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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Idea

 


 


"A paradox is not a conflict with reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like." Dr. Richard Feynman

 

 

 

Victor Hugo: "There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."

Thomas Jefferson: "The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits that favor that theory."

Hellen Keller: "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." 

 

Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?

Lao-Tzu

 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

John Maynard Keynes: "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking."

Samuel Johnson: "Nothing concentrates a man's mind as the prospect of being hanged in the morning."

Admiral Hyman Rickover: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

Plato: "Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself."

Henry Ford: "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it."

George Bernard Shaw: "Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation by thinking once or twice a week."

Apostle Paul: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Aristotle: “Thinking is sometimes injurious to health.”

Clarence Darrow: "To think is to differ."

Albert Einstein: "I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right."

Robert Heinlein: "Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion -- in the long run -- these are the only people who count."

Eric Hoffer: "The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness. The remarkable thing is that the cessation of the inner dialogue marks also the end of our concern with the world around us. It is as if we noted the world and think about it only when we have to report it to ourselves."

William James: "A great many people think they are thinking when they are rearranging their prejudices."

John Locke: "Reading furnishes the mind only with materials for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."

Don Marquis: "An idea is not responsible for the people who think it."

H. L. Mencken: "The psychologists and the metaphysicians wrangle endlessly over the nature of the thinking process in man, but no matter how violently they differ otherwise they all agree that it has little to do with logic and is not much conditioned by overt facts."

Ludwig von Mises: "The class of those who have the ability to think their own thoughts is separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the class of those who cannot... Reason's biological function is to preserve and promote life and to postpone its extinction as long as possible. Thinking and acting or not contrary to nature; they are, rather, the foremost features of man's nature. The most appropriate description of man as differentiated from nonhuman beings is: a being purposively struggling against the forces adverse to his life."

Thomas Paine: "...when men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon."

Ayn Rand: "Thinking men cannot be ruled... The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past--and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort."

Joshua Reynolds: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking."

Bertrand Russell: "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

Alfred North Whitehead: "Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle -- they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments."

James J. Walsh, The Education of the Founding Fathers: “No generation either in this country or elsewhere ever thought out more deeply and more thoroughly the problems of human life and their relation to the happiness of the many than this group of men who between 1770 and 1790 laid deep foundations of our Republic... This handful of educated men, trained in the old Scholastic way, taught principles rather than facts ... drilled in thinking rather than in memorization, impressed themselves very deeply on their generation... there was something in [their education] effective for making men capable of deep thinking not for self but for others...”

B. H. Liddell Hart: "Opposition to the truth is inevitable, especially if it takes the form of a new idea, but the degree of resistance can be diminished by giving thought not only to the aim but to the method of approach. Avoid a frontal attack on a long established position; instead, seek to turn it by flank movement, so that a more penetrable side is exposed to the thrust of truth. But, in any such indirect approach, take care not to diverge from the truth - for nothing is more fatal to its real advancement than to lapse into untruth."

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: "Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacity to think... What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to egoism and passivity. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture... In 1984 ... people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure."

Robert Heinlein: "If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you'll abort it if you do. Be patient and you'll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait... The hardest part of gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche."

H. L. Mencken: "Any man who inflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood... The human race is divided into two sharply differentiated and mutually antagonistic classes, almost two genera -- a small minority that plays with ideas and is capable of taking them in, and a vast majority that finds them painful, and is thus arrayed against them, and against all who have traffic with them. The intellectual heritage of the race belongs to the minority, and to the minority only. The majority has no more to do with it than it has to do with ecclesiastic politics on Mars. In so far as that heritage is apprehended, it is viewed with enmity. But in the main it is not apprehended at all."

Ludwig von Mises: "Facts per se can neither prove nor refute anything. Everything is decided by the interpretation and explanation of the facts, by the ideas and the theories."

Leonard Peikoff: "The unphilosophical majority among men are the ones most helplessly dependent on their era's dominant ideas. In times of crises these men need the guidance of some kind of theory; but, being unfamiliar with the field of ideas, they do not know that alternatives to the popular theories are possible. They know only what they have always been taught."

Thomas Sowell: "The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive."

Thomas Henry Huxley: "Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors."

F.A. Hayek: "The mind cannot foresee its own advance... It may indeed prove to be far the most difficult and not the least important task for human reason rationally to comprehend its own limitations. It is essential for the growth of reason that as individuals we should bow to forces and obey principles which we cannot hope fully to understand, yet on which the advance and even the preservation of civilization depend."

Thomas Jefferson: "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it... Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith... Reason and free inquiry are the only effective agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error and error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free inquiry been indulged at the era of the Reformation, the corruption of Christianity could not have been purged away."

Charles Mackay: "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

Adelard of Bath (1140), "England's first scientist," as society stumbled out of the Dark Ages, when superstition, masquerading as faith, supplanted independent thought. Adelard studied and then taught at schools in France, and traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean. The purpose for his journeys, he said, was to gain knowledge and wisdom; a more enlightened way. In conversation with his nephew, Adelard chides him for his "beastlike credulity," an unwarranted deference to pomp and titles as substitute for clear thinking:

It is a little difficult for you and me to argue about animals. I, with reason for my guide, have learned one thing from my Arab teachers, you, something different; dazzled by the outward show of authority you wear a halter. For what else should we call authority but a halter? Just as brute animals are led by the halter where one pleases, without seeing why or where they are being led, and only follow the halter by which they are held, so many of you, bound and fettered as you are by an [ignoble] credulity, are led into danger by the authority of writers. Hence, certain people arrogating to themselves the title of authorities have employed an unbounded licence in writing, and this to such an extent that they have not hesitated to insinuate into men of low intellect the false instead of the true. Why should you not fill sheets of paper, aye, fill them on both sides, when to-day you can get readers who require no proof of sound judgment from you, and are satisfied merely with the name of a time-worn title? They do not understand that reason has been given to individuals that, with it as chief judge, distinction may be drawn between the true and the false. Unless reason were appointed to be the chief judge, to no purpose would she have been given to us individually: [if we each had not been given reason] it would have been enough for the writing of laws to have been entrusted to one, or at most to a few, and the rest would have been satisfied with their ordinances and authority. Further, the very people who are called authorities first gained the confidence of their inferiors only because they followed reason; and those who are ignorant of reason, or neglect it, justly desire to be called blind. However, I will not pursue this subject any further, though I regard authority as matter for contempt. This one thing, however, I will say. We must first search after reason, and when it has been found, and not until then, authority if added to it, may be received. Authority by itself can inspire no confidence in the philosopher, nor ought it to be used for such a purpose. Hence logicians have agreed in treating the argument from authority not as necessary, but probable only. if, therefore, you want to bear anything from me, you must both give and take reason. I am not the man whom the semblance of an object can possibly satisfy; and the fact is, that the mere word is a loose wanton abandoning herself now to this man, now to that.
 

Richard Mitchell: "Rousseau had it backwards. We are NOT born free. We are born in the chains of the random and the reflexive, and are ignorant and unreasonable by simple nature. We must learn to be free, to organize the random and detect the reflexive, to acquire the knowledge of particulars and the powers of reason. The examined life is impossible if we cannot examine, order, classify, define, distinguish, always in minute particulars."

Ayn Rand: "To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies - that one has no rational arguments to offer."

F.A. Hayek: "It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress. In the process by which opinion is formed, it is very probable that, by the time any view becomes a majority view, it is no longer the best view: somebody will already have advanced beyond the point which the majority have reached. It is because we do not yet which of the many competing new opinions will prove itself the best that we wait until it has gained sufficient support."

Nathaniel Branden: "We are anxious when there is a dissonance between our 'knowledge' and the perceivable facts. Since our 'knowledge' is not to be doubted or questioned, it is the facts that have to be altered..."

Rudolph Rummel: "Our knowledge and our ability to handle our problems progress through the open conflict of ideas."

Bertrand Russell: "The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts - the less you know the hotter you get."

Arthur Schopenhauer: "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."

Thomas Sowell: "Various kinds of ideas can be classified by their relationship to the authentication process. There are ideas systematically prepared for authentication ("theories"), ideas not derived from any systematic process ("visions"), ideas which could not survive any reasonable authentication process ("illusions"), ideas which exempt themselves from any authentication process ("myths"), ideas which have already passed authentication processes ("facts"), as well as ideas known to have failed - or certain to fail - such processes ("falsehoods" - both mistakes and lies)."

Voltaire: "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

Rene Descartes: "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."

Francis Bacon: "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."

Neils Bohr, to Albert Einstein: "No, no, you're not thinking, you're just being logical."

Neils Bohr: "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."

Abraham Maslow: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail."

P. B. Medawar: "The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it."

Tom Clancy: "They've subordinated everything to their belief system. That makes them rational, but only within that system."

Marilee Zdenek: "The moment you alter your perception of yourself and your future - both you and your future change."

Stan Woollams & Michael Brown: "What was once decided can be redecided!"

George De La Warr: "The mind of a human being could effect cell formation."

Journal of the American Medical Association: "In the coming decades, the most important determinants of health and longevity will be the personal choices made by each individual."

Richard Bach: "...so the smallest unit of matter may be pure thought. We've made a series of experiments that suggest that the world around us may quite literally be a construction of our thought. We've discovered a particle-like unit which we call the imajon."

Paul Williams: "Your world reflects your essence - drop all of your preconceptions for a moment and look around!"

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.: "Thoughts are shaped by how we perceive what is happening to us or to someone near and dear, every bit as much and sometimes even more so, than by objective information."

Millie Hrdina: "Dare to go where no man or woman has gone before: Travel into your own consciousness; Identify your own beliefs and their dimensions; Explore their effects and frontiers; Recognize yourself as their creator."

Dr. Wayne Dyer: "What ever it is that isn't working... you examine just for a moment what belief it is that supports this behavior. Because the ancestor to every action is a belief, is a thought. Then work at re-examining that."

Dr. Edgar Mitchell: "Thought is simply information coming to the screen of conscious awareness, and being aware of information doesn't, by itself, do anything but allow one to know what one is resonating with... It does little good to attempt to suppress the negative and overlay it with sweetness and positive thinking, if troublesome thoughts keep surfacing. In this case we merely sublimate a problem that will likely surface under stress. We must accept responsibility for our thoughts, whatever they are; they are ours alone to manage. If we don't like them, or they aren't productive, we can and should change them."

Marcus Tullius Cicero: "Reason should direct and appetite obey."

John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy: "Men have never fully used [their] powers to advance the good in life, because they have waited upon some power external to themselves ... to do the work they are responsible for doing... Reason is experimental intelligence, conceived after the pattern of science, and used in the creation of social arts; it has something to do. It liberates man from the bondage of the past, due to ignorance and accident hardened into custom. It projects a better future and assists man in its realization. And its operation is always subject to test in experience... Intelligence is not something possessed once for all. It is in constant process of forming, and its retention requires constant alertness in observing consequences, an open-minded will to learn and courage in re-adjustment... It is not truly realistic or scientific to take short views, to sacrifice the future to immediate pressure, to ignore facts and forces that are disagreeable and to magnify the enduring quality of whatever falls in with immediate desire... Intelligent thinking means an increment of freedom in action - an emancipation from chance and fatality."

Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics: "A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compasion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."

Gerald Holton's Einstein, History, and Other Passions: "The final chapter entitled What, Precisely, is Thinking?... Einstein's Answer, is particularly insightful on ... the imagination and passion involved in the scientific process. He quotes Einstein ... 'One must allow the theoretician his imagination, for there is no other possible way for reaching the [scientific] goal. In any case, it is not an aimless imagination but a search for the logically simplest possibilities and their consequences' (p. 203)... We also learn that Einstein 'continued to ask questions about the world that children eventually are taught not to ask' (p. 180).

William Channing, Emerson: The Mind on Fire: "It is an important truth that the ultimate reliance of a human being must be on his own mind."

William Channing, A Chosen Faith: "The great end in religious instruction, is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own; not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth; not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs; not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision; not to burden memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought..."

Stillman Drake, Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography: "The hypothesis is pretty; its only fault is that it is neither demonstrated nor demonstrable. Who does not see that this is purely arbitrary fiction that puts nothingness as existing and proposes nothing more than simple noncontradiciton?" (Galileo was here referring to the philosophers of the time who refused to give up the idea that the moon's surface was smooth so they said that although it appeared to have mountains and craters, it was really encased in smooth transparent crystal - obviously his statement can apply to a whole host of ideas that people create in order to hang on to tradition rather than accept reality.)

Galileo Galilei, quoted by Rocky Kolb, Blind Watchers of the Sky: "Nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages."

Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things: "Criticism of the founder or followers of a philosophy does not, by itself, constitute a negation of any part of the philosophy... Criticism of part of a philosophy does not gainsay the whole."

Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things: Intellectually dishonest tactics used by cult-religion mentalities:

1. They concentrate on their opponents' weak points, while rarely saying anything definitive about their own position.
2. They exploit errors made by scholars who are making opposing arguments, implying that because a few of their opponents' conclusions were wrong, all of their opponents' conclusions must be wrong.
3. They use quotations, usually taken out of context to buttress their own position.
4. They mistake genuine, honest debates between scholars about certain points within a field for a dispute about the existence of the entire field.
5. They focus on what is not known and ignore what is known, emphasize data that fit and discount data that do not fit.

Bertrand Russell: "The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts."

Disraeli: "Nurture your thoughts with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic, makes heroes."

Ray Bradbury: "If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like old faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape."

Andrew Russell Forsyth, Mathematics, in Life and Thought: Russell comments on atom, a Greek word meaning 'indivisible,' that is, the smallest particle of matter - now an object lesson against believing that one has arrived at final truth. "Many of you doubtless are familiar with the recent predominance of the word atom in scientific discussions. There was a time, even now easily recalled, when the use of the word was an implicit declaration that finality had been attained: human knowledge could not penetrate the indivisible... now the more elusive electron has taken the field [and, more recently, quarks]."

Jonathan Swift: "You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place."

Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: "Even the skeptical mind must be prepared to accept the unacceptable when there is no alternative. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands."

Albert Einstein: "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."

Ambrose Bierce: "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am."

Albert Einstein: "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."

Niels Bohr: "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough."

Albert Einstein: "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking... The only real valuable thing is intuition... Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

Thomas Alva Edison: "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."

Edward de Bono, Serious Creativity: "Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way... It is well known that 'problem avoidance' is an important part of problem solving. Instead of solving the problem you go upstream and alter the system so that the problem does not occur in the first place... Most executives, many scientists, and almost all business school graduates believe that if you analyze data, this will give you new ideas. Unfortunately, this belief is totally wrong. The mind can only see what it is prepared to see... Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic... The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas. It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong than to be always right by having no ideas at all... One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop and to look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity... Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists... We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience."

Hermann Hesse: "Those who cannot think or take responsibility for themselves need, and clamor for, a leader."

Adolf Hitler: "What luck for rulers that men do not think."

William Barclay, New Testament Words: Often translated godliness in the KJV of the New Testament, the Greek word eusebeia speaks of a respect for things pertaining to deity. "Eusebeia is the origin of all true theology and of all true thinking (I Tim. 6.3; Titus 1.1). One of the great neglected truths of the Christian life is that inspiration and revelation are morally conditioned. God can only tell a man what that man is capable of receiving and understanding. The closer a man lives to God, the more God can say to him. The great thinker must first of all be a good man. To learn about God we must first of all obey God. It may well be true that the man who says that he cannot understand the Christian faith does not want to understand it, and may even be afraid to understand it."

Jonathan Miller, MD, The Body In Question: Miller explains the power of metaphor as an aid to thinking and problem-solving: "... medicine did not make an effective contribution to human welfare until the middle of the twentieth century. The great leap forward is often attributed to a rapid increase in heroic procedures and the discovery of new drugs, but what distinguishes the medicine of the past twenty-five years is not that its practitioners are equipped with an arsenal of antibiotics and antiseptics, but that they are furnished with a comprehensive and unprecedented understanding of what the healthy body is and how it survives and protects itself. We have today an impressive mastery of our illnesses precisely because we have a systematic insight into the processes which constitute health. This has been achieved by the accurate identification of the sort of thing our body is. And since finding out what something is is largely a matter of discovering what it is like, the most impressive contribution to the growth of intelligibility has been made by the application of suggestive metaphors... In their efforts to manage and master the physical world, human beings have shown a remarkable capacity for inventing devices which lift, dig, hoist, wind, pump, press, filter and extract... The practical benefits of such ingenuity have been so impressive that it is easy to forget how much we have learned from the image of such mechanisms. While they have helped us to master the world, they have been just as helpful in giving us a way of thinking about it and about ourselves. It is impossible to imagine how anyone could have made sense of the heart before we knew what a pump was. Before the invention of automatic gun-turrets, there was no model to explain the finesse of voluntary muscular movement. The immediate experience of the human body is something which we take for granted. We perceive and act with it and become fully aware of its presence only when it is injured, or when it goes wrong. Even then, the subjective experience of the body is usually incoherent and perplexing, and when we want it put right, we refer to people who have learnt to think about it with the help of technical metaphors: experts whose use of analogy has enabled them to visualise the body not merely as an intelligible system, but as an organised system of systems - which does not mean that man is an engine or that his humanity is a delusion." Miller answers the question of every immature student: "Why should I study this since I never plan to work in that area?" The answer is that no matter what area in which one chooses to live and work, he or she will be able to solve problems there, largely, to the extent that one is able to employ a cross-fertilization of ideas by the use of metaphor.

Abraham Lincoln: "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Walter Bagehot: "One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea."

Raymond Moody, M.D., on the bias some researchers have toward the paranormal: "For although it certainly seems possible in some cases to show how the features of the experience touch upon unresolved conflicts in the mind of the experiencer, it is just as true that certain features of the psychological 'explanation' of an unusual experience may derive from, or otherwise reflect, unresolved conflicts in the mind of the explainer. Hence, if one is going to dismiss someone else's experience because it can be seen to reflect that experiencer's psychological hang-ups, one seems equally obliged to dismiss a person's attempt to explain away the experience, if that explanation can be seen to reflect the explainer's own psychological hang-ups."

Professor Deborah Blum, 5-12-07: "A century ago, roughly between 1885 and 1925, some distinguished scholars and scientists conducted some very thorough investigations of mediums. Their objective was to determine if spirits were really communicating through the mediums and, concomitantly, whether consciousness survives bodily death.  Almost without exception, they came to the same conclusion: that spirit communication was real and that consciousness does survive physical death.  The few exceptions accepted that certain mediums were not charlatans; they simply didn't know what to make of it and sat on the fence to protect themselves from ridicule by their closed-minded colleagues, who felt it was beneath their dignity to consider such foolishness... I see modern scholars and scientists aping those 'closed-minded colleagues' of yesteryear and their ancient ancestors.... A recent example of what I am talking about is a comment in TIME Magazine by Steven Pinker, a Harvard University psychologists, that 'attempts to contact the souls of the dead' by scientists of a century ago 'turned up only cheap magic tricks.' Having thoroughly studied the research done by those psychical researchers of a century ago, I find it difficult to believe that anyone could make such a statement, unless he or she hasn't really dug into the material and is simply suffering from the aping syndrome, the tendency to want to look bright and not foolish by smirking, scoffing, and sneering at things that are beyond the grasp of current science."

Albert Einstein: "Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions."

Robert Hagstrom, The Essential Buffett: Hagstrom quotes Thomas Kuhn, physicist turned philosopher, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), who coined the term paradigm shift: "... before there was a paradigm shift ... there was a crisis period ... you might think that ... scientists would readily accept new and even contradictory information and then work collegially to construct a new paradigm. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though they may begin to lose faith and then consider alternatives, they don't renounce the paradigm that has led them into crisis. They tenaciously hold on to the old paradigm because they have invested so much personal intellectual capital in it. Accepting the new would be ... admitting failure, and that is a risk not worth taking."

Soren Kierkegaard: "There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true!"

F. Scott Fitzgerald: "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."

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: "I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."

Oscar Wilde, 1905: "All great ideas are dangerous."

William James, The Principles of Psychology, 1890: "As a rule, we disbelieve all facts and theories for which we have no use."

Victor Zammit, 7-2-04: "Beliefs - be they personal, religious, cultural or historical - can be made invalid by empiricism. This, I believe, is the greatest challenge we humans have to face on this planet earth: allowing elicited empirical truth to rise above our early personal conditioning."

Aristotle: "The soul never thinks without a picture."

Marcus Tullius Cicero: "The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct."

A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God: "I believe that pure thinking will do more to educate a man than any other activity he can engage in. To afford sympathetic entertainment to abstract ideas, to let one idea beget another, and that another, till the mind teems with them; to compare one idea with others, to weigh, to consider, evaluate, approve, respect, correct, refine; to join thought with thought like an architect till a whole edifice has been created within the mind; to travel back in imagination to the beginning of the creation and then to leap swiftly forward to the end of time; to bound upward through illimitable space and downward into the nucleus of an atom; and all this without so much as moving from our chair or opening the eyes - this is to soar above all the lower creation and come near to the angels of God."

Albert Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

Roger von Oech, A Whack On the Side Of The Head: "By the time the average person finishes college he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes and exams. The 'right answer' approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking. This may be fine for some mathematical problems, where there is in fact only one right answer. The difficulty is that most of life isn't that way. Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers - all depending on what you are looking for. But if you think there is only one right answer, then you'll stop looking as soon as you find one."

John Maynard Keynes: "When my information changes, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?"

Grant and Jane Solomon, THE SCOLE EXPERIMENT: Scientific Evidence for Life After Death: “Einstein once had to actually change one of his equations because the establishment told him it was not consistent with their beliefs. More than three-quarters of a century later, new evidence from the study of the rate at which the galaxies are separating suggests that Einstein was possibly right. From this we could all perhaps agree that reasoned constructive criticism are fine, whereas objections based on emotion, fear, existing belief structure or dogma are not.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."

Erich Fromm: "What the majority of people consider to be 'reasonable' is that about which there is agreement, if not among all, at least among a substantial number of people; 'reasonable' for most people, has nothing to do with reason, but with consensus."

 

 

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