Quotations

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“I maintain that there is no common language or medium of understanding between people of education and without it — between those who judge of things from books or from their senses. Ignorance has so far the advantage over learning; for it can make an appeal to you from what you know; but you cannot re-act upon it through that which it is a perfect stranger to. Ignorance is, therefore, power.” — William Hazlitt

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“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, 1969

“Better if he had said something natural like, ‘Jesus, here we are.’” — Edmund Hillary, 1974

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“I have somewhere met with the epitaph of a charitable man, which has very much pleased me. I cannot recollect the words, but the sense of it is to this purpose; What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.” — Joseph Addison

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“History is philosophy teaching by examples.” — Thucydides

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“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” — Albert Einstein

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” — Oscar Wilde

“We think as we do mainly because other people think so.” — Samuel Butler

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“In like manner, 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

(He distilled this into a credo: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for any one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”)

Clan Handled

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“Why does one never hear of a blessing thundering down the years and pursuing a certain family while pouring the gifts of the gods into their laps?” — Lady Norah Ida Emily Noel Bentinck, My Wanderings and Memories, 1924

Misc

  • WEALTH is an anagram of THE LAW.
  • U.S. Navy submarines observe an 18-hour day.
  • Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his compositions in Braille.
  • 45632 = –45 + 63×2
  • “Thy modesty’s a candle to thy merit.” — Henry Fielding

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“The mode of death is sadder than death itself.” — Martial

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“Adam was but human — this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” — Mark Twain

Insight

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Still more wisdom from German aphorist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799):

  • “That man is the noblest creature may also be inferred from the fact that no other creature has yet contested this claim.”
  • “If people should ever start to do only what is necessary, millions would die of hunger.”
  • “I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others, but hate ourselves in others too.”
  • “Erudition can produce foliage without bearing fruit.”
  • “Nothing is judged more carelessly than people’s characters, and yet there is nothing about which we should be more cautious. Nowhere do we wait less patiently for the sum total which actually is the character. I have always found that the so-called bad people gain when we get to know them more closely, and the good ones lose.”
  • “Completely to block a given effect requires a force equal to that which caused it. To give it a different direction, a trifle will often suffice.”
  • “Undeniably, what we call perseverance can lend the appearance of dignity and grandeur to many actions, just as silence in company affords wisdom and apparent intelligence to a stupid person.”
  • “The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.”
  • “There were honest people long before there were Christians and there are, God be praised, still honest people where there are no Christians. It could therefore easily be possible that people are Christians because true Christianity corresponds to what they would have been even if Christianity did not exist.”
  • “He who knows himself properly can very soon learn to know all other men. It is all reflection.”
  • “It is certain, it seems, that we can judge some matter correctly and wisely and yet, as soon as we are required to specify our reasons, can specify only those which any beginner in that sort of fencing can refute. Often the wisest and best men know as little how to do this as they know the muscles with which they grip or play the piano. This is very true and deserves to be pursued further.”

See Diamonds and Pearls, From the Notebooks, and The Sage of Göttingen.

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“I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.” — G.K. Chesterton

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“If I could remember the names of all these particles I’d be a botanist.” — Enrico Fermi

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“It is not that I have accomplished too few of my plans, for I am not ambitious; but when I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me a preparation for something that never happens.”

– Yeats, Reveries Over Childhood and Youth, 1914

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“It is the law of life that if you are kind to someone you feel happy. If you are cruel you are unhappy. And if you hurt someone, you will be hurt back.” — Cary Grant

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

“It all comes to this: the simplest way to be happy is to do good.” — Helen Keller

Misc

  • Alexander Pope was 4 foot 6.
  • SOCIAL INEPTITUDE is an anagram of POTENTIAL SUICIDE.
  • 6! × 7! = 10!
  • Is the correct answer to this question no?
  • “Do something well, and that is quickly enough.” — Baltasar Gracián

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“There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” — Logan Pearsall Smith

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“I am inclined to believe that few attacks either of ridicule or invective make much noise, but by the help of those they provoke.” — Samuel Johnson

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“It’s odd how soon one comes to look on every minute as wasted that is given to earning one’s salary.” — P.G. Wodehouse

Misc

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  • SWARTHMORE is an anagram of EARTHWORMS.
  • The sum of the reciprocals of the divisors of any perfect number is 2.
  • We recite at a play and play at a recital.
  • Is sawhorse the past tense of seahorse?
  • “Things ’twas hard to bear ’tis pleasant to recall.” — Seneca

In Book II, Chapter 9, of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds, a sentence begins “For a time I stood regarding …” These words contain 3, 1, 4, 1, 5, and 9 letters.

(Thanks, Dheeraj.)

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“A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.” — Samuel Johnson

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“I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: ‘The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.’ In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.” — Bertrand Russell

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“What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?” — Lin Yutang

Misc

  • Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
  • GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
  • New York City has no Wal-Marts.
  • (5/8)2 + 3/8 = (3/8)2 + 5/8
  • “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides

For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cdab is the hypotenuse.

(Thanks, Katie.)