i. “I intend no Monopoly, but a Community in Learning; I study not for my own sake only, but for theirs that study not for themselves.” (Thomas Browne)

ii. “No man can justly censure or condemn another, because indeed no man truly knows another.” (-ll-)

iii. “A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist.” (Humphrey Appleby)

iv. “Words are but the shadows of actions.” (Democritus, as quoted by Plutarch)

v.  “To esteem everything is to esteem nothing.” (Molière)

vi. “Death is the inventor of God.” (José Saramago)

vii. “There are people. There are stories. The people think they shape the stories, but the reverse is often closer to the truth.” (Alan Moore)

viii. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” (Frederick Douglass)

ix. “All men think all men mortal but themselves.” (Edward Young)

x. “What ardently we wish we soon believe.” (-ll-)

xi. “Old age, after all, is merely the punishment for having lived.” (Emil Cioran)

xii. “We only do well the things we like doing.” (Colette)

xiii. “To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.” (Erich Fromm)

xiv. “I have grown accustomed to the disrespect expressed by some of the participants for their colleagues in the other disciplines. “Why, Dan,” ask the people in artificial intelligence, “do you waste your time conferring with those neuroscientists? They wave their hands about ‘information processing’ and worry about where it happens, and which neurotransmitters are involved, but they haven’t a clue about the computational requirements of higher cognitive functions.” “Why,” ask the neuroscientists, “do you waste your time on the fantasies of artificial intelligence? They just invent whatever machinery they want, and say unpardonably ignorant things about the brain.” The cognitive psychologists, meanwhile, are accused of concocting models with neither biological plausibility nor proven computational powers; the anthropologists wouldn’t know a model if they saw one, and the philosophers, as we all know, just take in each other’s laundry, warning about confusions they themselves have created, in an arena bereft of both data and empirically testable theories. With so many idiots working on the problem, no wonder consciousness is still a mystery. All these charges are true, and more besides, but I have yet to encounter any idiots. Mostly the theorists I have drawn from strike me as very smart people – even brilliant people, with the arrogance and impatience that often comes with brilliance – but with limited perspectives and agendas, trying to make progress on the hard problems by taking whatever shortcuts they can see, while deploring other people’s shortcuts. No one can keep all the problems and details clear, including me, and everyone has to mumble, guess and handwave about large parts of the problem.” (Daniel Dennett. I really liked this quote, which is why I included it in this post despite it being quite a bit longer than the quotes I usually include in posts like these)

xv. “There is no single, definitive “stream of consciousness,” because there is no central Headquarters, no Cartesian Theatre where “it all comes together” for the perusal of a Central Meaner. Instead of such a single stream (however wide), there are multiple channels in which specialist circuits try, in parallel pandemoniums, to do their various things, creating Multiple Drafts as they go. […] The basic specialists are part of our animal heritage. They were not developed to perform peculiarly human actions, such as reading and writing, but ducking, predator-avoiding, face-recognizing, grasping, throwing, berry-picking, and other essential tasks. They are often opportunistically enlisted in new roles, for which their talents may more or less suit them.” (Daniel Dennett)

xvi. “The evidence of evolution pours in, not only from geology, paleontology, biogeography, and anatomy (Darwin’s chief sources), but from molecular biology and every other branch of the life sciences. To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant — inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write.” (-ll-)

xvii. “Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders.” (-ll-)

xviii. “The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal — every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open — this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.” (Washington Irving)

xix. “The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.” (Laurence Sterne)

xx. “What is today supported by precedents will hereafter become a precedent.” (Tacitus)


August 7, 2014 - Posted by | Quotes/aphorisms


  1. Where do you find all these awesome quotes?

    Comment by Maxwell B. | August 7, 2014 | Reply

    • (I’m glad you like the quotes.)

      This post is the result of approximately 5 hours of wikiquote browsing/reading.

      My quotes posts may take longer to write than most people think. Unless you’re reading quote collections, it takes time to find the good stuff. It’s totally worth it, though.

      Comment by US | August 7, 2014 | Reply

      • Thanks for the effort! I want you to know that at least one person enjoys them 🙂

        Comment by Maxwell B. | August 7, 2014

      • This is very nice to know. I had retired those posts for a while, but I decided in the end to revive them. I think this was a good idea. Your feedback is certainly an argument for keeping them around.

        Maybe the situation seems different because there are only 20 quotes here instead of multiple paragraphs from a book, but I should note that 5 hours of work is nothing special in terms of the work it takes to write blogposts. I’ll often spend more time than that, certainly when you combine the time spent reading the stuff and the time I spend writing the posts. I think usually I’ll spend less time than that on quotes posts, but it varies a lot. If you find a couple of really good collections of quotes by a few authors you haven’t encountered/quoted before, a lot of the work is already done – often posts like these are the low-effort posts..

        One of the benefits of blogging quotes like these is that I do not have to spend 5 hours finding them in a sea of not-nearly-as-good quotes if I ever find the desire to read them again later on – which I may well do. Even quote collections like this one, which I quite liked, contain a lot of really poor quotes. My own quotes posts (there are 140 of them at this point, I just realized…) make up one big collection of quotes I know that I at some point liked, or at the very least found interesting enough to share with others.

        (Now I’m starting to wonder how other people even manage without such personalized collections..?)

        Comment by US | August 7, 2014

      • “One of the benefits of blogging quotes like these is that I do not have to spend 5 hours finding them in a sea of not-nearly-as-good quotes if I ever find the desire to read them again later on” — This is an excellent point. I might just start posting quotes as well…

        Comment by Maxwell B. | August 7, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: