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Mentis Quotes

Here we offer some tasty bite-sized nuggets of wit and wisdom. Some are old favourites from the masters, other are new and home-cooked for your delectation! Undoubtedly some will find these morsels somewhat bitter; to those we can offer no recourse but to suggest that they develop better taste.

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On Life and Living

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life--It goes on."    - Robert Lee Frost (1875-1963); American poet.

"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood."    - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882); American author and poet.

"Life is a rainbow that includes black."    - Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet.

"Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay."    - Caius Sallustius Crispus (86-34 BCE); Roman historian.

"The inevitable never happens. It is the unexpected always."    - John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946); British economist.

"Life really is as complicated or as simple as you want it to be."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"We are specks of dust on a speck of dust planet. Only time will tell if being a thinking speck is an advantage."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"There is nothing impossible to him who will try."    - Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BCE); Macedonian ruler.

"Design Science is the positive extension of passive resistance. Passive resistance bloodlessly dissipates the undesirable. Design Science bloodlessly gains the desirable."    - R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983); U.S. design scientist.

"The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”    - Karl Marx, German philosopher.

[Addendum] "For the modern age, this quote must be amended. I think we can safely argue that the majority of things produced now are in fact useless; and that this makes people even worse than useless--it makes them downright harmful."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

On Religion and Delusion

"The prime occupation of humanity throughout history has been to believe that for which there is no evidence, and to disbelieve that for which there is abundant evidence."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

[Addendum] "The cause of this problem, which accounts for the majority of humanity's tragedies, has in most cases been the failure to think statistically."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Occasionally I am told by a believer in god that an ethical system without a religious foundation is built on air. To that I respond: that may be so, but it is surely better than the alternative, for an ethical system originating from religion is built on vacuum."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"If ones wishes to adhere to the word and spirit of the Bible, one must necessarily oppose abortion. In its place, one should advocate that undesired children be allowed to be born and then slaughtered afterwards, for that is precisely the sort of thing that pleases the Christian God."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"I will respect your views if you can justify them. But if you justify your views only by saying you have faith in them, I shall not respect them."    - Richard Dawkins.

"I will listen to no one's talk of an infinite being unless they can first demonstrate a solid understanding of transfinite mathematics."   - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause."    - Eric Hoffer (1902-1983); American social philosopher.

On Society and History

"We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket."- George Carlin, US comedian.

"We will never be an advanced civilization as long as mass poverty and starvation doesn't delay the launching of a space rocket."- Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"All of history has been but the actions of fools trying to prevent civilization."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Modern civilization's greatest achievement: allowing us the resources and leisure time to enjoy the cultural fruits of past civlizations."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Money is a poor man's credit card."    - Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980); Canadian sociologist.

"Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century."    - Marshall McLuhan (1911-80); Canadian communications theorist.

"Advertising is the worst art form of the twentieth century--although rap music comes in a close second."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it."    - John Locke (1632-1704); English philosopher.

"Each person needs a toothbrush. No one person needs a factory to manufacture toothbrushes. But in order for each person to have a toothbrush, all the people together need the factory. This simple observation is the rationale for the collective ownership of the means of production."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Stalin had to switch propaganda during WWII from 'it is our Communist duty to liberate those poor German workers from their Nazi oppressors' to 'slay the fascist beasts for Mother Russia.' He found that the former wasn't working so well, whereas the latter supercharged people."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"A major obstacle to social progress in America is patriotism, i.e. the belief that the prevailing system is good no matter how inhumane if only because it is 'American'. All corrupt regimes appeal to this principle."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"When the U.S. was the rebel colony of Britain they were all about justice and democracy... now they're rampaging idiots."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Telling the masses why we should have socialism and explore the universe is like telling fish the advantages of living on land."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"The world economy is today a huge casino. Recent analyses indicate that for every dollar that goes into trade, over one hundred end up in speculative operations completely disconnected from the real economy."    - Fidel Castro, President of Cuba.

"What is not good for the hive is not good for the bee."    - Marcus Aurelius (121-80 BCE); Roman emperor, philosopher.

"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience."    - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950); Irish-born British playwright.

"Our greatest sin is overengineering. We may not be able to live forever, but we make darn sure that our garbage will."    - J. Herbert Waite; biomimeticist.

"When seeking to educate people, one should begin with the reasonable ones. The unreasonable ones will be harder since we first have to teach them reason."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

On Humour and Satire

"Nothing says peace like an environmentally conscious nuclear warhead delivery system."    - Dave Lamb, Canadian guy.

"The path to a man's wallet is through is pants."    - Julie Andronico, Canadian psychologist.

"The celestial fumigator is on vacation and the pests are getting out of control."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"The great thing about having all these problems is that I can use any one of them to take my mind off the others.    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Americanism seems like such a let-down... a crass, acquisitive materialism that does not inspire me to even blink an eye. All I need is $500,000 to be happy."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"If you try to ride your bike on the freeway, it is neither the bike nor the freeway that is retarded."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Man is the only animal that makes the great white shark seem harmless."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Project for you, go now."    - Captain Drewbie, swashbuckling philosopher of the high seas.

"It's all just so much chaff."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Everyone is a coin inside."    - Anita Duraikannan, Canadian miniaturist.

On Ethics and Politics

"Every man who has the capacity to suffer and enjoy, and has imagination enough to give the same capacity to others, has within himself the natural basis of all morality."   - Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899); American lawyer, orator, writer.

"He threatens many that hath injured one."    - Ben Jonson (1573-1637); English dramatist, poet.

"In this society we fail to teach people the principles of civilization, and then punish them when they behave in an uncivilized manner. It is as foolish as failing to teach a child language and then punishing him when he doesn't answer."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."    - John Kenneth Galbraith; Canadian-born American economist.

"There's only one political party in the U.S.--the Republican-Democratic party."    - David Suzuki, Canadian geneticist, environmentalist.

"What an insane society we live in. We have organized crime and disorganized government."    - Aravin Duraikannan; Canadian futurist.

On Friendship and Character

"One living good friend is worth a thousand dead foes."    - Thomas Blashill, Canadian futurist.

"Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."    - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862); American essayist, writer.

"Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable."    - Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95); French poet, fabulist.

"Try and vary your methods as you will; your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul are revealed by your actions."    - Agatha Christie (1891-1976); British writer.

"A new friendship emerges from the womb of courtesy thus."    - Pokey the Penguin; Arctic Philosopher.

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them."    - Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1914); Bengali writer.

"I toast to chivalry, and to the demise of all male scum. I'll be damned if I'm going to go down quietly."    - Captain Drewbie, swashbuckling troubadour of the high seas.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."    - C.S. Lewis (1898-1963); Irish scholar, writer.

"Cold words will break a fine heart as winter's first frost does a crystal vase. A false friend is like the shadow on a sundial which appears in very fine weather but vanishes at the approach of a cloud."    - Vikram Seth, Indian-born American writer.

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him."    - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882); American author and poet.

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him, his own. "    - Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881); English statesman and author.

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. "    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832); German writer.

"Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none."    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790); American renaissance man.

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."    - Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948); Indian humanitarian.

"In all the universe there is nothing so fine as a friend."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

On Love and Passion

"The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart."    - W. B. Yeats (1865-1939); Irish poet, playwright.

"May we always be alert to what the ones we care for need, want, and desire. We live our lives in a constant state of readiness to please those that mean the world to us, and we deserve to enjoy the pleasures that they receive from our selfless nature."    - Captain Drewbie, swashbuckling troubadour of the high seas.

"Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty; it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect and unlimited, where its votaries live in confidence, equality and reserve."    - Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822); British romantic poet.

"Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretense of keeping it alive."    - H. Havelock Ellis (1868-1935); British psychologist, writer.

"The jealous are possessed by a mad devil and a dull spirit at the same time."    - Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801); Swiss theologian, poet.

"Friendship may, and often does, grow into love; but love never subsides into friendship."    - Lord Byron (1788-1824); British romantic poet.

On Mind and Intellect

"Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last."    - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784); English author.

"Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve."    - Erich Fromm (1900-1980); American psychologist.

"A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial."    - Clifton Fadiman; American radio performer, author.

"Perceptual time is anisotropic. Spans which appear long when viewed in the forward direction appear short if viewed backward, and likewise those seeming short ahead seem long behind."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem."    - John Galsworthy (1867-1933); British writer.

"Doing easily what others find is difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius."    - Henri Frederic Amiel (1821 - 1881) Swiss writer.

On Truth and Epistemology

"The only certainty is that nothing is certain."    - Pliny The Elder (c. 23-79), Roman scholar.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."    - Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963) English novelist, critic.

"The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions."    - Claude Levi-Strauss (b. 1908); French anthropologist.

"It is by intuition that we discover and by logic that we prove."    - Henri Poincaré (1854-1912); French mathematician.

"Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced--even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it."    - John Keats (1795-1821); English poet.

"Whenever, therefore, people are deceived... it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth."    - Socrates (469-399 BCE); Greek philosopher.

"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."    - Oscar Wilde (1856 - 1900); Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist.

"Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth."   - Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Roman orator, philosopher.

On Knowledge and Wisdom

"The alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar of wisdom were all completed millennia ago. All that remains is for us to write great works."    - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Genuinely good remarks surprise their author as well as his audience."    - Joseph Joubert (1754 - 1824) French essayist, moralist.

"Cunning... is but the low mimic of wisdom."    - Henry St. John Bolingbroke (1678 - 1751) English statesman.

"While we teach, we learn."    - Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (5 BCE-65 CE); Roman philosopher.

"To be a good teacher is a difficult matter. One must be able to impart knowledge without making the student feel that she lacks it."   - Aravin Duraikannan, Canadian futurist.

"Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more."    - William Cowper (1731-1800); English poet.

"The important thing is not to listen to what other people say, but find out what they think."    - Juan Donoso Cortés (1809-1853); Spanish diplomat, essayist.

"The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss."    - Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471); German monk.

"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."    - Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881); English statesman and author.

"Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it."    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955); German-born American physicist.

"Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it."    - Confucious (551-479 BCE); Chinese philosopher.

"Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age."    - Aristotle (384-322 BCE); Greek philosopher.

"It is never too late to learn what is always necessary to know."    - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC - 65AD); Roman philosopher and statesman.