quotes that speak to me


"There are two parts of the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that closes the mind, and turns a nation, a civilisation, into a regiment of ghosts - obedient ghosts, or tortured ghosts.

"It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

"Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands at the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know... although we are fallible. In the end the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: 'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken'."

From Bronowsky, J., 1973, Ascent of Man, "Knowledge or Certainty"


"Nothing has more retarded the advancement of learning than the disposition of vulgar minds to ridicule and vilify what they cannot comprehend."

- Samuel Johnson: Rambler #117


If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey, 1957


"There is nothing-absolutely nothing-half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

-- Kenneth Graham, "The Wind in the Willows"


"A recent Newsweek survey says that way more than half the people in this land of the free and home of the brave believe in UFOs. Of course, nowadays 'UFO' doesn't always mean 'Unidentified Flying Object,' as the literal acronym would have you believe. Sure, there are things in the sky that we can't identify. But there are things in my refrigerator that I can't identify. That doesn't mean they're space alien leftovers."

-- Penn Jillette


"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain (1835-1910)