Me against my brothers; my brothers and me against my cousins; my cousins, my brothers, and me against strangers.
- Old Bedoin proverb, quoted by Jonathan Haidt
Le doute n’est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.
- Voltaire, letter to Frederick II of Prussia – 6 April 1767 (source).
There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.
- Mark Twain
Despotism is whatever crushes individuality.
- John Stuart Mills
Tomorrow’s experiment may succeed in proving what you thought was right, wrong. So we never are right. We can only be sure we’re wrong.
- Richard Feynman
Vous n’avez pas, Mr Mitterand, le monopole du coeur.
- Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.
- George Orwell
No small group of elites deserves the power to declare what is known for all of us.
- Dr Larry Sanger of the Encyclosphere Project, working hard to decentralize Wikipedia
My job is not to predict the future, simply to notice the present first.
- Matt Cohler, Benchmark Capital
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.
- Thomas Jefferson
Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance.
- Albert Maysles
La France est un paradis peuplé de gens qui se croient en enfer
France is Paradise filled with people believing they’re in Hell.
- Sylvain Tesson
Gouverner, c’est choisir.
- Pierre Mendès France
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence… … and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
- Helen Keller
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
- Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot)
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
- John Perry Barlow, 1996
We are as Gods, and have to get good at it.
- Stewart Brand
(On the promise and responsibilty of Science and Technology to address planetary problems. Do read his book Whole Earth Discipline for his view on how we can “get good at it”.)
The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.
- Abe Lincoln
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
- Michael Crichton
I apologise for writing a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.
“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
- Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom (1982)
🙏 LOOKING FOR THE EXACT QUOTE OR AUTHOR 🙏
Please let me know if you know it!
“Never underestimate the appeal of misery” (or something to that effect).
I thought I might find it looking through Orwell quotes but no dice, maybe not him.
If I could learn one thing about the future, I would want to know what they think of us because that would tell me everything I’d want to know about them.
Forgot where I read this 😬