"Ignorance is a treasure of infinite price that most men squander, when they should cherish its least fragments; some ruin it by educating themselves, others, unable so much as to conceive of making use of it, let it waste away. Quite on the contrary, we should search for it assiduously in what we think we know best. Leaf through a dictionary or try to make one, and you will find that every word covers and masks a well so bottomless that the questions you toss into it arouse no more than an echo."
From the preface his essay, Man and the Sea Shell - Paul Valéry (1871-1945)
"... there is a strong tendency for us to over-commit the future, so that when the future becomes present we seem to be conscious all the time of having an acute scarcity, simply because we have committed ourselves to about thirty hours a day instead of twenty-four."
From 'Tools for Conviviality' by Ivan Illich (1926-2002).
"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."
Terry Pratchett (1948-2015)
"Am I alone in looking forward to a time when religion is allowed for 'consenting adults in the privacy of their own home'?"
Lucy Craig, letter to the Observer, 22/10/06
"I was working on a flat rate tax proposal, and I accidentally proved there's no God."
Homer Simpson, after he'd had a crayon removed from his brain.
"... now we come to religion, and an extremely odd thing happens. Where we might have said, 'knowing his father, I expect young Cowdrey will take up cricket,' we emphatically do not say, 'With her devout Catholic parents, I expect young Bernadette will take up Catholicism.' Instead we say, without a moment's hesitation or a qualm of misgiving, 'Bernadette is a Catholic'. We state it as simple fact even when she is far too young to have developed a theological opinion of her own."
Richard Dawkins, The Observer, 30/12/01
"I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me, 'Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian beaver cheese is equally valid' - then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such as thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we've got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all."
Douglas Adams, in an interview with American Atheists from 'The Salmon of Doubt' (collected writing, published posthumously).
"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea..."
Douglas Adams, 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy '.
Children aren't happy with nothing to ignore,
And that's what parents were created for.
"Ceux qui parlent de révolution sans en référer explicement à la vie quotidienne ont un cadavre dans la bouche."
"Those who speak of revolution without making it real in their daily lives talk with a corpse in their mouths."
"... the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realise you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along."
Anon, from 'The Last Whole Earth Catalogue'.
"The task of the anarchist is not to dream about the future society; rather to it is to act as anarchistically as s/he can within the present society."
G Ostergaard, 'Anarchy', October 1962, published by Freedom Press and edited by Colin Ward, who died early in 2010. It was Colin who gave me the Illich quote (above).
"When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better."
"Respect Nature, because it has no respect for you."
Scully, quoting her dad, 'The X Files', November 1986.
"I had insisted on half women on board [the Enterprise]. The network came to me and said, 'You can't have half women. Our people say it will make it look like a ship with all sorts of mad sexual things going on - half men and half women.' So we argued about it like a poker game and they finally said, 'Okay. We'll settle for one-third women.' I figured one-third women could take care of the males anyway."
Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, talking about an argument with the TV network bosses.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
Atticus Finch in 'To Kill of Mockingbird' by Harper Lee
"Economics is so fundamentally disconnected from the real world, it is destructive."
"SUV = Selfish Useless Vehicle."
One of the audience at a Douglas Adams lecture.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.”