The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of my favorite quotes. While quotes might be a bit cliche, I find their concise wisdom to be stimulating and valuable. To that end, I’m looking to add more to this list every day, and I certainly wouldn’t mind suggestions. Please feel free to share some of your own by commenting below.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things…doubt is the origin of wisdom.
– René Descartes
I am not bothered by the fact that I am unknown. I am bothered when I do not know others.
A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth.
– Mikhail Bakunin
Men fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
– Francis Bacon
Despite the solace of hypocritical religiosity and its seductive promise of an after-life of heavenly bliss, most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death.
– Jack Kevorkian,
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
– John Muir
When you doubt and ask, it gets a little harder to believe. You see, one thing is that I can live with doubt and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. . . But I don’t have to know an answer; I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things—by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.
He had the unfortunate capacity many men have of seeing and believing in the possibility of goodness and truth, but of seeing the evil and falsehood of life too clearly to be able to take a serious part in it.
The idea of the sacred is simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes
– Salman Rushdie
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.
– Sir Issac Newton
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.
– Bessie Stanley
Purpose of mankind: To better yourself and all that you know by seeking knowledge and truth, while at the same time never forgetting that all life is as equally important as your own.
– Jeffrey C. Keene II
Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
– Albert Einstein
People aren’t afraid of being dead, they’re afraid of getting dead.
– George Carlin
The history of the human race has generated several papers articulating basic moral imperatives, or fundamental principles, of human coexistence that… substantially influenced the fate of humanity on this planet. Among these historic documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … holds a very special, indeed, unique position. It is the first code of ethical conduct that was not a product of one culture, or one sphere of civilization only, but a universal creation, shaped and subscribed to by representatives of all humankind. Since its very inception, the Declaration has thus represented a planetary, or global commitment, a global intention, a global guideline. For this reason alone, this exceptional document — conceived as a result of a profound human self-reflection in the wake of the horrors of World War II, and retaining its relevance ever since — deserves to be remembered today.
– Václav Havel
When one sees eternity in things that pass away and infinity in finite things, then one has pure knowledge.
– The Upanishads
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
– Albert Einstein
The best teachers are not the ones who instill knowledge in your brain, but those who instill a love of learning, making you autodidactic in their subject for the rest of your life.
– Jerry Coyne
Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it’s not acceptable.
– Jodie Foster
The best thing for being sad is to learn something
– T.H. White
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
Dedicate the precious days of your lives to the betterment of the world.
Life – and I don’t suppose I’m the first to make this comparison – is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.
– Neil Gaiman
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes
– Marcel Proust
Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox