Quotations

”The existence or non-existence of any non-observable entity in the world is not settled by any single argument or consideration. Every premise will be based upon other concepts and principles that themselves must be justified. So ultimately, the adequacy of atheism as an explanatory hypothesis about what is real will depend upon the overall coherence, internal consistency, empirical confirmation, and explanatory success of a whole worldview within which atheism is only one small part. The question of whether or not there is a God sprawls onto related issues and positions about biology, physics, metaphysics, explanation, philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of language, and epistemology. The reasonableness of atheism depends upon the overall adequacy of a whole conceptual and explanatory description of the world.” ( Matt McCormick )
”I have no patience with those who say that sexual excitement is shameful and that venereal stimuli have their origin not in nature, but in sin. Nothing is so far from the truth. As if marriage, whose function cannot be fulfilled without these incitements, did not rise above blame. In other living creatures, where do these incitements come from? From nature or from sin? From nature, of course. It must borne in mind that in the apetites of the body there is very little difference between man and other living creatures. Finally, we defile by our imagination what of its own nature is fair and holy. If we were willing to evaluate things not according to the opinion of the crowd, but according to nature itself, how is it less repulsive to eat, chew, digest, evacuate, and sleep after the fashion of dumb animals, than to enjoy lawful and permitted carnal relations?” ( Erasmus of Rotterdam )
”Evolution is not progress. Populations simply adapt to their current surroundings. They do not necessarily become better in any absolute sense over time.” ( John S. Wilkins )
”Belief is borrowed – trust is yours. Trust is possible only if you first trust in yourself. The most fundamental thing has to happen within you first. If you trust in yourself you can trust in existence, but if you dont’ trust in yourself then no other trust is possible. And the society destroys trust at the very roots. It does not allow you to trust yourself. It teaches all other kinds of trust – trust in the parents, trust in the church, trust in the state, trust in some god, ad infinitum. But the basic trust is completely destroyed and then all other trusts are phony, are bound to be phony. Then all other trusts are just plastic flowers. You don’t have real roots for real flowers to grow. The society does it deliberately, on purpose, because a man who trusts in himself is dangerous for the society that has invested too much in slavery. A man trusting himself is an independent man. You cannot make predictions about him, he will move in his own way. Freedom will be his life. He will trust when he feels, when he loves, and then his trust will have a tremendous intensity and truth in it. Then his trust will be alive and authentic. And he will be ready to risk all for his trust – but only when he feels it, only when it is true, only when it stirs his heart, only when it stirs his intelligence and his love, otherwise not. You cannot force him into any kind of believing. Belief is theoretical, Trust is existential.” ( OSHO )
”Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.” ( Sir James Hopwood Jeans )
”There is some truth in all folk legends and beliefs; discernment lies in recognizing what is realistic and what derives from our natural tendency to see life as simpler, more black-and-white, than it ever is. Real alternative religions deserve to be studied objectively, not stereotyped as occult or evil.” ( Bill Ellis )
”Heidegger claims that the human being as Da-sein can be understood as the “there” (Da) which being (Sein) requires in order to disclose itself. The human being is the unique being whose being has the character of openness toward Being. But men and women can also turn away from being, forget their true selves, and thus deprive themselves of their humanity. This is, in Heidegger’s view, the situation of contemporary humans, who have replaced authentic questioning concerning their existence with ready-made answers served up by ideologies, the mass media, and overwhelming technology. Consequently, Heidegger attempts to bring today’s men and women back to the question of being.” ( W. J. Korab-Karpowicz )
”It is apparent that religion can be seen as a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological phenomenon of human kind. To limit religion to only one of these categories is to miss its multifaceted nature and lose out on the complete definition.” ( Kile Jones )
”A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is. Thus the Master is available to all people and doesn’t reject anyone. He is ready to use all situations and doesn’t waste anything. This is called embodying the light.” ( Lao Tzu )
”We are not going to go to the stars as Republicans and Democrats, communists and free marketeers; we are not going to go to the stars as male chauvinists; nor are we going to go to the stars as uninformed clods. All of these are dross that the historical experience of the twentieth century is going to either burn away from us or burn us with.” ( Terence McKenna )
”The accepted theory that the serpent is evil cannot be substantiated. It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, because it annually sheds its skin…It was also believed that snakes swallowed themselves, and this resulted in their being considered emblematic of the Supreme Creator, who periodically reabsorbed His universe back into Himself.” ( Manly Palmer Hall )”
”Latin is the key to the vocabulary and structure of the Romance languages and to the structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.” ( Dorothy Sayers )
”If you look at the use of Satan in the Hebrew bible, you find that as a concept, it is much more about an experience than a person, an experience where God has put a roadblock in front of us. This is Satan, this is an adversary. Judaism teaches that what is to be overcome is not Satan, but the “satan” in our path, the obstacle which has been put there for our growth.” ( Penina Taylor )
”The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.” ( Paulo Freire )
”Truth is a relationship.” ( Buckminster Fuller )
”There are no spiritual moments. Every moment is spiritual. There are no spiritual places. Every place is spiritual.” ( Tara Stiles )
”An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.” ( James Curcio )
”Muslims define their god as being so “other” and so unlike humanity that any attribution of human characteristics to this god is blasphemous. Christians, who ostensibly believe in the “same god,” define their god with a multitude of anthropomorphic characteristics — even to the point where they think their god became incarnate as a human being at one point in time. They can’t both be right.” ( Austin Cline )
”We don’t receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” ( Marcel Proust )
”There is no face of evil.” ( Martha Stout )
”The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” ( John Fitzgerald Kennedy )
”The year is 1954. This year, Walter and Lao Russell write their warning in a privately circulated newsletter to their students: Oxygen and radioactive stockpiles cannot coexist. Digging up the Earth’s heavier elements, concentrating their reactions and releasing their products into the atmosphere is a recipe for disaster. Three years later the Russells publish a book, Atomic Suicide?, whose principle message is that the development of the nuclear weaponry and industry, if allowed to continue, will eventually destroy the planet’s oxygen.” ( John David Mann )
”If we assume that we can get a spacecraft the size of the Space Shuttle to travel 75 percent of the speed of light, then it would require at least 9.35 X 1022 joules of energy. At that speed, the journey would take about five-and-a-half years and require one hundred percent of humanity’s current global energy consumption for 195 years! All of that energy would have to be somehow provided to the spacecraft. And that’s just to get here from the nearest star.” ( Les Johnson )
”Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.” ( Jean-Francois Lyotard )
”Some philosophers want to allow for the possibility that many of our mental mechanisms may not have evolved to serve the functions to which we currently put them to use.” ( Erick Ramirez )
”There has been no more revolutionary contribution than the one which the Hindus (Indians) made when they invented zero.” ( Lancelot Hogben )
”There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us.” ( Alfred North Whitehead )
”Every thoughtful human being has a philosophy of one sort or another, even if it is not very precisely worked out. The problem is that most people never get beyond the stage of having “my philosophy”. That is, although many, if not most, people have established for themselves a particular philosophical point of view, very few people seriously work at expanding that personal point of view in such a way that it can be regarded as having a legitimate range of application beyond their own personal opinions. Yet this step is crucial if we are ever to understand what philosophy really is. Philosophy must go beyond the stage of being “my philosophy” and must become philosophy before I can say “I am a philosopher”.” ( Stephen Palmquist )
”The idea of written language and it’s relationship to the concept of law compares to the story of Adam and Eve and their discovery of the ‘knowledge of good an evil’.” ( Bruce Magnotti )
”I consider love and marriage to be two completely separate things. I am not arguing against love, only against this public social and legal contract – marriage – which I think gets in the way of love. If you really love somebody, then your love alone should keep you together. Why should you have to announce anything to the world? Why does it matter what you aunts and uncles and parents and siblings think? You are the one who has to live in this relationship, so you and your partner should be the sole moderators of it. Every day you decide anew what your relationship is. You shouldn’t have to declare it for a whole lifetime.” ( Glenn Campbell )
”A connected and educated populace, at least in aggregate and over the long run, is bound to be disabused of poisonous beliefs, such as that members of other races and ethnicities are innately avaricious or perfidious; that economic and military misfortunes are caused by the treachery of ethnic minorities; that women don’t mind to be raped; that children must be beaten to be socialized; that people choose to be homosexual as part of a morally degenerate lifestyle; that animals are incapable of feeling pain.” ( Steven Pinker )
”When a country decides to invest in arms, rather than in education, housing, the environment, and health services for its people, it is depriving a whole generation of its right to prosperity and happiness. We have produced one firearm for every ten inhabitants of this planet, and yet we have not bothered to end hunger when such a feat is well within our reach. Our international regulations allow almost three-quarters of all global arms sales to pour into the developing world with no binding international guidelines whatsoever. Our regulations do not hold countries accountable for what is done with the weapons they sell, even when the probable use of such weapons is obvious.” ( Oscar Arias Sanchez )
”We worry about so many dangers to our children – drugs, perverts, bullies – but seldom notice the biggest menace of all: the multibillion-dollar marketing effort aimed at turning the kids into oversexed, status-obsessed, attention-deficient little consumers.” ( Barbara Ehrenreich )
”Indeed the three policy pillars of the neoliberal age – privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and the lowering of income and corporate taxes, paid for with cuts to public spending – are each incompatible with many of the actions we must take to bring our emissions to safe levels. And together these pillars form an ideological wall that has blocked a serious response to climate change for decades.” ( Naomi Klein )
”In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.” ( George Orwell )
”All men are in need of help and depend on one another. Human solidarity is the necessary condition for the unfolding of any one individual.” ( Erich Fromm )
”We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.” ( Karl Popper )
”There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ”my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ( Isaac Asimov )
”Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?” ( Michel Foucault )
”What, then, constitutes the alienation of labor? First, in the fact that labor is external to the worker, that is, that it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel well but unhappy, does not freely develop his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker, therefore, feels himself only outside his work, and feels beside himself in his work. He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. His work therefore is not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that labor is shunned like the plague as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion.” ( Karl Marx )
”When I came back to the United States, I decided that if you could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use it for peace. And ”propaganda” got to be a bad word because of the Germans using it, so what I did was to try and find some other words so we found the words ”public relations”. ( Edward Bernays )
”The New Deal – era taxes on business and the rich and regulations of enterprise behavior proved vulnerable and unsustainable. The enemies of the New Deal had the incentives (profit maximization) and the resources (their returns on investments) to undo many of its reforms after World War II, with ever-greater effect in the period since the 1970s. They systematically evaded, then weakened, the taxes and regulations of the New Deal, and eventually, when politically possible, eliminated them altogether. Business profits funded the parties, politicians, public relations campaigns, and professional think tanks that together shaped the real social effects and historical decline of government economic regulation. Examples include the destruction of the Glass-Steagall Act, the current assault on Social Security, the shift in the federal tax burden from business to individuals and from upper- to middle-income individuals, and so on.” ( Richard D. Wollf )
”The balance of global economic power has shifted from governments to corporate boardrooms.” ( Suzanne Elston )
”Consensus is an euphemism for ideology. Genuine consensus is not achieved, rather the more powerful in societies are able to impose their conceptions on others and have them accept their discourses. Consensus does not preserve social order, it entrenches stratification, e.g., the American dream.” ( Alan Sears )
”If we accept the Greek’s definition of the idiot as an altogether private man, then we must conclude that many American citizens are now idiots. And I should not be surprised, although I don’t know, if there were some such idiots even in Germany.” ( C. Wright Mills )
”There were a lot of utopias in the nineteenth century, wonderful societies that we might possibly construct. Those went pretty much out of fashion after World War I. And almost immediately one of the utopias that people were trying to construct, namely the Soviet Union, threw out a writer called Zamyatin who wrote a seminal book called We, which contains the seeds of Orwell and Huxley. Writers started doing dystopias after we saw the effects of trying to build utopias that required, unfortunately, the elimination of a lot of people before you could get to the perfect point, which never arrived.” ( Margaret Atwood )
”The systems view is the emerging contemporary view of organized complexity, one step beyond the Newtonian view of organized simplicity, and two steps beyond the classical world views of divinely ordered or imaginatively envisaged complexity.” ( Ervin László )
”It seems to me the only pertinent question is: cui bono? It is clear that the size of the privileged strata as a percentage of the whole has grown significantly under historical capitalism. And for these people, the world they know is better on the whole than any their earlier counterparts knew.” ( Immanuel Wallerstein )
”It is by metaphor that language grows. It is not always obvious that metaphor has played this all-important function. But this is because the concrete metaphiers become hidden in phonemic change, leaving the words to exist on their own. Even such an unmetaphorical-sounding word as the verb ‘to be’ was generated from a metaphor. It comes from the Sanskrit bhu, ”to grow, or make grow,” while the English forms ‘am’ and ‘is’ have evolved from the same root as the Sanskrit asmi, ”to breathe.” It is something of a lovely surprise that the irregular conjugation of our most nondescript verb is thus a record of a time when man had no independent word for ‘existence’ and could only say that something ‘grows’ or that it ”breathes”. ( Julian Jaynes )
”There is a human activity that has society itself for its object. The aim of this activity is not simply to eliminate one or another abuse, for it regards such abuses as necessarily connected with the way in which the social structure is organized. Although it itself emerges from the social structure, its purpose is not, either in its conscious intention, or in its objective significance, the better functioning of any element in the structure. On the contrary, it is suspicious of the very categories of better, useful, appropriate, productive, and valuable, as these are understood in the present order.” ( Max Horkheimer )
”Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, pointed out in 2010 that for the first time in human history mankind is politically informed, aware of global inequalities and lack of respect for all humans. People yearn for human dignity in what he called a ”global political awakening” sparked by American imperialism and global mass communication.” ( Gayle Kimball )
”Arendt’s theory of action and her revival of the ancient notion of praxis represent one of the most original contributions to twentieth century political thought. Moreover, by viewing action as a mode of human togetherness, Arendt is able to develop a conception of participatory democracy which stands in direct contrast to the bureaucratized and elitist forms of politics so characteristic of the modern epoch” ( Maurizio Passerin )
”The essence of technology lies in Enframing. Its holding sway belongs within destining. Yet when destining reigns in the mode of Enframing, it is the supreme danger. This danger attests itself to us in two ways. As soon as what is unconcealed no longer concerns man even as object, but does so, rather, exclusively as standing-reserve, and man in the midst of objectlessness is nothing but the orderer of the standing-reserve, then he comes to the very brink of a precipitous fall; that is, he comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-reserve. Meanwhile man, precisely as the one so threatened, exalts himself to the posture of lord of the earth. In this way the impression comes to prevail that everything man encounters exists only insofar as it is his construct. This illusion gives rise in turn to one final delusion: It seems as though man everywhere and always encounters only himself.” ( Martin Heidegger )
”Hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, economic instability, unemployment, chronic disease, drug addiction, and war, for example, persist in spite of the analytical ability and technical brilliance that have been directed toward eradicating them. No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless. That is because they are intrinsically systems problems-undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.” ( Donella Meadows )
”Marx conceived of a path, not a model.” ( Henri Lefebvre )
”Here is a list of the countries that America has been at war with – and bombed – since the second world war: China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the Belgian Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan.” ( Arundhati Roy )
“The real world of capitalism is one in which capitalists demand state intervention on their behalf while opposing government intervention on behalf on their employees or the poor. In a broader sense, the state is the guarantor of the capitalist system, providing the framework of laws and protections it needs to exist. Taxpayers fund the state, thereby ensuring capitalism’s viability. Capitalism cannot exist without a host state, just as corporations cannot exist without property laws, state charters, copyright and patent protections, and a host of other government ‘interventions’.”
( Brian Oliver Sheppard )
”The ancient poets animated all objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity; Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of, & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounc’d that the Gods had order’d such things. Thus men forgot that all deities reside in the human breast.” ( William Blake )
”After 3 decades of studying how spirituality relates to human development I have come to conclude that spirituality does not always make people more deeply human and whole. Honesty forces me to conclude that the spiritual path can lead to an escape from a robust commitment to reality, the repression or dissociation of sexuality, disconnection from the emotions, alienation from the body, and increasing distance from one’s unconscious depths.” ( David G. Benner )
”The individual human being, stripped of his humanity, is of no use as a conceptual base from which to make a picture of human society. No human exists except steeped in the culture of his time and place. The falsely abstracted individual has been sadly misleading to Western political thought.” ( Mary Douglas )
”The primitive mentality is a condition of the human mind, and not a stage in its historical development.” ( Lucien Levy-Bruhl )
”Freedom of thought and of expression are not mere rights to be claimed. They have their roots deep in the existence of individuals as developing careers in time. Their denial and abrogation is an abdication of individuality and a virtual rejection of time as opportunity.” ( John Dewey )
”Perfectibility is one of the most unequivocal characteristics of the human species.” ( William Godwin )
”While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of “rags to riches” were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control.” ( Howard Zinn )
”There are certain things that our age needs, and certain things that it should avoid. It needs compassion and a wish that mankind should be happy; it needs the desire for knowledge and the determination to eschew pleasant myths; it needs above all, courageous hope and the impulse to creativeness. The things that it must avoid, and that have brought it to the brink of catastrophe, are cruelty, envy, greed, competitiveness, search for irrational subjective certainty, and what Freudians call the death wish.” ( Bertrand Russell )
”From the viewpoint of economic democracy, the capitalism-socialism debate was a debate between private and state capitalism (i.e., the private or public employment system), and the debate was as misframed as would be a debate between the private or public ownership of slaves.” ( David Ellerman )
”The practical plan through which that liberty promised by democracy is to be realized, is the abandonment of the wages system and the establishment of industries upon the cooperative basis. It is then the realization of cooperative economy which is to serve as the ideal of democratic peoples. If this appears disappointing in any way, and inadequate to the great task assigned it, the source of disappointment is that you do not understand cooperation, and do not perceive what an influence it will have in modifying character and changing the purposes for which men work. A society based upon cooperative industry is as different in itself and in its tendencies, from a society based upon wages industry, as the latter is from a society based upon slavery. Thus cooperation is a further step in the direct line of development which carried civilization from a state of slavery to freedom.” ( Henry Carter Adams )
”Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.” ( Edward Said )
”The realer religion is, so much the more it means its own overcoming. It wills to cease to be the special domain “Religion” and wills to become life. It is concerned in the end not with specific religious acts, but with redemption from all that is specific.” ( Martin Buber )
TBC
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