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Meditation 505
Quotations XXXIX

"I hate quotations, tell me what you know." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But as some people do like quotations and think they can be useful in succinctly communicating an opinion, we will publish a selection occasionally, mostly but not entirely relevant to agnosticism, rationalism, and free thought. This is the thirty-ninth in an apparently unending series. Quotations are now indexed by author and by opening words to assist anyone trying to locate a specific one.

  1. In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain. Pliny the Elder

  2. The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. Ursula K. LeGuin

  3. Ridding oneself of this feeling that the universe has a personal grudge against one is the first and most difficult task in growing to adulthood. Colin Wilson

  4. If I were going to construct a God I would furnish him with some ways and qualities and characteristics which the Present One lacks... He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when He could have made him happy with the same effort and He would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy. Mark Twain

  5. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  6. Everything written, if it has anything in it, will offend someone, and if the mere taking of offence was to amount to a licence to kill the offender, well the world would be sadly underpopulated of novelists, columnists, bloggers, and the writers of editorials.Rex Murphy

  7. I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practise whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent. Arthur C. Clarke

  8. You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. Eric Hoffer

  9. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley

  10. If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out. Rabindranath Tagore

  11. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. Confucius

  12. A desire not to butt into other people's business is at least eighty percent of all human wisdom... and the other twenty percent isn't very important. Robert A. Heinlein

  13. The date of the creation of the world (according to the orthodox view) can be inferred from the genealogies in Genesis, which tell how old each patriarch was when his oldest son was born. Some margin of controversy was permissible, owing to certain ambiguities and to differences between the Septuagint and the Hebrew text; but in the end Protestant Christendom generally accepted the date 4004 B.C., fixed by Archbishop Usher. Dr. Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who accepted this date for the Creation, thought that a careful study of Genesis made even greater precision possible; the creation of man, according to him, took place at 9.00 A.M. on October 23rd. This, however, has never been an article of faith; you might believe, without risk of heresy, that Adam and Eve came into existence on October 16th or October 30th, provided your reasons were derived from Genesis. The day of the week was, of course, known to have been Friday, since God rested on the Saturday. Bertrand Russell

  14. Wisdom outweighs any wealth. Sophocles

  15. Not by age but by capacity is wisdom acquired. Titus Maccius Plautus

  16. A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top Unknown

  17. Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. William Saroyan

  18. The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.William Shakespeare

  19. The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.George Santayana

  20. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. Matthew Arnold