Not in any particular order, except the last one, which is my favorite.
If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973)
(I have seen this attributed to Truman, as well)
The legitimate powers of government extend only to such acts as are injurious to others It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) (quoting or paraphrasing John Locke)
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.
--- Galileo Galilei
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
-- Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536) (Books were very expensive in the 16th century)
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
-- Epictetus (c.55-c.135)
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
-- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
-- John Donne (1572-1631), Meditation XVII (the first piece of writing I memorized)
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
-- Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)
15. This needs a little intro. It is part of Pratchett's Discworld series; it is a conversation between DEATH and Susan (his granddaughter).
"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little-"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
"They're not the same at all!"
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET-Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point-"
MY POINT EXACTLY."
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather
I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.
-- Barbara Jordan
The gods are amused when the busy river condemns the idle clouds
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
-- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
11. I love the precision of language in this one:
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-- William Pitt (1759-1806)
10. The motto of good blogs could be:
Pain shared is lessened, joy shared, increased
--- Spider Robinson
The good old days. I was there. Where was they?
--- Moms Mabley 1894-1975
All models are wrong but some are useful.
-- George Box
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..."
-- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.
--- Hillel, upon being challenged to describe the Torah while standing on one foot
If I am not for myself, who is for me?
If I am for myself alone, what am I?
If not now, when?
Those who would give up a little freedom to get a little security shall soon have neither
--- Benjamin Franklin
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let each man march to his own rhythm, however measured, or far away
--- H. D. Thoreau
There is nothing so horrible in nature as to see a beautiful theory murdered by an ugly gang of facts
--- Benjamin Franklin
and, my favorite
Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to be worried abut our own souls, and other people's bellies
Rabbi Israel Salanter 1810-1883