Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

-Joseph Addison

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

 -- Thomas Paine


I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 

-- Henry David Thoreau


All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.

-- Albert Einstein


The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. 

--Abraham Lincoln


I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.

—Samuel Johnson , Preface to Dictionary (1755)

It was better, he thought, to fail in attempting exquisite things than to succeed in the department of the utterly contemptible.

---Arthur Machen

No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en;

In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew“


I ask you to look both ways. For the road to a knowledge of the stars leads through the atom; and important knowledge of the atom has been reached through the stars.

Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944)


We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origins. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own.

Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944), Space, Time, and Gravitation, 1920


A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. 

- Robert Heinlein


When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)

And since you know you cannot see yourself,

so well as by reflection, I, your glass,

will modestly discover to yourself,

that of yourself which you yet know not of.



I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.

Thomas A. Edison


Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.

Thomas A. Edison


Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.

Thomas A. Edison


Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas A. Edison


Laughter is the closest distance between two people.

--Victor Borge (1909 - 2000)


Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

E. W. Dijkstra


We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

--Richard Feynman


Those who cannot attack the thought, instead attack the thinker.

Paul Valery

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

-- Susan Ertz


I don't want to believe, I want to know.

- Carl Sagan


Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don't go on forever. It must have been shattering, stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive

 --Robert Louis Stevenson


The great end of life is not knowledge but action.

 - Thomas H. Huxley


Today is the future from which you expected so much in the past.


Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.


Keep away from people that belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

- Mark Twain


I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with enjoying ourselves.


I used to drive a Heisenbergmobile, but every time I looked at the speedometer I got lost.


Guilt and innocence are only a matter of timing.


Ah, there's nothing more exciting than science. You get all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention...Science has it all.


If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy.


We are what we pretend to be.


Inventor of the much hailed method of proving mathematical theorems: "Prove by Intimidation"


It is not the facts that are of chief importance, but the light thrown upon them, the meaning in which they are dressed, the conclusions which are drawn from them, and the judgments delivered upon them.


There are several good protections against temptation but the surest is cowardice.


Different groups of friends can see you in totally different ways. This is mostly determined by how confident you feel among them.


Look at things in the long term. No matter how bad things are today, in 100 years, you'll be dead.


Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.


People will do a lot of silly things if you watch long enough.

 You can learn some things about people by listening to the questions they ask you. Sometimes stuff they normally would not tell you.


When you've been left in the dark for too long, the light can hurt your eyes.


Fashion is defined by the masses, style is defined by yourself.


Wanting something is sometimes better than having it.


Know, Think, Choose, Do


Question authority.


It's not death I fear so much as leaving something so beautiful as life.


It's important to be yourself--but it's also fun to be someone else occasionally.


Everyone younger than you is a fool!


Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. 

--Maggie Kuhn


Never attribute to malice what can be satisfactorily explained by stupidity. 

--Ray Feist


People who are highly intelligent often turn out to also be extremely good at rationalizing their way to what they want to believe.


An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field.

--Niels Bohr


We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscope flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems of our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way—an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language [...] all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated.

-- Benjamin Whorf


The interdependence of thought and speech makes it clear that languages are not so much a means of expressing truth that has already been established, but are a means of discovering truth that was previously unknown. Their diversity is a diversity not of sounds and signs but of ways of looking at the world.

-- Karl Kerenyi


See first that the design is wise and just: that ascertained, pursue it resolutely; do not for one repulse forego the purpose that you resolved to effect.

-- Shakespeare


 If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.

--Samuel Johnson


People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.

--Samuel Johnson


The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.

--Samuel Johnson


Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.

--Samuel Johnson


It's because somebody knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows anything about we can discuss.

--Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)


Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy

--Norman Vincent Peale


The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny ...'

--Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)


We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.

--Marie Curie (1867 - 1934)


In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.

--Paul Dirac (1902 - 1984)


The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.

--Sir William Bragg (1862 - 1942)


The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

--Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)


The structure of language determines not only thought, but reality itself.

--Noam Chomsky (1928 - )


The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

--Noam Chomsky (1928 - )


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.

--Charles W. Eliot (1834 - 1926)


There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.

Christopher Morley (1890 - 1957)


This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)


Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand.

Ezra Pound (1885 - 1972)


How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)


The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,

And all the sweet serenity of books.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)


Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?

Henry Ward Beecher (1813 - 1887)


Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.

Kathleen Norris


Learn as much by writing as by reading.

Lord Acton


A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.

Robertson Davies


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)



Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else's traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man's character is, the better it fits him.

Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)


All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.



The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)


Creativity is...seeing something that doesn't exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.

Michele Shea


Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)


Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one's chosen form.

Stephen Nachmanovitch


The noun of self becomes a verb. This flashpoint of creation in the present moment is where work and play merge.

Stephen Nachmanovitch


Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance.

William Wirt (1772 - 1834)


The ideal engineer is a composite ... He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems.

N. W. Dougherty, 1955


Engineering is not merely knowing and being knowledgeable, like a walking encyclopedia; engineering is not merely analysis; engineering is not merely the possession of the capacity to get elegant solutions to non-existent engineering problems; engineering is practicing the art of the organized forcing of technological change... Engineers operate at the interface between science and society...

Dean Gordon Brown


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.

Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988)


Nobody has ever seen an electron. Nor a thought. You can't see a thought, you can't measure, weigh, nor taste it- but thoughts are the most real things in the Galaxy.

Robert A. Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy


Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)


Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

Carol Burnett (1936 - )


This is pretty much what journals are all about, at least to me. I knew as I wrote them that even though they provided an excellent place for brain (and heart, and psyche) dump, they were mainly a map of me.

Colleen Wainwright


The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.

Edwin Schlossberg


A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

George Orwell (1903 - 1950)


The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.

George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)


Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.

Jesse Stuart   


I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.

Peter De Vries


Good writing takes more than just time; it wants your best moments and the best of you.


In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.

John Churton Collins


I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones.

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)


I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.

J. D. Salinger (1919 - )


Remember that happiness is a way of travel - not a destination.

Roy M. Goodman


Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.

Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885), Les Miserables, 1862


That is the saving grace of humor, if you fail no one is laughing at you.

A. Whitney Brown


Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.

Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)


A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)


Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.

E. B. White (1899 - 1985), Some Remarks on Humor, introduction 

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.

Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.

Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869)


It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - )


The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)


I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she can bring to bear on the same topic.

Lisa Alther, Kinflicks, 1975


I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.

Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924)


That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

Doris Lessing


Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.

Eugene S. Wilson


Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.

Lord Chesterfield (1694 - 1773)


We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, 2005


Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)


The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'

Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990)


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963), "Music at Night", 1931


But then there's a moment like tonight, a profound and transcendent experience, the feeling as if a door has opened, and it's all because of that instrument, that incredible, magical instrument.

Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Mite Makes Right, 1994


Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 - 1894)


In physics, your solution should convince a reasonable person. In math, you have to convince a person who's trying to make trouble. Ultimately, in physics, you're hoping to convince Nature. And I've found Nature to be pretty reasonable.

Frank Wilczek (1951 - )

All slang is a metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.

G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936), Defendant (1901)


A poem is never finished, only abandoned.

Paul Valery (1871 - 1945)


The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)


I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1869 - 1959)


One cannot fix one's eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy.

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), Mansfield Park


You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)


I went off to college planning to major in math or philosophy-- of course, both those ideas are really the same idea.

Frank Wilczek (1951 - )


Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)


One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.

Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650), 'Le Discours de la Methode,' 1637


The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

Anatole France (1844 - 1924), The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard


A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.

George Moore


Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.

Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939)


A friend is a second self.



It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.



Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way... you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.



Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.



What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

Aristotle, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers


Imagination is more important than knowledge...

Albert Einstein


It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Albert Einstein


My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

Albert Einstein


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

Albert Einstein


You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.



Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Abraham Lincoln


The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.

Jill Churchill, O Magazine, May 2003


What may be done at any time will be done at no time.

Scottish Proverb


Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.

Max Frisch


If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.

Maria Edgeworth, O Magazine, April 2004


Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967)


Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.

Thomas Jefferson


Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

Thomas Jefferson


Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

-T.S. Eliot





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