Quotes to provoke thinking.
“We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.” – Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science, http://pathstoknowledge.net/2010/02/19/cargo-cult-science-a-lesson-from-richard-feynman-for-scientists-of-today-to-learn.
“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” – Ernest Rutherford
“No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.” – Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York
“If your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.” – Richard Feynman
“If your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, [what the consensus is], or what his name is — if it disagrees with experiment [or empirical data observations] it is wrong.” – Richard Feynman
“The exception tests the rule.” Or, put another way, “The exception proves that the rule is wrong.” That is the principle of science. If there is an exception to any rule, and if it can be proved by observation, that rule is wrong.” – Richard Feynman
“We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.” – Richard Feynman, Value of Science
“There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.” – Richard Feynman, 1985
“If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out.” – Richard Feynman
“When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.” ~ Richard Feynman
“We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science-analogous to the South Sea island airfields, radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in foreigners’ airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The results of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. You teachers who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap can maybe doubt the experts once in a while. Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feynman, at a national science teachers convention in 1966, (The Physics Teacher, 7 September, 1969, 313-320).
“The business of skepticism is to be dangerous. Skepticism challenges established institutions. If we teach everybody, including, say, high school students, habits of skeptical thought, they will probably not restrict their skepticism to UFOs, aspirin commercials, and 35,000-year-old channelees. Maybe they’ll start asking awkward questions about economic, or social, or political, or religious institutions. Perhaps they’ll challenge the opinions of those in power. Then where would we be?” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World
“Science is a method, not a set of dogmas. The scientific method is pretty simple: you suggest a hypothesis, calculate what facts in the real world must be true if the hypothesis is correct, and then check the hypothesis against reality. If the hypothesis implies false propositions of fact, it is wrong. Case closed.” – John Hinderaker
“The Laws of Science can be a Harsh Mistress!” – Bender, Futurama episode “The Deep South”
“The Laws of Nature are a Harsh Mistress!” – Peter William Lount with hats off to Bender and of course, Heinlein.
“People working together need to coordinate their activities regardless of where they are located or when they are working together. This need will never go away.” – Peter William Lount, Creator of Zoku Collaborative Systems, 1998
“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” – Myth Busters
“I reject your mythology as if it somehow magically reality and substitute the actual measurable objective reality of Nature.” – Peter William Lount
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” – T.S Eliot
“If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary.” – Mark Twain
“I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.” – Bertrand Russell
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This express my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.” – Abraham Lincoln, August 1st, 1858.
“Create your future from your future not your past.” – Werner Erhard
“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” – Martin Heidegger
“Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home.“
—Martin Heidegger, German philosopher, Letter on Humanism, 1947
“Love is granting another the space to be the way they are and the way they are not.” – Werner Erhard
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins
“The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” – Richard Dawkins
“Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.” – Richard Dawkins
“First build a strong base.” – Sun Tzu
“Three helping one another will do as much as six working singly.” – Spanish proverb
“I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man’s.” – William Blake
“Faith means not wanting to know what is true.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma.“
“If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted upon men, He would kill Himself.“
“Gods don’t kill people. People with Gods kill people.“
“An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.“
“If all the Christians who have called other Christians “not really a Christian” were to vanish, there’d be no Christians left.“
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.“
“Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains.“
“They felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief and it’s a good thing.“
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” – Albert Einstein.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” – John Lennon
“…when it comes down to it, the pointy-haired boss doesn’t mind if his company gets their ass kicked, so long as no one can prove it’s his fault.” – Paul Graham
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
“An operating system is a collection of things that don’t fit into a language. There shouldn’t be one.” – Dan Ingalls
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” – George Sand.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela.
“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.” – Galileo Galilei.
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” – Andy Dufresne.
“Surrealism: An archaic term. Formerly an art movement. No longer distinguishable from everyday life.” – Brad Holland.
“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Shakespeare
“Thinking you know something, when you don’t, is much worse than knowing nothing, and is the foundation of ignorance.” – Ryan Hopson
“If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.” Lane Kirkland
“Human altruism is thought to be based, in part, on empathy. To be empathetic, you need to understand the thoughts and desires of others.” – Joan Silk
“When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.” George Carlin
“It isn’t what I do, but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.” – Mae West
“We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
“Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one“
“He who joyfully marches to rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.”
“This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – Albert Einstein
“Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don’t. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats. Gentlemen. Do not despair, I am up for that as well. And the same warning applies. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag – and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down – I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. ‘Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining, livelong moment. That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I hope. I am John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester and I do not want you to like me.“
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen F. Roberts
“Religion . . . comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.” – Sigmund Freud
“Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis.” – Albert Ellis
“I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind.” – H. L. Mencken
“Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.” – Mark Twain
“The great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights … not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide. … Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality. … It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake.” – Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
“There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages.” – Ruth Hurmence Green
“Not material or economic conditions in the ordinary sense, but perverse religious ideas explain the suspension of civilization in Europe from the 5th to the 12th century, and in the Mohammedan world after the 15th century.” – Joseph McCabe
“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.” – George Washington
“For more than three thousand years men have quarreled concerning the formulas of their faith. The earth has been drenched with blood shed in this cause. . . .” – Felix Adler
“[M]ore wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history. The sad truth continues in our present day.” – Charles Kimball
“Religion is the brainchild of fear, and fear is the parent of cruelty. The greatest evils inflicted on humankind are perpetrated not by pleasure-seekers, self-seeking opportunists, or those who are merely amoral, but by fervent devotees of religion.” – Emmanuel Kofi Mensah
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blaise Pascal
“As editor of the largest newspaper in West Virginia, I scan hundreds of reports daily . . . and I am amazed by the frequency with which religion causes people to kill each other. It is a nearly universal pattern, undercutting the common assumption that religion makes people kind and tolerant.” – James Haught
“The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
“The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.” – Havelock Ellis
“To criminalize that which does not involve one person violating the rights of another is very seriously evil.” – Alan Lovejoy
“Each person’s right to act in self defense of his own rights is the only power over others he can rightfully grant to any government. Therefore, that’s the only power any government can rightfully exercise.” – Alan Lovejoy
“If you would not confront your neighbor and demand his money at the point of a gun to solve every new problem that may appear in your life, you should not allow the government to do it for you.” – William E. Simon
“If you have NOT the right to self defense, then the government has no right to do it for you, because all government authority derives exclusively from the rights of its citizens. The citizens cannot grant powers they themselves don’t have.” – Alan Lovejoy
“If you have NOT the right to the fruits of your own labor, then the government can have no right to take it from you to give to others, because all government authority derives exclusively from the rights of its citizens, who cannot grant the power to own or acquire property unless they have such rights themselves. And if the one who earned it has not the right to it, then those to whom the government would give it have no such rights either.” – Alan Lovejoy
“If citizens cannot be trusted to be responsible for their own lives, then they can’t be trusted to run other people’s lives by voting on matters of public policy.” – Alan Lovejoy
“Being allowed to vote must go hand in hand with being trusted to run and manage one’s own life, and being trusted to be FULLY responsible for one’s own welfare.” – Alan Lovejoy
“It is a logical contradiction to hold that a person should be trusted to be responsible for the lives of others by being allowed to vote, but at the same time should not be trusted to be responsible for his own life, so that it is necessary to constrain his life choices with laws and regulations, and necessary to make him a ward and/or dependent of the state, who gives up his freedom in exchange for his lord’s protection and financial aid.” – Alan Lovejoy
“Liberty and dependency are fundamentally incompatible, as any parent will tell his or her children without hesitation.” – Alan Lovejoy
“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” James Madison
“I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it, was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #84
“Government is like a child. It will test every rule and restriction, looking for where you are weak. If every misbehavior is not punished, then the misbehavior gets worse and more frequent.” – Alan Lovejoy
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller
“Love what you do, who you do it for, and who you do it with! How many people can say, with true conviction, that all three are fulfilled in their current job?” – Cathy Lim of Performance Personnel
“Einstein’s Three Rules of Work
1. Out of Clutter find Simplicity
2. From Discord make Harmony
3. In the Middle of Difficulty lies Opportunity“
“Nothing shapes our journey through life so much as the questions we ask.” – Gregg Levoy
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play: his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” – Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand
“The soul that moves in the world of the senses and yet keeps the senses in harmony…finds rest in quietness.” – Bhagavad Gita
“having means nothing if you don;t know how to use it.. share your knowledge. live like there’s no tomorrow… anything can happen. and always smile… it’s infectious..” – Brad Colwell
“The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” – Niels Bohr
“A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.” – Niels Bohr
“Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only own one encyclopedia.” – Robert Anton Wilson
“Ego is a social fiction for which one person at a time gets all the blame.”
- Robert Anton Wilson
“Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree; The bright mirror is also not a stand. Fundamentally there is not a single thing — Where could any dust be attracted?” – Huineng
“Manifest plainess, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.” -Tao Te Ching
“To win every battle is not supreme excellence. Supreme excellence is to conquer without fighting.” -Sun Tzu
“Desire is the wind that goes blowing inside you and keeps your inner flame wavering, that’s why you are not still.” – Osho
“When you are alone, still, quiet, silent, suddenly you will be centred, grounded; you will feel the tremendous joy of non-being, of being nobody.” – Lieh Tzu
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.” – Bob Marley
“I need no warrant for being and no sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.” – Ayn Rand
“There is only one evil thought: the refusal to think.” – Ayn Rand
“Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” – Malcolm Muggeridge
“Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” -Ayn Rand
“The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” – Ayn Rand
“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” – Ayn Rand
“Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms.” – Ron Paul
“I am just absolutely convinced that the best formula for giving us peace and preserving the American way of life is freedom, limited government, and minding our own business overseas.” – Ron Paul
“The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch– Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference– that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our dollars.” – Ron Paul
“Information is the currency of democracy.” – Thomas Jefferson
“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” – JOHN GALT, from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”
“I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I expect the same from them.” – John Wayne in “The Shootist”
“But because truly, being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.” – Rilke
“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” – Franklin D Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (4 March 1933)
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.“
— Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves. No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem .. Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.“
— Ayn Rand
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.“
— Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” — Ayn Rand
“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.“- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.“
— Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.” — Ayn Rand
“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?”
I… don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”
To shrug.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” – Ayn Rand
“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” — Ayn Rand
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” — Ayn Rand
“I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities.” — Ayn Rand
“A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.” – Ayn Rand
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand
“I have no interest in the justification of circumstances or producing guilt in others by assigning obligation. I am interested in providing an opportunity for people to experience mastery in the matter of their own lives and the experience of satisfaction, fulfillment, and aliveness. These are a function of the self as context rather than thing, the self as space rather than location or position, the self as cause rather than self at effect.” – Werner Erhard
“In this conversation we discover another possibility: living in a way, now, moment to moment, that makes a difference to life. We discover that as human beings we can live in a possibility instead of in what we have inherited, that instead of just being a human being because we were born that way, we can declare the possibility of being for human beings. This is the work of transformation: bringing forth a breakthrough in the possibility of being human.” – Werner Erhard
“You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference, to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions, even if those motions make us successful, or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have made some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work.” – Werner Erhard
“Heroes are ordinary men and women who dare to see and meet the call of a possibility bigger than themselves. Breakthroughs are created by such heroes, by men and women who will stand for the result while it is only a possibility – people who will act to make possibility real.” – Werner Erhard
“Your life and my life have turned out, and once you get that, life goes on from a position of having turned out. That’s called playing the game from win.” – Werner Erhard
“I am a sort of revolutionary. I have a strange ambition, though. I don’t want any statues. What I want is for the world to work. I want to create a context in which government, education, and families are nurturing. I want to enable, to empower, the institutions of man. Social transformation doesn’t argue against social change. Radicalism and resistance produce obvious values. But after a while, social change chases its own tail. Social change just produces social change. After most ordinary revolutions, after most social change, the world still doesn’t work. For the world to work you must have social transformation, which creates the space for effective social change.” – Werner Erhard
“One creates from nothing. If you try to create from something you first have to be able to create nothing. So in order to create something you first have to be able to create nothing. To make sure a person doesn’t find out who he is, convince him that he can’t really make anything disappear. All that’s left then is to resist, solve, fix, help or change things. That’s trying to make something out of something.” – Werner Erhard
“Happiness is a function of accepting what is. Love is a function of communication. Health is a function of participation. Self expression is a function of responsibility.” – Werner Erhard
“To be satisfied, to expand, you must first be where you are, and do what you are doing – no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing.” – Werner Erhard
“Create your future from your future not your past.” – Werner Erhard
“A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights. The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave. Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 93.
“The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.” – Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 182.
“Individual rights is the only proper principle of human coexistence, because it rests on man’s nature, i.e., the nature and requirements of a conceptual consciousness. Man gains enormous values from dealing with other men; living in a human society is his proper way of life—but only on certain conditions. Man is not a lone wolf and he is not a social animal. He is a contractual animal. He has to plan his life long-range, make his own choices, and deal with other men by voluntary agreement (and he has to be able to rely on their observance of the agreements they entered).” – The Ayn Rand Letter “A Nation’s Unity,” The Ayn Rand Letter, II, 2, 3.
“A right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission. If you exist only because society permits you to exist—you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time. If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right. Do not make the mistake, at this point, of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer’s permission. He does not hold it by permission—but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job. A slave cannot.” – Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Column “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 83.
“The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as he respects the same right in others. It means that Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.” – Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Column “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84.
“It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights—but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society—but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society—but is implicit in the definition of your own right. Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute.” – Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Column “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 85.
“A right cannot be violated except by physical force. One man cannot deprive another of his life, nor enslave him, nor forbid him to pursue his happiness, except by using force against him. Whenever a man is made to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent — his right has been violated. Therefore, we can draw a clear – cut division between the rights of one man and those of another. It is an objective division — not subject to differences of opinion, nor to majority decision, nor to the arbitrary decree of society. No man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man.” – Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Column “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 85.
“There is no such thing as “a right to a job”—there is only the right of free trade, that is: a man’s right to take a job if another man chooses to hire him. There is no “right to a home,” only the right of free trade: the right to build a home or to buy it. There are no “rights to a ‘fair’ wage or a ‘fair’ price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product. There are no “rights of consumers” to milk, shoes, movies or champagne if no producers choose to manufacture such items (there is only the right to manufacture them oneself). There are no “rights” of special groups, there are no “rights of farmers, of workers, of businessmen, of employees, of employers, of the old, of the young, of the unborn.” There are only the Rights of Man—rights possessed by every individual man and by all men as individuals.” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 97.
“The end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.” – Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal “The Cashing-In: The Student ‘Rebellion,’” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 256.
“Since only an individual man can possess rights, the expression “individual rights” is a redundancy (which one has to use for purposes of clarification in today’s intellectual chaos). But the expression “collective rights” is a contradiction in terms.” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 101.
“A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations.” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 102.
“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 104.
“When individual rights are abrogated, there is no way to determine who is entitled to what; there is no way to determine the justice of anyone’s claims, desires, or interests. The criterion, therefore, reverts to the tribal concept of: one’s wishes are limited only by the power of one’s gang. In order to survive under such a system, men have no choice but to fear, hate, and destroy one another; it is a system of underground plotting, of secret conspiracies, of deals, favors, betrayals, and sudden, bloody coups.” – Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal “The Roots of War,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 37.
“One of the notions used by all sides to justify the draft, is that “rights impose obligations.” Obligations, to whom?—and imposed, by whom? Ideologically, that notion is worse than the evil it attempts to justify: it implies that rights are a gift from the state, and that a man has to buy them by offering something (his life) in return. Logically, that notion is a contradiction: since the only proper function of a government is to protect man’s rights, it cannot claim title to his life in exchange for that protection. The only “obligation” involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected.” – Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal “The Wreckage of the Consensus,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 227.
“The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully — and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives — the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience.” – Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter “A Nation’s Unity,” The Ayn Rand Letter, II, 2, 3.
“The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.” – Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 108.
“A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force.” – Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 183.
“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.” Samuel Adams 1772
“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan
“Pseudoscience and Conspiracy theorists are symptoms of a broader anti-science and anti-intellectual movement in our society, and we have yet to figure out a way to cure this disease.” — Rey E. Corneja
“The fact is that religion has had thousands of years to perfect their indoctrinating and brainwashing tactics and even very intelligent people can be taken in by these tactics.” — Anonymous
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” — Charles Darwin
“Morals exist because of evolution. Humans are social creatures and developed what we call morality to be able to survive in complex social groups. Cooperation and altruism is the only way to succeed in a complex social group. This led to advanced social creatures like humans who later developed such principles as the Golden Rule. Religion later codified these principles into religious notions of morality.” — Anonymous
“Atheism as a result of knowledge of scientific principles and rational philosophy and many scientists become atheists simply because they believe that God and science are incompatible. So in this case atheism is caused by knowledge and not directly by any personal frustration, hatred towards father or need for progress. This sort of atheist is the ‘intellectual atheist’ who purely needs evidence and believes that God and religion cannot be explained and thus should not form part of our discussion or understanding or suggests that the question of God is a delusion or that God does not or cannot exist. Many scientists and philosophers, sociologists and even artists are in favour of this sort of position. In certain cases where atheism is a way of life as in communist countries, atheism is an accepted social idea and can appeal to intellectuals although individuals can challenge this and become theists and then use intellectual explanations to support theism.” — Saberi Roy
“If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.” — Baron D’Holbach
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” — Stephen Hawking
“If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that you should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?” — Sam Harris
“Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.” — Christopher Hitchens, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”
“The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity …in helpless degradation.” — Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
“The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.” — Benjamin Franklin
“To ask people to question their own memory is tantamount to asking them to question their own interpretation of reality, which at the extreme is close to asking them to consider the possibility that they are schizophrenic.” — Robyn M. Dawes
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
“Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams.” – Yeats
“But time is the most unforgiving of fires…” – Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
”Scientific skeptics do not assert that unusual claims should be automatically rejected out of hand on a priori grounds – rather they argue that claims of paranormal or anomalous phenomena should be critically examined and that extraordinary claims would require extraordinary evidence in their favor before they could be accepted as having validity.” – Carl Sagan
“To the masses, the catchwords of Socialism sound so enticing… so they will continue to work for Socialism, helping thereby to bring about the inevitable decline of the civilization which the nations of the West have taken thousands of years to build up.” – Ludwig von Mises
“This idea that the government has services or goods that they can pass on is a complete farce. Governments have nothing. They can’t create anything, they never have. All they can do is steal from one group and give it to another at the destruction of the principles of freedom.” -Ron Paul
“…if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.” -F. A. Hayek
“Contrary to the vulgar belief that men are motivated primarily by materialistic considerations, we now see the capitalist system being discredited and destroyed all over the world, even though this system has given men the greatest material comforts.” – Ayn Rand
“The free market punishes irresponsibility. Government rewards it.” -Harry Browne
“Morally acting man seeks profit; immorally acting man seeks plunder.” – Jay S. Snelson
“When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.” – Richard Feynman
“We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science-analogous to the South Sea island airfields, radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in foreigners’ airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The results of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. You teachers who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap can maybe doubt the experts once in a while. Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”Richard Feynman (The Physics Teacher, 7 September, 1969, 313-320)
“The truth is that the hypothesis testing is essential in any science. As long as climate science is expected to remain a science, it is needed in the climate science, too. A priori, before any evidence is accumulated, all qualitatively distinct hypotheses have to be given comparable prior probabilities. As evidence arrives, it modifies the posterior probabilities of different hypotheses. The hypotheses that are clearly incompatible with the evidence are being abandoned; the hypotheses that are consistent with the observations are being clarified, ramified, and new competing hypotheses evolved out of the old successful ones are competing in their ability to describe more detailed evidence.
In this evolution of the human knowledge, it’s pretty much guaranteed that “simpler” hypotheses must be tested at the beginning, and only when they’re excluded, more detailed, contrived, or “a priori arbitrary” hypotheses have to be tried. This obvious fact is also reflected in the language: the “null hypothesis” is the old and therefore simpler hypothesis we’re testing. During the tests, it may happen that the quantity that was supposed to be zero according to the “null hypothesis” is measured to be greater than “5 standard deviations” – five times the typical “error margin”. When this happens, it’s a typical point where we may become sure that the “null hypothesis” is wrong because the thing that should have been zero isn’t actually zero. We say that the null hypothesis is falsified (the number “5″ is a matter of conventions but it should never be much lower than 5). When the null hypothesis is excluded, we are forced to consider more specific, more surprising, and potentially more “contrived” hypotheses where some new effects – previously set to zero – are no longer zero (sometimes they’re equal to another non-zero number determined by other principles). The probabilities of all of our beliefs are being gradually adjusted according to various evidence that we’re exposed to; if Judith Curry believes that this process may be abandoned – or that science may work without the fundamental process of the falsification of hypotheses – she’s just wrong about a very basic point.” – Luboš Motl =>, Reversing Null Hypothesis
“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” – Frédéric Bastiat
“Since nobody is in a position to substitute his own value judgments for those of the acting individual, it is vain to pass judgment on other people’s aims and volitions. No man is qualified to declare what would make another man happier or less discontented. The critic either tells us what he believes he would aim at if he were in the place of his fellow; or, in dictatorial arrogance blithely disposing of his fellow’s will and aspirations, declares what condition of this other man would better suit himself, the critic.” – Mises