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« Quotations and Aphorisms: 2006 | Quotations and Aphorisms Parent | Quotations and Aphorisms: 2008 »

October 21, 2007

Communication

Of all affairs, communication is the most wonderful. That things should be able to pass from the plane of external pushing and pulling to that of revealing themselves to man, and thereby to themselves; and that the fruit of communication should be participation, sharing, is a wonder by the side of which transubstantiation pales. ‐John Dewey...

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October 14, 2007

Non-Violence

People try non-violence for a week, and when it 'does not work', they go back to violence which hasn't worked for centuries.— Theodore Roszak...

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August 12, 2007

Respect

Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That's an idea we're so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it's kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'Fine, I respect that'. The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking 'Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?' but I wouldn't have thought 'Maybe there's somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics' when I was making the other points. I just think 'Fine, we have different opinions'. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say 'No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but no, we respect it'. —Douglas Adams...

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July 15, 2007

Einstein's God

It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. —Albert Einstein...

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God

God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them above their betters. —H. L. Mencken...

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July 14, 2007

A Personal God

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. —Albert Einstein...

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July 13, 2007

Courage

Fear believes—courage doubts. Fear falls upon the earth and prays—courage stands erect and thinks. Fear retreats—courage advances. Fear is barbarism—courage is civilization. Fear believes in witchcraft, in devils and in ghosts. Fear is religion, courage is science.—Robert Ingersoll...

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July 12, 2007

Faith

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." —Robert Ingersoll...

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Death

Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do? —Epicurus...

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July 11, 2007

Excuses

[Stendahl] robbed me of the best atheist joke which precisely I could have made: " God's only excuse is that he does not exist." —Frederich Nietzsche...

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July 10, 2007

Virtue

One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.— Bertrand Russell...

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July 8, 2007

A Moral Person

I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C," and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure threats of every religious group who thinks It has some god-given right to control my every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of " conservatism." —Barry Goldwater...

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July 6, 2007

Evolution

May it not suffice for me to say . . . that, of course, like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised. —Woodrow Wilson (1922)...

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January 26, 2007

A Quotation for Today

"What do you call bad?— Those who always want to put to shame.What do you consider most humane?—To spare someone shame."—Nietzsche...

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