i. “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” (H. L. Mencken)

ii. “if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.” (William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief – the full text is available here)

iii. “If you wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.” (Epictetus)

iv. “If you have assumed a character beyond your strength, you have both played a poor figure in that, and neglected one that is within your powers.” (-ll-)

v. “Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words. […] Above all avoid speaking of persons, either in the way of praise or blame, or comparison. If you can, win over the conversation of your company to what it should be by your own. But if you should find yourself cut off without escape among strangers and aliens, be silent.” (-ll-)

vi. “Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.” (Bertrand Russell)

vii. “Science does not know its debt to imagination.” (Emerson)

viii. “Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.” (Marcus Aurelius)

ix. “Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed. Short, therefore, is man’s life, and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells.” (-ll-)

x. “To change your mind and to follow him who sets you right is to be nonetheless the free agent that you were before.” (-ll-)

xi. “A wrongdoer is often a man who has left something undone, not always one who has done something.” (-ll-)

xii. “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.” (Oliver Goldsmith)

xiii. “That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.” (-ll-)

xiv. “Men think they may justly do that for which they have a precedent.” (Cicero)

xv. “That is the true perfection of man to find out his imperfections.” (Augustine of Hippo)

xvi. “Why should we put ourselves out of our way to do anything for posterity; for what has posterity done for us?” (Boyle Roche)

xvii. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” (Richard Steele)

xviii. “A favor well bestowed is almost as great an honor to him who confers it as to him who receives it.” (-ll-)

xix. “No man was ever so completely skilled in the conduct of life, as not to receive new information from age and experience…” (-ll-)

xx. “When men are easy in their circumstances, they are naturally enemies to innovations.” (Joseph Addison)


April 29, 2013 - Posted by | Quotes/aphorisms

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