Science Abandoned” (2004)
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Added on 11-Mar-24 | Last updated 11-Mar-24
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Technological advance is rapid. But without progress in charity, technological advance is useless. Indeed, it is worse than useless. Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Ends and Means: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Ideals, ch. 1 (1937)
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Added on 3-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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Think of all the smart people who are made stupid by flaws of character. The finest watch isn’t fine long when used as a hammer.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #19 (Spring 1999)
 
Added on 30-Nov-21 | Last updated 30-Nov-21
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Ability is a poor man’s wealth.

Matthew Wren (1585-1667) English clergyman, bishop, scholar
(Attributed)

First found in Day's Collacon (1884).
 
Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
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MONGO: Mongo only pawn in game of life.

Mel Brooks (b. 1926) American comedic actor, writer, producer [b. Melvyn Kaminsky]
Blazing Saddles (1974)
 
Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Philosophy, brought afresh to repute by Kant […] had soon become a tool of interests; of state interests […] The driving forces of this movement are, contrary to all these solemn airs and assertions, not ideal […] Party interests are vehemently agitating the pens of so many purer lovers of wisdom […] truth is certainly the last thing they have in mind […] Philosophy is misused, from the side of the state as tool, from the other side as means of gain […] Governments make of philosophy a means of serving their state interests, and scholars make of it a trade.

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
(Attributed)
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Criticizing Hegel and Hegelianism, and the latter's state-philosophy alliance. Attributed in Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, ch. 12 (1945).
 
Added on 23-Jul-15 | Last updated 12-Apr-23
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It is only when it takes the form of physical addiction that sex is evil. It is also evil when it manifests itself as a way of satisfying the lust for power or the climber’s craving for position and social distinction.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Ends and Means (1937)
 
Added on 17-Dec-14 | Last updated 17-Dec-14
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So computers are tools of the Devil? thought Newt. He had no problem believing it. Computers had to be the tools of somebody, and all he knew for certain was that it definitely wasn’t him.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, 6. “Saturday” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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Added on 22-May-14 | Last updated 22-Dec-23
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Liberty, next to religion, has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” Speech, Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
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Added on 11-Feb-14 | Last updated 12-Feb-20
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The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye. We are active; and indeed we know, as something more than a symbolic accident in the evolution of man, that it is the hand that drives the subsequent evolution of the brain. We find tools today made by man before he became man. Benjamin Franklin in 1778 called man “a tool-making animal,” and that is right.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
The Ascent of Man, ch. 3 (1973)
 
Added on 8-Dec-10 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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WALLY: Stupidity is like nuclear power; it can be used for good or evil.
DILBERT: And you don’t want to get any on you.

Scott Adams (b. 1957) American cartoonist
Dilbert (11 Dec. 1995)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
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Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Speech, Boston (11 Jun 1928)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
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