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General Quotations

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.

Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyper Reality, 1986.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help you create the fact.

William James, The Will to Believe, 1897

To live is like to love--all reason against it, and all healthy instinct for it.

Samuel Butler, Note Books

What is your religion? I mean--not what you know about religion but the belief that helps you most?

George Eliot

Do what you will, this life's a fiction, And is made up of contradiction.

William Blake, Gnomic Verses, No. 23

I have set my life upon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die.

William Shakespeare, Richard III, V.iv.9-10

With the rise of Christianity, faith replaced thought as the bringer of immortality.

Hannah Arendt, speech 5 December 1977

Art is long, life short; judgment difficult, opportunity transient.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister, Bk. vii, ch. ix.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

Albert Einstein, In an interview on "Belgenland," December 1930

Everything may happen. (Omnio fieri possent.)

Seneca, Epistuloe ad Lucilium, Epis. lxx, 9

History is philosophy teaching by example.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, De Arte Rhetorica

Death is nothing to us: for that which is dissolved is without sensation; and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.

Epicurus, Principal Doctrines, II.

All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.

Alexandre Dumas (the Elder), The Count of Monte Cristo

All great ideas are dangerous.

Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

Man is the only animal for whom his existence is a problem which he has to solve.

Erich Fromm, Man for Himself, 1947

This above all: to thine own self be true.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet,(Act I, scene iii)

The great artists are those who impose their peculiar vision on the rest of mankind.

Guy de Maupassant, Pierre et Jean, 1888

There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that's your own self.

Aldous Huxley

Heresy is the lifeblood of religions. It is faith that begets heresies. There are no heresies in a dead religion.

Andre Suares, Peguy

Life is half spent before we know what it is.

George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, 1651

The thing I am most aware of is my limits. And this is natural; for I never, or almost never, occupy the middle of my cage; my whole being surges toward the bars.

Andre Gide, Journals, 4 Aug 1930

What is it that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan or Saturn rocket and wait for someone to light the fuse?

Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff, 1979

I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans.

John Wesley, in a letter, 1747

The whole life of the philosopher is a preparation for death.


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Aldous Huxley

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, First Series: Self-Reliance

The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.

Max Lerner, The Unfinished Country, 1950

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Chinese proverb

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

Albert Einstein

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.

Ovid, The Art of Love, circa 8 C.E.

Memorable Quotes

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions.

Claude Levi-Strauss, Le Cru et le cuit, 1964

I say "me" knowing all the while it's not me.

Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable, 1953

Always do what you are afraid to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is no God. But it does not matter. Man is enough.

Edna St. Vincent Milay, Conversation at Midnight

To live with fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity.

Edward Weeks, in Look, 1961

What is now proven was once only imagined.

William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, 1860

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

Samuel Butler, Note Books

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Plato, The Republic. Book VII. 529

Quotes cards

Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to live in the real world.

Mary Shafer, NASA Ames Dryden

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.

Victor Hugo, Ninety-three, 1874

Is life worth living? That is a question for an embryo, not a man.

Samuel Butler, Note Books

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

Life is not an exact science, it is an art.

Samuel Butler, Note Books

Chaos often breeds life when order breeds habit.

Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, Ch. 16
Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of, and the meaning of it is nothing other than the sense you choose.
We tell lies when we are afraid, . . . afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary.
The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
What is it that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan or Saturn rocket and wait for someone to light the fuse?

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