The Greatest Quotes In the World Ever
- These fragments I have shored against my ruins.
- ~T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
- How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story "Nightfall," about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen.
- ~Roger Ebert, from his review of Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace, in the "Chicago Sun Times"
- We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
- ~Richard Dawkins, excerpt from Chapter I, "The Anaesthetic of Familiarity," of Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder (1998)
- The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.
- ~Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (Norton, New York, 1986).
- Probably all organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. There is grandeur in this view of life that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
- ~Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
- Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue.
- ~Charles Darwin
- Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made up or paid for in factories.
- ~Ray Bradbury, heard in person circa 2002
- "ce qui'est importent c'est de ne pas perdre l'essentiel"
[≈"what's important is not to lose the essence"]
- ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "Le Petit Prince"
- Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.
- ~Carl Sagan
- We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.
- ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos television series, quoted from The Carl Sagan Electronic Monument
- Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
- ~Carl Sagan
- We've begun at last to wonder about our origins, star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of ten billion billion billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps throughout the cosmos. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
- ~Carl Sagan
- The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
- ~Albert Einstein, From the memoirs of William Miller, an editor, quoted in Life magazine, May 2, 1955; Expanded, p. 281
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- ~Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future (revised edition 1973); The statement is often referred to as "Clarke's Third Law"
- Humans evolved brains that are pattern-recognition machines, adept at detecting signals that enhance or threaten survival amid a very noisy world. … But there is only one surefire method of proper pattern recognition, and that is science.
- ~ Michael Shermer
- A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which this world is suffering.
- ~Bertrand Russell
- One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
- ~Albert Einstein, Quoted in "Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel," by Banesh Hoffmann (New York: Viking, 1972), v; Expanded, p. 261
- The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
- ~Douglas Adams
- I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
- ~Douglas Adams, Interview with American Atheists
- There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexeplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
- ~Douglas Adams, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"
- DON'T PANIC
- ~Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
- Scientists are a bunch of romantics.
- ~The Colonel, "Akira" (movie)
- "...because our senses sometimes deceive us, I wanted to suppose that nothing was exactly as they led us to imagine. And because there are men who make mistakes in reasoning, even in the simplest matters in geometry, and who commit paralogisms, judging that I was just as prone to err as any other, I rejected as false all the reasonings that I had previously taken for demonstrations. And finally, considering the fact that all the same thoughts we have when we are awake can also come to us when we are asleep, without any of them being true, I resolved to pretend that all the things that had ever entered my mind were no more true than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately afterward I noticed that, while I wished to think that everything was false, it necessarily had to be true that I, who was thinking this, was something; and observing that this truth – "I think, therefore I am" – was so firm and so sure that all the most extravagant suppositions of the skeptics were incapable of shaking it, I judged that I could accept it without a scruple as the first principle of the philosophy I was seeking."
- ~Rene Descartes, "Discourse on Method"
- What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.
- POZZO:(suddenly furious.) Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? (Calmer.) They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more. (He jerks the rope.) On!
- ~Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
- Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going.
- ~Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore
- Each of us finds that in [our] own life every moment of time is completely filled. [We are] bombarded every second by sensations, emotions, thoughts, which [we] cannot attend to for multitude, and nine-tenths of which [we] must simply ignore. A single second of lived time contains more than can be recorded. And every second of past time has been like that for every [person] that ever lived. The past . . . in its reality, was a roaring cataract of billions upon billions of such moments: any one of them too complex to grasp in its entirety, and the aggregate beyond all imagination. By far the greater part of this teeming reality escaped human consciousness almost as soon as it occurred. None of us could at this moment give anything like a full account of [our]] own life for the last twenty-four hours. We have already forgotten; even if we remembered, we have not time. The new moments are upon us. At every tick of the clock, in every inhabited part of the world, an unimaginable richness and variety of ‘history’ falls off the world into total oblivion.
- ~C. S. Lewis, "Historicism" (1967)
- And so it is with our own past. It is a labour in vain to attempt to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile. The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) of which we have no inkling. And it depends on chance whether or not we come upon this object before we ourselves must die. ...
That is why the better part of our memory exists outside ourselves, in a damp breeze, in the odor of an unaired room or in the odor of the first crackling fire in a cold grate...
- ~Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume 1, Volume 2
- Voluntary memory, the memory of the intellect and the eyes, [gives] us only imprecise facsimiles of the past which no more resemble it than pictures by bad painters resemble the spring…. So we don't believe that life is beautiful because we don't recall it but if we get a whiff of a long-forgotten smell we are suddenly intoxicated and similarly we think we no longer love the dead because we don't remember them but if by chance we come across an old glove we burst into tears.
- ~Marcel Proust, selected letters 1910-1917
- Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
- And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass
- ~Ezra Pound
- at the end of days
at the end of time
when the sun burns out
will any of this matter?
who will be there to remember who we were?
who will be there to know that any of this had meaning for us?
- ~VNV Nation, "Further"
- As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.
- ~C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.
- ~Antonio Machado
- To reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest...
- ~"The Impossible Dream" from The Man From La Mancha
- ...the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...
- ~Shakespeare, Hamlet
- ...not all who wander are lost...
- ~J.R. Tolkien
- The day you stop learning is the day you die.
- 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.
- ~T.S. Eliot