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Weed's Favourite Quotes
"Upon the efforts of each depends the fate of all."
- Alexander The Great (356-323 BC)
"No Vietcong ever called me a nigger."
- Muhammad Ali (1966)
"Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
He pushed them... and they flew."
- Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)
"And thou, whose head did stars and sunbeams know
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst walk on earth unguessed at."
- Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) - from "Shakespeare"
"The wise legislator will only rarely initiate a new rule of behaviour; more usually he will confine himself to affirming in law what has already become the custom of the people."
- Gregory Bateson - quoted in "Out of Control" by Kevin Kelly
"For him who trusts his own merit, it is better to visit distant lands."
- from "Beowulf" (circa 1000 AD)
"Where love rules, laws are not needed."
- Annie Besant - from "Theosophy"
"In international diplomacy there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests."
- Prince von Otto Eduard Leopold Bismark (1815-1898)
"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."
"All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap."
"If the fool would persist with his folly he would become wise."
"You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough."
"As the caterpiller chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "Proverbs of Hell"
"And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk or Jew:
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "The Divine Image"
"Can I see another's woe
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?"
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "On Another's Sorrow"
"I dried my tears & arm'd my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again:
I was arm'd, he came in vain:
For the time of youth was fled
And grey hairs were on my head."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "The Angel"
"Silent as despairing love, and strong as jealousy..."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "America"
"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds reptiles of the mind."
"For everything that lives is Holy."
- William Blake (1757-1827) from "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"
"But vain the Sword & vain the Bow
They never can work War's overthrow.
The Hermit's Prayer & the Widow's tear
Alone can free the World from fear."
"The hand of Vengeance found the Bed
To which the Purple Tyrant fled
The iron hand crush'd the tyrant's head
And became Tyrant in his stead."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "The Grey Monk"
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."
"A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "Auguries of Innocence"
"The Woman that does not love your Frowns
Will never embrace your smiles."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "Notebook Poems: Felpham and after"
"There is a place where Contrarieties are equally True..."
- William Blake (1757-1827) - from "Milton" Book the Second, Plate 30
"It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy... The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States."
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali (former Secretary General of the UN) (1922-)
"If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love's sake only"
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) - from "If Thou Must Love Me"
"Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?"
- Robert Browning (1812-1889) - from "Andrea Del Sarto"
"Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again.
The old trick! Only I discern -
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
- Robert Browning (1812-1889) - "Two in the Campagna"
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
"But mousie, thou art no thy lane [...are not alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [go astray]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
- Robert Burns (1759-1796) - from "To A Mouse" November 1785
"I have precise instructions for Auca raiding. It's quite simple. You cover both exits of Auco house and shoot everybody you don't want to fuck."
- William Burroughs - from "In Search of Yage" 1953
"The men were wild as ourang-outans, and the women fit only to flog cattle."
- Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) - "First Footsteps In East Africa"
"The programme about pigs... reminded me of the story about the farmer who said pigs were his favourite animals. When asked to explain his unusual choice, he replied that 'cats look down on you, dogs look up to you, but pigs is equal'"
- Henry Button - in "Radio Times" - readers' letters 5 Nov 95
"But Passion raves herself to rest, or flies"
- Lord Byron (1788-1824) - from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" I, 83
"It is not impossible that [my poem] may be as good as his own, seeing that it cannot, by any species of stupidity, natural or acquired, be worse."
- Lord Byron (1788-1824) - preface to "The Vision Of Judgement"
"Maid of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh, give me back my heart!
Or, since that has left my breast,
Keep it now, and take the rest!
- Lord Byron (1788-1824) - from "Song" ("Maid of Athens")
"...which in the words of [Richard] Porson, 'will be read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten' - but not till then."
- Lord Byron (1788-1824) - from "English Bards And Scotch Reviewers"
"If we see no other nation but our own, we do not give mankind a fair chance..."
- Lord Byron (1788-1824)
"Let them go, they're young, let them get on with it", said Charlemaigne with the habit, usual to men of action, of considering movement always good, but already with the bitterness of the old, who suffer at losing things of the past more than they enjoy greeting those of the future."
"So he rages, incapable of accepting, and at a certain moment love for her is also love for himself, love of himself is love for her, and love for what could be them both together and is not."
- Italo Calvino - from "The Non-Existent Knight"
"Forbid the day when vivisection shall be practised in every college and school, and when the man of science, looking forth over a world which will then own no other sway than his, shall exult in the thought that he has made of this fair earth, if not a heaven, at least a hell for animals."
- Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) (1832-1898)
"We'd walk out, tentacle in hand;
You could sense that the earthlings didn't understand.
They'd go 'Tut! Tut!' as we got on the bus,
Saying 'It's extra-terrestrial, not like us;
I mean, it's bad enough with another race,
But, fuck me! a Monster from Outer Space?!'"
- John Cooper Clarke - from "I Married a Monster from Outer Space"
"Poverty - the one thing money can't buy"
- John Cooper Clarke - from "Ten Years in an Open-Necked Shirt"
"At the time the drug war was launched, deaths from tobacco were estimated at about 300,000 a year, with perhaps another 100,000 from alcohol. But these aren't the drugs the Bush administration targeted. It went after illegal drugs, which had caused many fewer deaths - only 3,500 a year - according to official figures. One reason for going after these drugs was that their use had been declining for some years, so the Bush administrators could safely predict that its drug war would "succeed" in lowering drug use. The administration also targetted marijuana, which hadn't caused any known deaths among some 60 million users."
- Noam Chomsky - from "What Uncle Sam Rally Wants" 1992
"Sink into his arms; arms into his sink."
- Chumbawamba (198?)
"To know nothing whatsoever of before you are born is to remain forever
- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
"I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, 'You must not ask for so much.'
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, 'Hey, why not ask for more?'
- Leonard Cohen - from "Bird On The Wire"
"The bombs went off in Westmount
and now they are ashamed
like a successful outspoken Schopenhauerian
whose room-mate has committed suicide.
Suddenly they are all making movies."
- Leonard Cohen - from "Disguises"
"They'll never ever reach the moon,
At least not the one we're after."
- Leonard Cohen - from "Sing Another Song Boys"
"He is of no age, nor of any religion, or party or profession. The body and substance of his works came out of the unfathomable depths of his own oceanic mind."
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) - on Shakespeare
"Her gentle limbs did she undress
And lay down in her loveliness"
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) - from "Christabel"
"Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
Where hope clung feeding, like a bee -
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!"
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) - from "Youth and Age"
"...and I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back anymore - the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain efforts - to death; the triumphal conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires - and expires, too soon, too soon - before life itself."
- Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) - "Youth"
"There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies..."
- Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) - from "Heart of Darkness"
"...the ultimate advertising slogan for a washing powder: 'Sludge ensures instant snow-blindness'"
"In my more cynical moments, I think of going down to the War Memorial, and writing on the remaining vacant side, 'Watch this Space'"
- Tom Cooper - teaching English, Louth Grammar School, 1963
Sleep, sleep again, my lyre,
For thou canst never tell my humble tale
In sounds that will prevail,
Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire"
- Abraham Cowley (1618-1667) - from "A Supplication"
"Criminal thugs calling themselves 'Resistance fighters' have been engaging in violent acts across the country, putting lives of men and women and children at risk, damaging the economy and compromising national security. These anti-social troublemakers are not motivated by any positive ideals or aspirations, but have the sole purpose of causing as much mayhem as possible. Make no mistake, they must and will be crushed in the name of stability and progress!"
- The Daily Collaborator, Paris, Greater Germany, 1942
"Stand a little less between me and the sun."
- Diogenes of Sinope - said in reply to Alexander the Great, who had offered Diogenes anything that it was in his power to give him (412/404-323 BC)
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thy own were; any man's death dimishes me, because I am involved with mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
- John Donne (1572-1631) - from "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions"
"But to live outside the law, you must be honest"
- Bob Dylan - from "Absolutely Sweet Marie"
"...beware of bathroom walls that've not been written on."
- Bob Dylan - from "Advice for Geraldine on Her Miscellaneous Birthday"
"With haunted hearts through the heat and cold,
We never thought we could ever get old.
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one."
"I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
That we could sit simply in that room again"
- Bob Dylan - from "Bob Dylan's Dream"
"Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must.
You do what you must do and ya do it well"
- Bob Dylan - from "Buckets of Rain"
"Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time, an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing."
- Bob Dylan - from "Chimes of Freedom"
"I ain't saying you treated me unkind;
Could have done better, but I don't mind;
You just kinda wasted my precious time;
But don't think twice, it's all right."
- Bob Dylan - from "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
"Call me any name you like
I will never deny it"
- Bob Dylan - from "Farewell Angelina"
"So if you're travellin' in the north country fair,
Where the winds hit heavy on the border line,
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine."
- Bob Dylan - from "Girl from the North Country"
"But it's not that way,
I wasn't born to lose you."
- Bob Dylan - from "I Want You"
"I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You'll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I'll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love"
- Bob Dylan - from "Idiot Wind"
"Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred."
"Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won"
"To keep it in your mind and not ferget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to."
"While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the mind most bitterly"
- Bob Dylan - from "It's Alright, Ma"
"When you got nothing, you got nothin' to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal."
- Bob Dylan - from "Like a Rolling Stone"
"Perhaps it's the color of the sun cut flat
An' cov'rin' the crossroads I'm standing at,
Or maybe it's the weather or something like that,
But mama, you been on my mind."
- Bob Dylan - from "Mama, You Been On My Mind"
"Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow."
- Bob Dylan - from "Mr Tambourine Man"
"Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now."
"Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach"
- Bob Dylan - from "My Back Pages"
"You're right from your side,
I'm right from mine.
We're both just one too many mornings
An' a thousand miles behind."
- Bob Dylan - from "One Too Many Mornings"
Just do what you think you should do.
And someday maybe,
Who knows, baby,
I'll come and be cryin' to you."
- Bob Dylan - from "Ramona"
"Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine."
- Bob Dylan - from "Shelter from the Storm"
"People tell me it's a sin
To know and feel too much within.
I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring.
She was born in spring, I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate."
- Bob Dylan - from "Simple Twist of Fate"
"Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters"
"You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows"
- Bob Dylan - from "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
"Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison"
- Bob Dylan - from "Tombstone Blues"
"But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles"
- Bob Dylan - from "Visions of Johanna"
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours"
- Bob Dylan - from "Talking World War III Blues"
"When somethin's not right it's wrong"
"But I'll see you in the sky above,
The tall grass, the ones I love,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go."
- Bob Dylan - from "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"
"I believe there are only two truly regal women in the world, my mother and Bessie Smith."
- Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) (early 1930s)
"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"As far as the propositions of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
"... on principle, it is quite wrong to try founding a theory on observable magnitudes alone. In reality the very opposite happens. It is the theory which decides what we can observe."
- Albert Einstein (1875-1955) - quoted in "Choosing Reality..." B Alan Wallace 1989
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
- T S Eliot - from "Four Quartets"
"No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous -
Almost, at times, the Fool."
"Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?..."
- T S Eliot - from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
- Ralph Waldo Emmerson (1803-1882)
[when asked by the Prime Minister what use was electricity]
"I don't know, but I'm sure that one day you'll tax it."
- Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
"It is better to die than to tell a lie"
- Francois de Fenelon (1651-1715)
"Hosts of merchants encumber the cities, and the streets are cluttered with solicitors who swarm without limit or purpose."
"Certainly in each social period, youth must be made to venerate the dominant absurdities."
"To confound the tyranny of man there should exist for a century a third sex, both male and female, and stronger than men. This new sex would prove with the lash that men as well as women are made for its pleasure; and then you would hear men protesting against the tyranny of the hermaphrodite sex and admitting that strength should not be the sole rule of right. Just why do they refuse to grant the women the independence which they would demand from the third sex?"
"It is known that the best nations have always been those which concede the greatest amount of liberty to women."
"...the extension of the social privileges of women is the fundamental cause of all social progress."
"...commerce, which is mistakenly classified among the productive forms of work, ought to be ranked first among the parasitical professions like those of monk, soldier, lawyer etc."
"Who is wiser: the man who plants flowers along life's way or the man who makes it bristle with thorns?"
"...any civilized administration, however organized, prefers its own good to that of the people..."
"Civilization is a social plague on the planet, and vices are just as necessary to it as is a virus to disease."
- Charles Fourier (1772-1837) - quoted in "The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier" by Beecher & Bienvenu
"Yet it would be unfair to the generality of our kind to ascribe to their intellectual and moral weakness the gradual divergence of Buddhism and Christianity from their primitive patterns. For it should not be forgotten that by their glorification of poverty and celibacy both these religions struck straight at the root not merely of civil society but of human existence. The blow was parried by the wisdom or the folly of the vast majority of mankind, who refused to purchase a chance of saving their souls with the certainty of extinguishing the species."
- Sir James Frazer (1854-1941) - from "The Golden Bough", 1922 edition
"All we have to do is listen. The Good Lord gave us two ears and only one mouth, my dear white-headed mother used to say..."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "The World Service"
"...as absurd and dishonest as claiming that the trouble with computer games is that they stop people watching television."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Worse By Design"
"But I know of a problem, a twentieth-century mystery, which would appear to be beyond all hope of unravelling, and which would surely have taxed the Masters themselves. The question is this: What is the name of the substance which sloshes about inside the heads of television programme controllers in this country? It must have a name. It may even have a use yet undiscovered, as an animal food possibly, or a replacement for glycol in Austrian wine, and I know for a fact that administrators of public swimming baths in this country are looking for a cheap substitute for the chemical that turns red when introduced to urine. Whatever thousand and one things about the home this strange compound may help its owner do, thinking is not one of them. There must be a name for the stuff, or what's a language for? So until that last dark truth is revealed to us I shall call it Brand x, though there are those cruel enough to suggest that it is Brand y (the Cognac or Armagnac varieties) which is the real cause of the trouble."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Brand x"
"What other developed democracy has such a ridiculous and squalid history of intolerance? From the imprisonment and roasting of heretics, witches and poachers, to the censorship of literature, art and television: from St Alban through Wilde, Joyce and Lawrence I think we can point with pride to as grim a catalogue of intemperate, bigoted repression as any nation on earth..."
Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Wimbledon Horror"
"Knowing what I now know I would never have done anything so fatuous; but then I never would have known what I know now had I not."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Bikes, Leather and After Shave"
"...P G Wodehouse... used, when in town, to solve the problem of the long walk to the post-office by the simple expedient of tossing his letters out of his window: his belief that the average human, finding a stamped and addressed envelope on the pavement, would naturally pop it into the nearest pillar-box was never once, in decades, shown to be unfounded..."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Bernard Levin"
"The church has no power over our lives any more, which is something of a blessing for those who do not enjoy red-hot pokers or iron thumb-screws..."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Trefusis Blasphemes"
"...the reality of intelligent British speech... uses blasphemus, coital and cloacal expletives as a matter of course."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Compliant Complaint"
"...there is no question but that what has since been described as a revolution was merely an incident in which a private hesitated a fraction of a second before carrying out an order to shoot himself. So great was the discipline, loyalty and affection for their officers of the British fighting men during that glorious war that this trivial act of hesitancy seemed like gross insubordination besides the norm of instant obeisance and respect that prevailed amongst the cheerful, eager-to-be-senselessly-slaughtered soldiers at the Front: a small blemish that marred the beautiful truth of Tommy's constant patriotic wish to obey in all thing the noble, wise and strategically brilliant officers who led him."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Trefusis and the Monocled Mutineer"
"This new England we have invented for ourselves is not interested at all in education. It is only interested in training, both material and spiritual. Education means freedom, it means ideas, it means truth. Training is what you do to a pear tree when you pleach it and prune it to grow against a wall. Training is what you give an airline pilot or a computer operator or a barrister or a radio producer. Education is what you give children to enable them to be free from the prejudices and moral bankruptcies of their elders..."
- Stephen Fry - from "Paperweight" - "Trefusis on Education"
"The authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."
- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
"Change as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee."
- John Gay (1685-1732) - from "Black-eyed Susan"
"Of all the black crimes that humanity is committing against the great Creation, vivisection is the blackest."
Asked by a reporter what he thought of western civilisation, he replied "I think it would be a good idea!"
- Mahatma Ghandhi (1869-1948)
"Look, I'm sure you've taken your share of drugs, right? How many people survived the Sixties in California without having the odd hallucination? All those nights when you discovered that whole armies of Disney technicians had been employed to weave animated holograms of Egyptian hieroglyphics into the fabric of your jeans, say, or the times when..."
- William Gibson - from "The Gernsback Continuum", 1981
"Going back & forth I cross the Canada border, unguarded, guilty, smuggling 10,000 thoughts."
- Allen Ginsberg - from "Reflections at Lake Louise", 1980
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
- Hermann Goering, Luftwaffe Commander, Nuremberg Trials 1946
[from "Nuremberg Diary" by G M Gilbert - published by Signet, New York, 1947]
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magick in it. Begin it now."
"Mysterious in the light of day, nature retains her veil, despite our clamours:
That which she does not willingly display cannot be wrenched from her with levers, screws and hammers."
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832)
"Ammunition! Ammunition! O, Lord, thou who rulest heaven and earth, thou God of love, of mercy and of justice, provide us with enough ammunition to destroy our enemy."
- Emma Goldman (1869-1940) - from "Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter"
"So-called Individualism is the social and economic laissez-faire: the exploitation of the masses by the classes by means of legal trickery, spiritual debasement and systematic indoctrination of the servile spirit, which process is known as 'education'."
"To call the State an organism shows a diseased tendency to make a fetish of words."
"The persecution of the innovator and protestant has always been inspired by fear on the part of constituted authority of having its infallibility questioned and its power undermined."
"More pernicious than the power of a dictator is that of a class; the most terrible - the tyranny of a majority."
"...that sort of liberty is not a gift: it is the natural right of man, of every human being. It cannot be given; it cannot be conferred by any law or government. The need of it, the longing for it, is inherent in the individual. Disobediance to every form of coercion is the instinctive expression of it. Rebellion and revolution are the more or less conscious attempt to achieve it."
- Emma Goldman (1869-1940) - from "The Individual, Society and The State"
"They pity, and they eat the objects of their compassion."
- Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)
"The initiate has seen, he knows, he believes, but as a Mitsogho, he will only make this journey twice: during the initiation and on the day of his death. It is out of the question for him to take iboga again under the same conditions. From then on, the sacred plant will only be used sparingly, to "warm the heart" and to help him "in physical efforts or discussion".
- Robert Goutarel - from "PM&E" Vol 6: "Pharmacodynamics And The Therapeutic Applications of Iboga and Ibogaine"
"Youth was so mercilessly hard in its decisions; it had its own unyielding standards and had not yet learned enough to know that time would prove them arbitrary."
- Winston Graham - from "Jeremy Poldark", 1950
"For life is a trumpery thing at best, isn't it? A few moments, a few words, between dark and dark. But in true love you keep company with the Gods."
- Winston Graham - from "The Four Swans", 1976
"From hence, ye Beauties, undeceived,
Know one false step is ne'er retrieved,
And be with caution bold:
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters, gold!"
- Thomas Gray (1716-1771) - from "On a favourite cat drowned in a tub of goldfishes"
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air."
- Thomas Gray (1716-1771) - from "Elegy - written in a country church-yard"
"To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; - where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."
- Thomas Gray (1716-1771) - from "Ode on a distant Prospect of Eton College"
"Would you allow your wife or servant to read this book?"
- Mervyn Griffith-Jones (1960) - Counsel for the Prosecution, addressing the jury at the trial of the novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover" by D H Lawrence
"I have just come back from Mexico and as a great triumph I took with me a number of Hoffmann's capsules of psilocybin and I gave a dose to the old lady - the curandera, the medicine woman [Maria Sabrina] - with whom we had originally done our experiments with the mushrooms - and she was quite delighted because the effects were exactly the same as the mushrooms and she said 'Now I can do my magic all the year round, I don't have to wait for the mushroom season'."
- Roger Heim - letter to Aldous Huxley
There is a story about the quantum theorist Werner Heisenberg, on his death-bed, declaring that he will have two questions for God: why relativity, and why turbulence. Heisenberg says, "I really think He may have an answer to the first question."
- Werner Heisenberg - quoted in "Chaos" - James Gleick
"People fall in love, but have to climb out."
- Ernest Hemmingway (1898-1961)
"It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul."
- William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) - from "Out of the night..."
"Generally speaking one should guard against considering the broad masses more stupid than they really are."
- Adolf Hitler - from "Mein Kampf"
"...[emotionally the patterns experienced during that LSD trip] involved (a) astonishment at the absolutely incredible immensity, complexity, intensity and extravagence of being, existence, the cosmos, call it what you will; (b) the most acute sense of the poignancy, fragility, preciousness, and significance of all life and history."
- Michael Hollingshead - from "The Man Who Turned On The World", 1973
"Men in their generations are like the leaves of the trees. The wind blows and one year's leaves are scattered on the ground; but the trees burst into bud and put on fresh ones when the spring comes round."
- Homer (circa 850 BC) - from "The Iliad", translated E V Rieu
"And she proved what good sense she has, acquitting herself in a way you would not expect in one so young. For young people are thoughtless as a rule."
"For a man who has travelled far can enjoy even his sufferings after a time."
"Restrain yourself... and gloat in silence. I'll have no jubilation here. It is an impious thing to exult over the slain."
- Homer (circa 850 BC) - from "The Odyssey", translated E V Rieu
"It is a pretty theory, but, like most generally accepted theories, mere nonsense."
"It is well we cannot see into the future. There are few boys of fourteen who would not feel ashamed of themselves at forty."
- Jerome K Jerome (1859-1927) - from "The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow"
"What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left.
Oh! Let them be left, wildness and wet
Let there be weeds and wilderness yet!"
- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero"
(Enjoy the present day, trust the least possible to the future)
- Horace (65-8 BC) - from Odes I, xi, 8
"Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we inquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governers have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded, and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military of governments as well as to the most free and popular."
- David Hume - from "Of the First Principles of Government", 1758
"Drinking can not be sacramentalised except in religions which set no store on decorum. The worship of Dionysos or the Celtic god of beer was a loud and disorderly affair."
- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - from "The Doors Of Perception"
"As late as the seventeenth century, monarchs owned so little furniture that they had to travel from palace to palace with wagon-loads of plate and bedspreads, of carpets and tapestries."
"Asceticism, it is evident, has a double motivation. If men and women torment their bodies, it is not only because they hope in this way to atone for past sins and avoid future punishments; it is also because they long to visit the mind's antipodes and do some visionary sightseeing."
"Pageantry is a visionary art which has been used, from time immemorial, as a political instrument."
"Visionary experience is not the same as mystical experience. Mystical experience is beyond the realm of opposites. Visionary experience is still within that realm. Heaven entails hell, and 'going to heaven' is no more liberation than is the descent into horror. Heaven is merely a vantage point from which the divine Ground can be more clearly seen than on the level of ordinary individual experience."
- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - from "Heaven And Hell"
Upon being asked whether the study of nature had taught him about God, Julian Huxley replied: "Yes, madam; God has an inordinate love of beetles."
- Julian Huxley (1887-1975)
"A million bucks or a gold medal? No contest - they can't take the medal off you."
(on being asked which he'd prefer before the Olympic games, in which he won the 100M sprint, and was later disqualified following drug tests)
- Ben Johnson (Canadian athlete)
"In Shakespeare's plays, the mourner hastening to bury his friend is all the time colliding with the reveller hastening to his wine."
- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
One John Sylvestre approached Ben Jonson, informing him that poetry is an easy business, and offering by way of example the couplet: "I, Jack Sylvestre, have slept with your sister". He then invited Ben Jonson to come up with something.
BJ answered: "I, Ben Jonson, have slept with your wife".
"But that doesn't rhyme", complained Sylvestre.
"No, but it's true", came the reply.
- Ben Jonson (1573?-1637)
"Every time I learn the name of a student, I forget the name of a fish."
- David Starr Jordan (Ichthyologist & President of Stanford University)
"To be a great lover, and have no way with women
To be a great poet, and have no way with words
Between these pincer jaws of Hell and Heaven
Great Saints are made."
- Patrick Kavanaugh - from "The Great Hunger"
"Health is the greatest of blessings - with health and hope we should be content to live."
- John Keats (1795-1821)
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
It's loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."
"... feeling well that breathed words
Would all be lost, unheard, and vain as swords
Against the enchased crocodile, or leaps
Of grasshoppers against the sun..."
"Pleasure is oft a visitant; but pain
Clings cruelly to us..."
- John Keats (1795-1821) - from "Endymion: A Poetic Romance"
"... Who alive can say
'Thou art no Poet - mayst not tell thy dreams'?
Since every man whose soul is not a clod
Hath visions, and would speak, if he had loved,
And been well nurtured in his mother tongue."
- John Keats (1759-1821) - from "The Fall of Hyperion. A Dream"
"... wine is only sweet to happy men"
- John Keats (1795-1821) - from "What can I do to drive away"
"Alas when passion is both meek and wild!"
- John Keats (1795-1821) - from "Isabella; Or, The Pot of Basil"
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know"
- John Keats (1795-1821) - from "Ode On A Grecian Urn"
"Here lies one whose name was writ in water."
- John Keats (1795-1821) - his requested inscription for his tombstone
"One thing we can be sure of, and that is the reality and substantiality of the luminiferous ether."
- Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) - quoted in "Choosing Reality..." by B Alan Wallace
"And I realise that no matter where I am, whether in a little room full of thought, or in this endless universe of stars and mountains, it's all in my mind. There's no need for solitude. So love life for what it is, and form no preconceptions whatever in your mind."
"No man should go though life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. Learning, for instance, to eat when he's hungry and sleep when he's sleepy."
- Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) - from "Lonesome Traveller", 1960
"I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie"
- Ken Kesey (1935-2001) - interview with Robert K Elder, 1999
"I'll take acid every time. It's a short cut to enlightenment that we were given at the end of this century. For those of us who would like to go on to better realities and understand and respect, the door's been opened. This is the key that opened it ... Why is it that people think it's so evil? What is [there] about it which scares people so deeply? ... Becuase they're afraid that there's more to reality that they have confronted; that there are doors that they're afraid to go in that they don't want us to go in either, because if we go in we might learn something that they don't know, and that makes us a little out of their control."
- Ken Kesey (1935-2001) - YouTube video
"Men who are not religious or artists are fools."
- Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
- Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
"Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day."
- Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) - from "Young and Old"
"Each dog barks in his own yard!"
- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) - from "Mowgli's Brothers"
"...the flannelled fools at the wicket or the mudied oafs at the goals..."
- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) - quoted by Stephen Fry in "Paperwieght" - "This Sporting Life"
"We have come a long way from the bad old days when one had to be the chairman's nephew to work here. Last year we offered 24 places: eight for Cambridge, eight for Oxford and eight for the rest of the country."
- spokesperson for Kleinwort Benson (merchant bankers) - Financial Times, 26 March 1985
"Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world's,
Therefore on him no speech!"
- Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) - from "To Robert Browning"
"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were almost defeated and ready to surrender... In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the dark ages."
- Fleet Admiral William D Leahy (chair of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, World War II) - quoted in "Peace News", Aug 1995
"Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) - from "Children"
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage:
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.
- Colonel Richard Lovelace (1618-1658) - from "To Althea From Prison"
"Yesterday I was reading about the reasons for the disappearance of song birds in Germany. The spread of scientific foresty, horticulture, and agriculture have cut them off from their nesting places and their food supply. More and more, with modern methods, we are doing away with hollow trees, waste lands, brushwood, fallen leaves. I felt sore at heart. I was not thinking so much about the pleasure for human beings, but I was so much distressed at the idea of the stealthy and inexorable destruction of these defenceless little creatures, that the tears came into my eyes. I was reminded of a book I read in Zurich, in which Professor Sieber describes the dying-out of the Redskins in North America. Just like the birds, they have been driven from their hunting grounds by civilized men."
Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) - from "Letters to Sophie L from Wronke Prison", 1917, translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
"90% of what we did the Press didn't know about, and 90% of what they did know about they got wrong."
- Harold MacMillan - interviewed many years after being Prime Minister
"Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes."
- Ramana Maharshi
"That has less significance than a dog's fart."
- Mao T'se T'ung (1893-1976) - replying to a statement by an envoy of Richard Nixon
"...if a man comes to his fortieth year, and has any understanding at all, he has virtually seen - thanks to their similarity - all possible happenings, both past and to come."
"...in the ways of Nature there is no evil to be found."
"In death, Alexander of Macedon's end differed no whit from his stable-boy's. Either both were received into the same generative principle of the universe, or both alike were dispersed into atoms."
"Once you have done a man a service, what more reward would you have? Is it not enough to have obeyed the laws of your own nature, without expecting to be paid for it?"
"...the sole thing of which any man can be deprived is the present; since this is all he owns, and nobody can lose what is not his."
"To refrain from imitation is the best revenge."
"Very little is needed to make a happy life."
"We must press on then, in haste; not simply because every hour brings us nearer to death, but because even before then our powers of perception and comprehension begin to deteriorate."
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180)
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world - it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead (1901-1979)
"The primordial blessing, 'increase and multiply', has suddenly become a hemorrhage of terror. We are numbered in billions, and massed together, marshalled, numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled, armed, worked to the point of insensibility, dazed by information, drugged by entertainment, surfeited with everything, nauseated with the human race and with ourselves, nauseated with life."
"Then he remembers what Promethius had told him: never accept any gift from the gods."
- Thomas Merton (from "Raids On The Unthinkable")
"When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?"
"Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing they fought for comes about in spite of their intentions, and when it comes it turns out not to be what they meant, and other people have to fight for what they fought for under a different name."
- William Morris (1834-1896)
(Latin: I have sinned)
- Lord Napier - telegram to the Foreign Office on capturing Sind
"[The peak of empathogens can be characterised as] earthly paradise in comparison to the heavenly paradise of LSD and hallucinogens of that category."
- Claudio Naranjo - quoted by Bruce Eisner in "Ecstacy - The MDMA Story"
"It may be true that [battery hens] do not suffer from the rain and cold, from predators or from lack of food when they are kept in battery cages. To comfort ourselves in this way is just about as morally justified as arguing that the inmates of Belsen would not suffer from the diseases associated with obesity or be run over in road accidents."
- Stanley Nevern (Member of Parliament) - 19 November 1982
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
- Isaac Newton
"In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me - and by that time no one was left to speak up."
- Pastor Martin Niemoller
"If you have to kill the sonofabitch, just remember don't do it on American soil"
- Richard Nixon (when Vice-President) - talking about Aristotle Onassis to FBI/CIA agent Robert Maheu
"I do not love thee! - no! I do not love thee!
And yet when thou art absent I am sad"
- Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (later Lady Stirling-Maxwell) (1808-1877) - from "I Do Not Love Thee"
"For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth..."
"And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day's late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of tomorrow,
Are bringing to pass as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday."
- Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessey (1844-1881) - from "Ode"
"...a world in which it is wrong to murder an individual civilian and right to drop a thousand tons of high explosive on a residential area does sometimes make me wonder whether this earth of ours is not a loony bin made use of by some other planet."
- George Orwell (1903-1950) - Tribune, 31 December 1943
"The editor trusts... he has found the vague general verdict of popular Fame more just than those have thought, who, with too severe a criticism, would confine judgements on poetry to 'the selected few of many generations'"
- Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897) - intoduction to "The Golden Treasury", 1861
"...make a world in which comparisons are impossible..."
- Pier Paolo Passolini - from the film "Theorem"
"No dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. The dumb bastard who won the war made the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
- General Patton (1885-1945)
"Somehow, our consciousness is the reason the universe is here."
- Roger Penrose
"We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the ilusion of progress, while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation."
- wrongly attributed to Petronius Arbiter (210 BC) and/or Gaius Petronius (66 AD)
"Tastes differ, which is no cause for scorn;
Some men pick roses - some prefer the thorn."
- Gaius Petronius (66 AD)
"Painting isn't made for the decoration of apartments; it is a weapon to be used offensively and defensively against the enemy."
"When German soldiers used to come to my studio and look at my pictures of Guernica, they'd ask 'Did you do this?'. And I'd say, 'No, you did.'"
"It's not what the artist does that counts; it's what he is."
"I simply painted images of what was before my eyes; it is for others to find hidden meaning in them."
- Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
"Despite the creations of new sections, secret intelligence activity remained mistrusted and neglected in military circles, although there were a few enthusiasts like Baden-Powell, who went on foreign trips disguised as a butterfly collector and regarded spying as sport."
"All Cabinet Ministers and other senior ministers are still sworn in as Privy Counsellors for life. The oath (which dates back to the thirteenth-century and has been described as Britain's oldest secrecy provision) commits them to keep all advice to the monarch secret."
"...this initiation ceremony, known as 'signing the Official Secrets Act', has no legal force; everyone is bound by the Act whether they sign the form or not."
"Until the late-nineteenth-century the House of Commons maintained a formal ban on the reporting of its debates."
"...a Conservative backbencher called Margaret Thatcher managed, despite front bench opposition, to get enacted her Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, which was aimed at opening up council meetings to both press and public."
- Clive Ponting - from "Secrecy in Britain", 1990
"That fools rush in where angels fear to tread"
- Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
"Thought is no longer of worth to me,
Nor work, nor speech.
Love draws me so high
(Thought is no longer of worth to me)
With her divine gaze,
That I have not intent.
Thought is no longer of worth to me,
nor work, nor speech.
- Marguerite Porete (c1250-1310) - from "The Mirror of Simple Souls"
"If you were a little hare you'd be mad keen on coursing."
- Sir Mark Prescott (official spokesman for the Waterloo Cup Hare Coursing Event) - Guardian, 1 March 1985
"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied on, regulated, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, ruled, censored, by people who have neither wisdom or virtue. It is in every action and transaction, to be registered, stamped, taxed, patented, licensed, assessed, measured, reprimanded, corrected, frustrated. Under the pretext of public good, it is to be exploited, monopolised, embezzled, robbed, and then, at the least protest or word of complaint, to be fined, harassed, vilified, beaten up, bludgeoned, disarmed, judged, condemned, imprisoned, shot, garrotted, deported, sold, betrayed, swindled, deceived, outraged, dishonoured. Such is government, such is morality."
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1848)
"Government exists only for the good of the governed."
- Pythagoras (582-497 BC)
"I feel that the whole Western World will benefit by the resurrection of the neutron bomb project."
- Ronald Reagan - on the 36th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki
"Mummy! But I've been good! It's dark!"
words of a child being shut in a gas chamber at Belzec in 1942, according to the statement of the only surviving prisoner - reported by Rudolf Reder
"The Treasury model [of the economy] has been pretty well wrong on everything for many years"
- William Rees-Mogg - interviewed on BBC TV, 17 September 1992
"They know they can trust us not to be really impartial."
- Lord Reith (first Director-General of the BBC) - diary entry on the relationship between the Government and the BBC at the time of the 1926 General Strike, quoted by Clive Ponting in "Secrecy in Britain"
"...when the U.S. was founded, the people unhappy with the new political structure had, according to Dr Benjamin Rush, a form of insanity called "anarchia". Some decades later, psychiatrists identified mental illness unique to enslaved Black people such as "drapetomania" (compulsion to run away) and "dyaesthesia Aethiopica". Madness in the Black population was supposedly greater in the free states than in slave states."
- Bartlett J Ridge - from "PM&E" Vol 6: "The Rescue of Psychedelics from Psychiatry"
"He was the Mozart of the tightrope, the Great Blondino. A child prodigy, Blondino was already a virtuoso of high-rope acrobatics at six. As an adult, he won fame for his repeated crossings of Niagra Falls. In the 1860s he walked a rope over Niagara, once on stilts, once with both feet in a sack. He hopped over with a man on his back while fireworks popped in the air around him. Once, he sat down on the rope, hundreds of feet above the roaring cataracts and cooked and ate an omelet. Throughout his career of perilous performances, he never had a close call or sustained an injury. While walking a safe city sidewalk during a stay in Sydney, Australia, however, Blondino slipped on a banana peel and broke his neck."
"Amnesia is not knowing who one is and wanting desparately to find out. Euphoria is not knowing who one is and not caring. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who one is - and still not caring."
"I would watch her saying her rosary like maybe a beer-can watches the ocean saying its surf..."
"Logic only gives man what he needs, magic gives him what he wants."
- Tom Robbins - from "Another Roadside Attraction"
"Christianity... is an Eastern religion."
"There are many things worth living for, there are a few things worth dying for, but there is nothing worth killing for."
- Tom Robbins - from "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues"
"And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget."
- Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) - from "Song"
"I recoil, overcome with the glory of my rosy hue and the knowledge that I, a mere cock, have made the sun rise."
- Edmond Rostand (1868-1918)
"When I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword and death to preserve only their independence, I feel that it does not behoove slaves to reason about freedom."
- Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) - quoted by Noam Chomsky in "What Uncle Sam Really Wants"
"There is no worse torture than knowing intellectually about love and the way."
- Jalaluddin Rumi (1204-1273)
"There is hardly anything in this world today that some man can not make just a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who buy on price alone are this man's lawful prey."
- John Ruskin (1819-1900)
"With subjectivity in philosophy, anarchism in politics goes hand in hand. Already during Luther's lifetime, unwelcome and unacknowledged disciples had developed the doctrine of Anabaptism, which for a time dominated the city of Munster. The Anabaptists repudiated all law since they held that good men will be guided at every moment by the Holy Spirit, who can not be bound by formulas. From this premise they arrive at communism and sexual promiscuity; they were therefore exterminated after a heroic resistance."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) - from "History Of Western Philosphy"
"Pure mathematics is the subject in which we do not know what we are talking about, or whether what we are saying is true."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) - quoted in "Choosing Reality..." by B Alan Wallace 1989
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
- Carl Sagan (1934-1996) - referrring to the possibility of the earth having been visited by aliens
"US aid has tended to flow disproportately to Latin American governments which torture their citizens."
- Lars Schoultz - quoted by Noam Chomsky in "What Uncle Sam Really Wants"
"Welcome to the world of strategic analysis where we program weapons that don't work to meet threats that don't exist."
- Ivan Selin (former Strategist, US Defense Dept)
"Laws do not persuade just because they threaten."
- Seneca (65 AD)
"We wanted to be revolutionaries; we were only rebels."
"...and it is a serious matter to destroy a man's faith without replacing it."
"He who speaks, he who writes is above all one who speaks on behalf of all those who have no voice."
- Victor Serge (1890-1947) - from "Victory-in-Defeat, Defeat-in-Victory"
"What really broke down the class barriers with me was when I found that the head-hunters of Borneo were human, and from that I deduced that the English working-classes were human."
- Lord Shackleton (Cabinet Minister, later RTZ Deputy Chairman) - reported in the Daily Mirror, 25 June 1981
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!"
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616) - from "King Lear" I iv 312
"I can no other answer make,
but thanks and thanks and ever thanks."
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616) - from "Twelfth Night" III iii 16
"Even if animal experimentation was proved to be of value, it would be morally wrong."
"You do not settle whether an argument is justified by merely showing that it is of some use. The distinction is not between useful and useless experiments but between barbarous and civilized behaviour. Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character."
"The world was to Shakespeare a great stage of fools on which he was utterly bewildered. His pregnant observations of life are not coordinated into any philosophy."
"Forgive him, for he is a savage and believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature."
- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
"A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - from "A Defence of Poetry"
"If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the wild Ocean's echoing shore,
And thou hast lingered there,
Until the sun's broad orb
Seemed resting on the burnished wave,
Thou must have marked the lines
Of purple gold, that motionless
Hung o'er the sinking sphere:
Thou must have marked the billowy clouds
Edged with intolerable radiancy
Towering like rocks of jet
Crowned with a diamond wreath.
And yet there is a moment,
When the sun's highest point
Peeps like a star o'er Ocean's western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery gold,
Shaded with deepest purple, gleam
Like islands on a dark blue sea;
Then has thy fancy soared above the earth,
And furled its wearied wing
Within the Fairy's fane."
"When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
has led two hosts of dupes to battlefield,
That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves,
And call the sad work glory..."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - from "Queen Mab"
"And who are those chained to the car? - The Wise,
The great, the unforgotten, - they who wore
Mitres and helms and crowns, or wreathes of light,
Signs of thought's empire over thought - their lore
Taught them not this, to know themselves; their might
Could not repress the mystery within,
And for the morn of truth they feigned, deep night
Caught them ere evening..."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - from "The Triumph of Love"
"... Virtue owns a more eternal foe
Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, legal Crime,
And bloody Faith the foulest birth of Time."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - from "Feelings of a Republican on the fall of Bonaparte"
"... I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) - from "Julian and Maddalo
"For each has a heart, each heart its own leanings.
Their right is our wrong, our right is their wrong.
No unquestionable sages we, nor need they be fools;
All of us, we are men.
How then will a one lay down a rule by which to divide all's right from all's wrong?
We are all, one with the next and another, in the ring which has no end."
- Prince Shokotu, in his 10th clause, 12th year of Sukio, 604 AD, the 4th month, 3rd day
"I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world."
- Socrates (469-399 BC) - from Plutarch "De Exilo" v (also attributed to Diogenes of Sinope)
"'Why 'twas a very wicked thing!'
Said little Wilhelmine;
'Nay.. Nay.. my little girl', quoth he,
'It was a famous vixtory.'"
- Robert Southey (1774-1843) - from "After Blenheim"
"The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot [from Like A Rolling Stone] that sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind ... The way that Elvis freed your body, Dylan freed your mind, and showed us that because the music was physical did not mean it was anti-intellect. He had the vision and talent to make a pop song so that it contained the whole world. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording could achieve, and he changed the face of rock'n'roll for ever and ever."
- Bruce Springsteen - from "Wanted Man: In Search of Bob Dylan" (John Bauldie, 1992)
"Where there is power, there is pain."
"Once an angry young man dragged his father along the ground, through his own orchard. 'Stop!' cried the groaning man at last, 'Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.'"
- Gertrude Stein - from "The Making of Americans" (1925)
"During the First World War, one civilian was killed for every twenty soldiers. In the Second, as many civilians were killed as soldiers. In Vietnam, twenty times as many civilians as troops died. We reckon that, in a nuclear war, one hundred times more women, children and old people would die than soldiers."
- Director, Swiss Civil Defense School
"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws!"
- Tacitus (55-130)
"We learn nothing from history except the infinite variety of men's behaviour."
- A J P Taylor (historian)
"The certainties of one age are the problems of the next"
"...and was disposed too often to idealize as a virtue that habit of mean subservience to wealth and social position which, after more than half a century of political democracy, is still the characteristic and odious vice of the Englishman."
- Richard Henry Tawney - from "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism", 1926
"But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sigh'd for the dawn and thee."
"There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
And the lily whispers, "I wait."
- Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) - from "Come into the garden, Maud"
"And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever"
- Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) - from "The Brook"
"I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most,
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all"
- Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) - from "In Memoriam"
"What is it that is most beautiful? - The Universe; for it is the work of God.
What is most powerful? - Necessity; because it triumphs over all things.
What is most difficult? - To know one's self.
What is most easy? - To give advice.
What method must we take to lead a good life? - To do nothing we would condemn in others.
What is necessary to happiness? - A sound body and a contented mind."
- Thales of Miletus (580 BC)
"Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later."
- Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) - from "The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher" - "Ceti"
"I can think of a few microorganisms, possibly the tubercle bacillus, the syphilis spirochete, the malarial parasite, and a few others, that have a selective advantage in their ability to infect human beings, but there is nothing to be gained, in an evolutionary sense, by the capacity to cause illness or death. Pathogenicity may be something of a disadvantage for most microbes, carrying lethal risks far more frightening to them than to us. The man who catches a meningococcus is in considerably less danger for his life, even without chemotherapy, than meningococci with the bad luck to catch a man."
- Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) - from "The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher" - "Germs"
"When one runs with the wolves, one must howl with the pack."
- quoted by Leon Trotsky in "Escape From Siberia"
"One batallion of paratroopers is worth countless numbers of United Nations Resolutions."
- Sir Anthony Tuke (Chairman Rio Tinto Zinc, ex-Chairman Barclays Bank) - RTZ AGM, June 1981
"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"God, or what have you, will not be found at the far end of a syllogism, no matter how brilliantly phrased or conceived."
"I could now look at her without longing, without pain. Regret was another matter but regret was only a distant relative to anguish."
"...I'm no longer the scales most lovers are, weighing the deeds and gifts and treasures proffered against those received or stolen from the other, trying always to bring into fatal balance two separate things."
"...you will do more harm than good by attempting to supplant old dogmas and customs with new dogmas. It will be the same in the end except that the old is less militant, less dangerous than a new order imposed by enthusiasts."
- Gore Vidal - from "Messiah", 1954
"The time will come when men will look on the murder of animals as we now look on the murder of men."
- Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)
"Buddha and Christ were second-rate heroes. The greatest men that ever live pass away unknown. They put forth no claims for themselves, establish no schools or systems in their name. They never create any stir but just melt down in love..."
- Swami Vivekananda - quoted by Tom Robbins in "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues"
"We are the people are parents warned us against."
- Nicholas Von Hoffman - book title, 1968
"This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel."
- Horace Walpole (1717-1797)
"...for since there is no real 'way' to sartori, the way you are following makes very little difference."
- Alan Watts - from "Beat Zen, Square Zen, And Zen"
"There is no mission, nor interest to convert, and yet I believe that if this state of consciousness could become more universal, the pretentious nonsense which passes for the serious business of the world would dissolve in laughter. We should see at once that the high ideals for which we are killing and regimenting each other are empty and abstract substiutes for the unheeded miracles that surround us - not only in the obvious wonders of nature but also in the overwhelming uncanny fact of mere existence."
"Spiritual awakening is the difficult process whereby the increasing realisation that everything is as wrong as it can be flips suddenly into the realisation that everything is as right is it can be. Or better, everything is as It as it can be."
"...the whole universe is through and through the playing of love in every shade of the word's use, from animal lust to divine charity."
- Alan Watts - from "This Is It", 1960
"The entire pattern swirls in its complexity like smoke in sunbeams or the rippling networks of sunlight in shallow water. Transforming itself endlessly into itself, the pattern alone remains. The crosspoints, nodes, nets, and curlicues vanish perpetually into each other."
"A journey into this new world of consciousness gives one a marvelously enhanced appreciation of patterning in nature, a fascination deeper than ever with the structure of ferns, the formation of crystals, the markings upon sea shells, the incredible jewelry of such unicellular creatures of the ocean as the radiolaria, the fairy architecture of seeds and pods, the engineering of bones and skelitons, the aerodynamics of feathers, and the astonishing profusion of eye-forms upon the wings of butterflies and birds."
"... they are for the most part ever more complex variations upon a theme - ferns sprouting ferns in multi-dimensional spaces, vast kaleidoscopic domes of stained glass or mosaic, or patterns like the models of highly intricate molecules - systems of colored balls, each one of which turns out to be a multitude of smaller balls, forever and ever. Is this, perhaps, an inner view of the organising process which, when the eyes are open, makes sense of the world even at points where it appears to be supremely messy?"
- Alan Watts - from "The Joyous Cosmology", 1962
"...the habitual dualist's solution to the problem of dualism: to solve the dilemma by chopping off one of the horns."
"It is also in despair of being able to understand or make any productive contribution to the highly organised chaos of our politico-economic system that large numbers of people simply abandon political and social committments. They just let society be taken over by a pattern of organisation which is as self-proliferative as a weed, and whose ends and values are neither human nor instinctive but mechanical."
- Alan Watts - from "Instinct, Intelligence And Anxiety"
"...mysticism and empiricism go together in opposition to scholasticism...they base themselves on the non-linear world of experience rather than the linear world of letters."
"[The Chinese word] Li may therefore be understood as organic order, as distinct from mechanical or legal order, both of which go by the book. Li is the asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order which we find in the patterns of moving water, the form of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on beach sand."
"There is a peculiar contradiction in trying to be a member of a republic while believing that the universe is a monarchy."
- Alan Watts - from "Tao: The Watercourse Way", 1975
"Because clearly the most amazing thing had happened: by some chance - no, the lover does not believe in chance, but destiny - destiny had arranged it so that the man and woman who had made the original whole, then somehow divided and separated by an angry God, had met up again, and now must reform the rightful, righteous whole. At once!"
"For that is what a child should be, and seldom is, the product of man and woman, of opposing natures, unified, however temporarily, by the amazing, circling, weaving dance of love and lust and God's involvement in it."
"How has anyone ever understood anyone, except through love, which is wordless?"
"I know [truth] is more like a mountain that has to be scaled. The peak of the mountain pierces the clouds and can only rarely be seen, and has never been reached. And what you see of it, moreover, depends upon the flank of the mountain you stand upon, and how exhausted getting even so far has made you. Virtue lies in looking upwards, toiling upwards, and sometimes joyously leaping from one precarious crag of fact and feeling to the next."
"I learned that sex was not a question of victory or defeat, of pleasure or profit: of a hand's manipulation and a physical response: I learned that in its purest pleasure it belongs to neither of those who practise it, in the same way as a child belongs to neither parent: it is a free spirit: it simply exists."
"Preserve your peace of mind. There is not much time; all things end in death. Do not lament the past too much, or fear the future too acutely, ot waste too much energy on other peoples' woes, in case the present dissolves altogether."
"Yet this perhaps is what love does, or the memory of it; it sucks the life from the living, glorying body and leaves it, when love has gone, a shred, a simulacrum - dross, to be swept up from the factory floor, pitiful and dusty, useless... Do all men and women feel love before they die? This force, this source of light, that lies before the sun; glances off mountains and lakes, blinding and dazzling, on a Sunday afternoon; so brilliant you have to guard your soul, fold your arms to shield your heart from the very memory of it."
- Fay Weldon - from "The President's Child", 1982
"I started out as Snow White, but then I drifted."
"Marriage is a great institution; it's just that I'm not ready for an institution."
- Mae West
"Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!"
- Walt Whitman (1810-1892) - from "Leaves of Grass" - "Song of Myself", 1855
"Happiness not in another Place, but in this Place,
Not for another hour, but this hour."
- Walt Whitman (1810-1892)
"There is only good art and mediocre art."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) - reply when asked to comment on the morality of a book at his trial
"This too I know - and wise it were
If each could know the same -
That every prison that men build
Is built with bricks of shame"
"The vilest deeds like poison weed,
Bloom well in prison air;
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there"
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) - from "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
"Then pause and look a little toward the shelf
Where my books stand which none but you shall read:
And say: "I too was not ungently sung
When I was happy, beautiful, and young."
- Charles Williams (born 1886) - from "After Ronsard"
"We are blind and live our blind lives out in darkness. Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels."
- William Carlos Williams - from the introduction to "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous."
"The major advances in civilisation are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur."
"Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions."
- Alfred North Whitehead - quoted in "The Medium is the Massage" by McLuhan & Fiore, 1967
"One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them."
- Virginia Woolf - from "Hours in a Library"
"...'God,' said I, 'be my help and stay secure;
I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!'"
- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) - from "Resolution and Independence"
"O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things youth needed not!"
- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) - from "The Lesser Celandine"
"Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned,
Mindless of its just honours; with this key
Shakespeare unlocked his heart..."
- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) - from "Scorn Not The Sonnet"
Various and Anon
"Anglo-Saxons unite - throw out the Norman aristocracy."
"Bed is the poor man's opera."
"Compulsory education is slavery."
"Culture is the advertising system of corporate capitalism."
"England - the last British colony."
"Everything is possible; nothing is probable."
"Give us this day our daily graffiti."
"He who sleeps on the floor will not fall out of bed."
"If governments can not stop having wars, then people should stop having governments."
"If voting could change the system it would be against the law."
"It is said of science that it uses facts like a drunkard uses a lamp-post, for support rather than illumination."
"It took thirteen years to wipe out smallpox, and cost three hundred million dollars - roughly the cost of one new [nuclear] submarine."
"It was the amateurs who built Noah's Ark. The professionals were the ones who built the Titanic."
"Never have so few done so much while watched by so many who knew so little."
"Never in the field of human con-tricks has so much been ripped off so many by so few."
"No leader is so trustworthy that they should decide for you your enemy."
"Repatriate the monarchy."
"Sharks eat one ton of human meat per year; humans consume three hundred thousand tons of shark meat per year."
"State power comes out of the barrel of a gun."
"Tax fraud is seventy-five times greater than Social Security fraud."
"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."
"The best definition of gravity: the world sucks!"
"The fate of helpless animals is of greater importance than the fear of feeling ridiculous."
"The graffiti that can be written is not the eternal graffiti."
"The law doth punish man or woman
That steals the goose from off the common,
But lets the greater felon loose,
That steals the common from the goose."
"Those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it."
"We are the unwilling sent by the unqualified to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful."
"When elephants make war, the grass gets trampled;
When elephants make love, the grass gets trampled."
"Without justice, peace is only a lull in hostilities."
"I take my desires to be reality because I believe in the reality of my desires."
- Overall Brigade, Paris, May 1968
"we came, we saw, we pogoed"
- headline in New Musical Express (NME) (1977?)
"Toxteth riots, England 1981: a leftist militant climbs on to a box and addresses a crowd on the subject of the coming socialist utopia. Her promise that there will be jobs for all is met with derisory laughter from the group of young rioters. As the speaker details other reforms, the group begins a mocking chant, 'Bigger cages, longer chains! Bigger cages, longer chains!'"
"There were more casualties during the making of the 'storming of the Winter Palace" scene in Eisenstein's famous film, than in the actual event."
"The Trade Union movement today has more to do with controlling workers than it has to do with workers' control."
"...the system of worker participation planned by Mussolini's fascists was more radical than that proposed by the British Trades Union Congress."
"The world we live in is relegated to a kind of spiritual waiting room and proving ground. The theme of all ideologies - religious or secular - is 'jam tomorrow'."
- from "bigger cages, longer chains" (Published by Spectacular Times, 1987)
"The society that abolishes adventure makes its own abolition the only adventure possible."
- Guildford Free Information Sheet, August 1995
"Anti-Capitalism is the perfect introduction and soundtrack to the underground and cutting edge of the punk scene at the time, when revolution seemed not just necessary but inevitable."
- Overground Records, October 2006
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revised 12 November 2018