Quotes Collected by Ken Knowlton


An error is the more dangerous the more truth it contains.
     — Henri-Frederic Amiel

Mere power and mere knowledge exalt human nature but do not bless it. We must gather from the whole store of things such as make most for the uses of life.
     — Francis Bacon

One of the favorite maxims of my father [Niels Bohr] was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.
     — S. Roszental, "Niels Bohr"

Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
     — Ashleigh Brilliant

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient evidence.
     — Samuel Butler

There is nothing so ridiculous but some philosopher has said it.
     — Cicero

"Words are like sheepdogs herding ideas."
     —  Daniel Dennett

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

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
     — Ecclesiastes

Mankind needs the existence of mysteries, not their solutions.
     — John Fowles

The Lord is subtle, but he isn't simply mean.
     — Albert Einstein

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

The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.
     — Havelock Ellis

He who wonders discovers that this is in itself a wonder.
     — M. C. Escher

The greatest happiness for the thinking man is to fathom the fathomable, and to quietly revere the unfathomable.
     — Goethe

Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
     — Stephen Hawking

I'd like to know what this whole show / is all about before it's out.
     — Piet Hein

There is one art, no more, no less: to do all things with artlessness.
     — Piet Hein

Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.
     — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
     — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each mind is unique.
     — Barbara Bean Knowlton

One life is not enough.
I'd like to live twice on this sad planet,
In lonely cities, in starved villages,
To look at all evil, at the decay of bodies,
And probe the laws to which the time was subject,
Time that howled above us like a wind.
     — Czeslaw Milosz

Not how long you live, but how much you have lived, how much meaning your life has absorbed and passed on, is what matters.
     — Lewis Mumford

If we are to create balanced human beings, capable of entering into world-wide cooperation with other [people] of good will ... we must give as much weight to the arousal of the emotions and to the expression of moral and esthetic values as we now give to science, to invention, to practical organization.
     — Lewis Mumford

[V]alues do not come ready-made: they are achieved by a resolute attempt to square the facts of one's own experience with the historic patterns formed in the past by those who devoted their whole lives to achieving and expressing values.
     — Lewis Mumford

[The] historic manifestations of love are not recorded in today's newspaper or the current radio program: they are hidden to people who possess only fashionable minds. Virtue is not a chemical product, as Taine once described it: it is a historic product, like language and literature; and this means that if we cease to care about it, cease to cultivate it, cease to transmit its funded values, a large part of it will become meaningless, like a dead language to which we have lost the key. That, I submit, is what has happened in our own lifetime.
     — Lewis Mumford (1970)

The universe is the language of God.
     — Lorenz Oken

All Life is Problem Solving (book title).
     — Karl Popper

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
     —  B. F. Skinner

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
     — Gloria Steinem

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
     — Calvin in Bill Watterson's strip cartoon Calvin and Hobbes.

home      contact