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The wise legislator will only rarely initiate a new rule of behaviour; more usually he will confine himself to affirming in law what has already become the custom of the people.
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Don't listen to their words, fix your attention on their deeds.
Words, I will argue, are the best example of memes, culturally transmitted items that evolve by differential replication—that is, by natural selection.
There's no prayer like desire.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Nothing we can do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.
Our initial sensory data are always "first derivatives," statements about differences which exist among external objects or statements about changes which occur either in them or in our relationship to them. Objects and circumstances which remain absolutely constant relative to the observer, unchanged either by his own movement or by external events, are in general difficult and perhaps always impossible to perceive. What we perceive easily is difference and change and difference is a relationship.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
If something good happens to a Christian—he feels some bliss while praying, or he sees some positive change his life—we're told that God is good. But when children by the tens of thousands are torn from their parents’ arms and drowned, we are told god is mysterious.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
Modern science is characterized by its ever-increasing specialization, necessitated by the enormous amount of data, the complexity of techniques and of theoretical structures within every field. Thus science is split into innumerable disciplines continually generating new subdisciplines. In consequence, the physicist, the biologist, the psychologist and the social scientist are, so to speak, encapusulated in their private universes, and it is difficult to get word from one cocoon to the other.
If we, who live outside asylums, act as if we lived in a fictitious world- that is to say, if we are consistent with our beliefs- we cannot adjust ourselves to actual conditions, and so fall into many avoidable semantic difficulties. But the so-called normal person practically never abides by his beliefs, and when his beliefs are building for him a fictitious world, he saves his neck by not abiding by them. A so-called "insane" person acts upon his beliefs, and so cannot adjust himself to a world which is quite different from his fancy.
No passion is stronger in the breast of a man than the desire to make others believe as he believes. Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high.
I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.
Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually.
God helps those who help themselves.
Man (like the other animals) is not born to enjoy life, but only to perpetuate life, to communicate it to others who come after, to conserve it. Neither he himself, nor life, nor any object of this world is actually made for him, but, on the contrary, he exists completely for life. Terrifying, but a true proposition of all metaphysics.
To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
He who does not fill his world with phantoms remains alone.
A sense of concern for others gives our lives meaning; it is the root of all human happiness
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
The highest ecstasy is the attention at its fullest.
There is no real independent self, aloof from other human beings, inspecting the world, inspecting other people. You are, in fact, connected not just via Facebook and Internet, you're actually quite literally connected by your neurons.
Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
Close your eyes and you will see.
The neurosis in which the search for safety takes its clearest form is in the compulsive-obsessive neurosis. Compulsive- obsessives try frantically to order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear.
If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
The most solid pleasure in this life is the empty pleasure of illusion.
To have intelligence there must be freedom, and you cannot be free if you are constantly being urged to become like some hero, for then the hero is important and not you.
Delayed reaction is necessary to intelligent conduct.
In the past two decades anthropologists have gathered data on life and death in pre-state societies rather than accepting the warm and fuzzy stereotypes. What did they find? In a nutshell: Hobbes was right, Rousseau was wrong.
The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That - with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word 'success' - is our national disease.
What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise although the philosophers generally call it recognition!
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
Only sheep need a shepherd
What I have tried to show is that the scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity - that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe.
We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
Special-interest publications should realize that if they are attracting enough advertising and readers to make a profit, the interest is not so special.
It is in vain to hope to please all alike. Let a man stand with his face in what direction he will, he must necessarily turn his back on one half of the world.
Our rulers, who rule our symbols, and so rule a symbolic class of life, impose their own infantilism on our instituitions, educational methods, and doctrines. This leads to maladjustment of the incoming generations which, being born into, are forced to develop under the un-natural (for man) semantic conditions imposed on them. In turn, they produce leaders afflicted with the old animalistic limitations. The vicious circle is completed; it results in a general state of human un-sanity, reflected again in our instituitions. And so it goes, on and on.
To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.
My neighbor's poverty makes me feel poor; my own does not.
A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
In God we trust; all others must pay cash.
We have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly.
The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.
Laughter is an instant vacation.
All our behaviours are a result of neurophysiological activity in the brain. There is no reason to believe there is any magic going on.
To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
There is then rationality without reason. Such rationality is not commensurate with freedom but the destroyer of it.
People prefer bad company to solitude and anything to one's own company.
The more you are motivated by Love, The more Fearless & Free your action will be.
If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.
People today sometimes get uncomfortable with empirical claims that seem to clash with their political assumptions, often because they haven't given much thought to the connections.
Beyond all explanations which a good brain can give, why do we choose the worse and not the better, why hate rather than love, why greed and not generosity, why self-centred activity and not open total action? Why be mean when there are soaring mountains and flashing streams? Why jealousy and not love? Why?
The philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.
I think a lot of moral debates are not over what is the basis of justice, but who gets a ticket to play in the game.
A simplistic mind is a mind full of answers. It is also a mind that seldom realizes the simple fact that answers must be preceded by pertinent questions. The person with a simplistic mind looks for inspiration and knowledge in simplistic theories, mainly in those that confirm his or her preconceptions. Furthermore, he or she tends to be very active. Hence, we are talking about someone who can be very dangerous indeed.
When you deal with something like compassion for physical pain, which we know is very, very old in evolution - we can find evidence for it in nonhuman species - the brain processes it at a faster speed. Compassion for mental pain took many seconds longer.
Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.
With stupidity and sound digestion man may front much.
I don't tell people, 'You're okay the way that you are.' That's not the right story. The right story is, 'You're way less than you could be.'
We discover our character through decisions under pressure.
The earth has grown a nervous system, and it's us.
You don't have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.
It seems that cybernetics is many different things to many different people. But this is because of the richness of its conceptual base; and I believe that this is very good, otherwise cybernetics would become a somewhat boring exercise. However, all of those perspectives arise from one central theme; that of circularity. When, perhaps a half century ago, the fecundity of this concept was seen, it was sheer euphoria to philosophize, epistemologize, and theorize about its unifying power and its consequences and rami?cation on various ?elds. While this was going on, something strange evolved among the philosophers, the epistemologists and, the theoreticians. They began to see themselves more and more as being included in a larger circularity; maybe within the circularity of their family; or that of their society and culture; or even being included in a circularity of cosmic proportions!
God: a disease we imagine we are cured of because no one dies of it nowadays.
Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything.
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
Mediocrity is forgiven more easily than talent.
A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures.
You say you love your wife. You depend on her; she has given you her body, her emotions, her encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away from you; she gets bored or goes off with someone else, and your whole emotional balance is destroyed, and this disturbance, which you don’t like, is called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are really saying is, ‘As long as you belong to me I love you but the moment you don’t I begin to hate you.
Wisdom is the intelligence of the system as a whole.
There is a limit to human intelligence, but there is no limit to human stupidity
There is a fundamental confusion between the notion of the older 'semantics' as connected with a theory of verbal 'meaning' and words defined by words, and the present theory of 'general semantics' where we deal only with neuro-semantic and neuro-linguistic living reactions of Smith, Smith, etc., as their reactions to neuro-semantic and neuro-linguistic environments as environments.
Indeed, the line between perceiving and hallucinating is not as crisp as we like to think. In a sense, when we look at the world, we are hallucinating all the time. One could almost regard perception as the act of choosing the one hallucination that best fits the incoming data.
My main hope is eventually, in modern education field, introduce education about warm-heartedness, not based on religion, but based on common experience and a common sort of sense, and then scientific finding.
I feel I am free but I know I am not.
It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.
It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do. 
The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.
To be loved by whom you love is a great luck; to be loved by whom you don't love is an annoyance; not to be loved by whom you love is a misfortune; not to love and not to be loved, a risky situation.
To fear is to die every minute.
We philosophers are mistake specialists.
I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority.
My thinking is first and last and always for the sake of my doing.
Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.
I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
Don't leave home without your left hemisphere.
CENSOR: A man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.
Biologically, life is not maintenance or restoration of equilibrium but is essentially maintenance of disequilibria, as the doctrine of the organism as open system reveals. Reaching equilibrium means death and consequent decay. Psychologically, behaviour not only tends to release tensions but also builds up tensions; if this stops, the patient is a decaying mental corpse in the same way a living organism becomes a body in decay when tensions and forces keeping it from equilibrium have stopped.
The description is not the described; I can describe the mountain, but the description is not the mountain, and if you are caught up in the description, as most people are, then you will never see the mountain.
We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
Everything has been figured out, except how to live.
I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.
The problem with religion, because it's been sheltered from criticism, is that it allows people to believe en masse what only idiots or lunatics could believe in isolation.
2394 quotes