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Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
Miracles are propitious accidents.
The idea is that of the earth not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form, functionally, no more than a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale...
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing.
My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.
Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.
The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.
The more you own, the more you know you don’t own.
One cannot conceive anything so strange and implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another.
Religion is all right, so long as you don’t take it too seriously.
The harm that theology has done is not to create cruel impulses, but to give them the sanction of what professes to be a lofty ethic, and to confer an apparently sacred character upon practices which have dome down from more ignorant and barbarous ages.
All movements go too far.
Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.
One cannot step twice into the same river.
Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.
The world would be astonished if it knew how great a proportion of its brightest ornaments, of those most distinguished ever in popular estimation for wisdom and virtue, are complete sceptics in religion.
We think in generalities, but we live in detail.
If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.
Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.
Invention is the mother of necessity.
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
We do not do what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are—that is the fact.
Wit is educated insolence.
The unexpected connection is more powerful than one that is obvious.
There is no great genius without some touch of madness.
No man treats a motor car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, “You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go.” He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right.
A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library.
The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.
What good could talking to yourself do, if you already know what you intended to say?
The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature.
The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
The “silly question” is the first intimation of some totally new development.
From a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes.
In the thick of active life, there is more need to stimulate fancy than to control it.
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I havefinished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them. When the idea is new, its custodians have fervor, live for it, and if need be, die for it.
Sanity is a madness put to good uses.
That which opposes produces a benefit.
Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.