Wise Words from Here ‘n There

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t respond in some way to a written or spoken word that seems to resonate somewhere deep inside whenever you hear it. Platitudes, cliche, banality, whatever you choose to call them, writing experts advise writers to refrain from using them at all. For me, however, it is their very ordinariness that I love about them. The other side of cliche, for instance, is “truism,” “chestnuts,” and “formula” that, though tired from overuse, still ring true, and I don’t have to reflect very hard to see  that I was raised on them: platitudes mixed with a little humor whenever necessary. So I like to collect them. When I have enough, I’ll share them with you here.

For now, I prefer to share my collection of quotations (one of my more recent writing professors disdains the usage of the more commonly used “quotes”) here. If you have some you like that you don’t see here, and would like to contribute, please feel free to share in the comments. I would love as many additions and possible to this entry.

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To a man with (only) a hammer, all problems look like a nail. – Mark Twain

All animals except man know that the ultimate purpose of life is to enjoy it. – Samuel Butler 

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. – comedian George Carlin

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
- Confucius

Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest.
- Dogen

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

It gives me a deep comforting sense that ‘things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.’ – Helen Keller

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. – Albert Einstein, in The New Convergence

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. – William James

The spirit down here in man and the spirit up there in the sun, in reality are only one spirit, and there is no other one. – The Upanishads

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of being. – Carl Jung

Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish; every sweet word will fade, But do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, Branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you And this whole world is springing up from it. – Jelauddin Rumi

Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown. – Claude Bernard

Consciousness is the basis of all life and the field of all possibilities. Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life. – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind. – Emily Dickinson

The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present. – Chang-Tzu

To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge. – Copernicus

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness, in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

. . . the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source . . . . Here is the fountain of action and of thought . . . . We lie in the lap of immense intelligence. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

That which the dream shows is the shadow of such wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking state he may know nothing about it . . . We do not know it because we are fooling away our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to that which is real within ourself. – Philipus Aureolus Paracelsus

In the century now dawning, spirituality, visionary consciousness, and the ability to build and mend human relationships will be more important for the fate and safety of this nation than our capacity to forcefully subdue an enemy. Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don’t want. – Marianne Williamson

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people. – Giordano Bruno

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. – Lewis Carroll

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. – James Joyce, Ulysses

I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details. – Albert Einstein

No theory of reality compatible with quantum theory can require spatially separate events to be independent. – J.S. Bell

Reality is not only stranger than we suppose but stranger than we can suppose. – J. B. S. Haldane

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. – Oscar Wilde

All speech, action, and behavior are fluctuations of consciousness. All life emerges from, and is sustained in, consciousness. The whole universe is the expression of consciousness. The reality of the universe is one unbounded ocean of consciousness in motion.
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Not only does God play dice, but . . . he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen. – Stephen W. Hawking

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei

To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge. – Copernicus

Quit thy childhood, my friend, and wake up! – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

If I could take all your words away and give you but a sparse few, they would be: ‘I now know, I am absolute, I am complete, I am God, I am.’ If there were no other words but these, you would no longer be limited to this plane. – Ramtha

What we are looking for is what is looking. – St. Francis of Assisi

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. – Winston Churchill

Whoever talks about Planck’s constant and does not feel at least a little giddy obviously doesn’t appreciate what he is talking about. – Niels Bohr (quoted by Teller: see French & Kennedy 1985, p.182)

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. – Stephen W. Hawking

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness, in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true. – Niels Bohr

It gives me a deep comforting sense that ‘things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.’ – Helen Keller

I believe there is no source of deception in the investigation of nature which can compare with a fixed belief that certain kinds of phenomena are impossible. – William James

The warrior steps forth to accept the unknown and challenge disbelief, for if it lies in mind it Is, by God! – Ramtha

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. – Stephen W. Hawking

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity…and I’m not sure about the universe. – Albert Einstein

Consciousness is the basis of all life and the field of all possibilities. Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life. – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.
- Niels Bohr

I’d rather be governed by a wise Turk than a stupid Christian.” Martin Luther

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