Quotes I find interesting (not necessarily correct!) from things I read or hear

May 16, 2024

Congregations love to be scolded, but not reformed

  • Will Durant, The Age of Faith

May 16, 2024

Educate the children and it won’t be necessary to punish the men.

  • Pythagoras

May 15, 2024

[…] books are the main peer group of any thinker.

May 7, 2024

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

  • Cicero

May 3, 2024

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

  • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Apr 29, 2024

You are carrying God about you, you poor wretch, and know it not.

  • Epictetus, quoted from Caesar and Christ by Will Durant

Mar 30, 2024

The evil was not in the bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.

  • Cicero

Mar 25, 2024

The heritage that we can now more fully transmit is richer than ever before. It is richer than that of Pericles, for it includes all the Greek flowering that followed him; richer than Leonardo’s, for it includes him and the Italian Renaissance; richer than Voltaire’s, for it embraces all the French Enlightenment and its ecumenical dissemination. If progress is real despite our whining, it is not because we are born any healthier, better, or wiser than infants were in the past, but because we are born to a richer heritage, born on a higher level of that pedestal which the accumulation of knowledge and art raises as the ground and support of our being. The heritage rises, and man rises in proportion as he receives it.

History is, above all else, the creation and recording of that heritage; progress is its increasing abundance, preservation, transmission, and use. To those of us who study history not merely as a warning reminder of man’s follies and crimes, but also as an encouraging remembrance of generative souls, the past ceases to be a depressing chamber of horrors; it becomes a celestial city, a spacious country of the mind, wherein a thousand saints, statesmen, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing. The historian will not mourn because he can see no meaning in human existence except that which man puts into it; let it be our pride that we ourselves may put meaning into our lives, and sometimes a significance that transcends death. If a man is fortunate he will, before he dies, gather up as much as he can of his civilized heritage and transmit it to his children. And to his final breath he will be grateful for this inexhaustible legacy, knowing that it is our nourishing mother and our lasting life.

  • The Lessons of History, Will & Ariel Durant

Feb 23, 2024

The road to serfdom consists of working exponentially harder for a currency growing exponentially weaker.

  • Vijay Boyapati, The Bullish Case for Bitcoin

Feb 16, 2024

Loneliness is a tax you have to pay to atone for a certain complexity of mind.

  • Alain de Botton

Feb 16, 2024

So many people today — and even professional scientists— seem to me like someone who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is — in my opinion — the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.

Feb 6, 2024

I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous – from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows.

  • Karl Popper, The Open Society and it’s Enemies, preface to the second edition

Feb 5, 2024

[…] the most unfortunate of men is he who has not learned how to bear misfortune […] men ought to order their lives as if they were fated to live both a long and a short time, [and] wisdom should be cherished as a means of traveling from youth to old age, for it is more lasting than any other possession.

  • Bias of Priene, quoted from The Life of Greece by Will Durant, Ch. VI The Great Migration

Feb 2, 2024

[…] teenagers are always on duty as conformists.

January 1, 2024

Why, Oppenheimer knows about everything. He can talk to you about anything you bring up. Well, not exactly. I guess there are a few things he doesn’t know about. He doesn’t know anything about sports.

  • General Leslie Groves, quoted from American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, pp. 185-186.

December 22, 2023

Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves and not in the external. There will be people near me, and to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter – this is what life is, herein lies its task.

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, in a letter to his brother, the day he was pardoned from execution by firing squad.

December 13, 2023

Math constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world. And it allows us to portray the changes of mutual relationship that unfold in creation. It is the instrument through which the weak mind of man can most effectually read his creator’s works.

  • Ada Lovelace, quoted from The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, Ch. 1

December 9, 2023

It is wrong to think that belief in freedom always leads to victory; we must always be prepared for it to lead to defeat. If we choose freedom, then we must be prepared to perish along with it. […] No, we do not choose political freedom because it promises us this or that. We choose it because it makes possible the only dignified form of human coexistence, the only form in which we can be fully responsible for ourselves. Whether we realize its possibilities depends on all kinds of things — and above all on ourselves.

  • Karl Popper, On Freedom

December 7, 2023

I think that there is only one way to science - or to philosophy, for that matter: to meet a problem, to see its beauty and fall in love with it; to get married to it and to live with it happily, till death do ye part - unless you should meet another and even more fascinating problem or unless, indeed, you should obtain a solution. But even if you do obtain a solution, you may then discover, to your delight, the existence of a whole family of enchanting, though perhaps difficult, problem children, for whose welfare you may work, with a purpose, to the end of your days.

  • Karl Popper, Realism and the Aim of Science

Hence, men who are governed by reason […] desire for themselves nothing, which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind

  • Spinoza, Part IV, Prop XVIII

September 26, 2023

Among the nations who have adopted the Mosaic history of the world, the ark of Noah has been of the same use as was formerly to the Greeks and Romans the siege of Troy. On a narrow basis of acknowledged truth an immense but rude superstructure of fable has been erected,[…]

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter IX, p. 240