I can doubt everything, except one thing, and that is the very fact that I doubt. Simply put - I think, therefore I am

- Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650) Cartesian, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum... The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum---"I think that I think, therefore I think that I am"; as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made. - Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reaches us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities. - Kahlil Gibran The secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that, a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten, men who never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought. The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. - Richard M. Nixon Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. - George Bernard Shaw The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress, therefore, depends upon the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

        - Jonathan Swift

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

- Abraham Lincoln Greatness is never appreciated in youth, called pride in midlife; it is dismissed in old age and reconsidered in death because we cannot tolerate greatness in our midst, we do all we can to destroy it.

        - Lady Morella, in "Babylon 5"

It's too bad I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few people like that.

- Alan Alda Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. - Longfellow, A Psalm of Life This knowledge I pursure is the finest pleasure I have ever known. I could no sooner give it up that I could the very air that I breath. Mankind must work continually to produce individual great human beings - this and nothing else is the task... for the question is this : How can your life, the individual life, retain the highest value, the deepest significance? Only by living for the good of the rarest and most valuable specimens. - Friedrich Nietzsche We grant, although he had much wit, he was very shy of using it. - Samuel Butler , "Hudibras, 1.1" A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself. - Robert Burton (1577-1640) There is something much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability. - Robert Half These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed... Great necessities call out great virtues. - Abigail Adams, 19 January 1780 Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought. - Albert Szent-Gyorgi Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas. - Unknown Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. - Albert Einstein We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki There is a curious thing that one feels sometimes. When you are considering a subject, suddenly a whole train of reasoning comes before you like a flash of light. You see it all, yet it takes you perhaps two hours to put on paper all that has occured to your mind in an instant. Every part of the subject, the bearings of all its parts upon each other, and all the consequences are there before you.
        - The Duke of Wellington

Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.

- Henri-Frederic Amiel Superior ability breeds superior ambition. - Spock, "Space Seed", Star Trek Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius. - Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Valley Of Fear" Be great in act, as you have been in thought. - William Shakespeare Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can. - Owen Meredith We owe most of what we know to about one hundred men - R.W. Dickson Time, place, and action may with pains be wrought, - but genius must be born; and can never be taught. - John Congreve #

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
Thin partitions do their bounds divide.

- John Dryden , "Absalom & Achitophel" Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence. - Henrik Tikkanen Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. - Confucius, Analects Some faults are so closely allied to qualities that it is difficult to weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.

        - Oliver Goldsmith

Inarticulate wretches have been behind most of the major advances in civilization. If Vincent Van Gogh had been able to get on with his neighbours, then he might have become an excellent painter-decorator, and received a big turn out at his funeral, and that would be that. But the genes wouldn't let him.

- Declan Lynch, The Irish Independent "Geniuses of certain kinds - mathematicians, chess players, computer programmers - seem, if not mad, at least lacking in the social skills most easily identified with sanity." - James Gleick "If there's anything the Institute has too much of already, it's concord and placidity. There's no tension on the premises, no crackle in the air, no sense at all that there are mad geniuses lurking about. "
"I wish we had more crazy people here," - Ed Regis, "Who Got Einstein's Office?" To create a community of radical scholars, men and women who recognize that rules and social conventions are arbitrary, but have mastered them nonetheless, a community which shares such a scorn and disrespect for the present society that it can embrace the whole bundle of rules and subvert them thereby, that should be our goal. - Howard Adelman, "In Search of a University", The University Game #

The higher we soar, the smaller we seem to those who cannot fly

- Friedrich Nietzsche. You could say this of him - he had the right enemies - Anon When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that all the dunces are all in confederacy against him. - Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. The great creators - the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors - stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible... But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won. - Ayn Rand, "For the new Intellectual" Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. - William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night" He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous. - Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar" I always consider being described as human an insult. - Sam Marshall It is a love/hate relationship I have with the human race. I am an elitist, and I feel that my responsibility is to drag the human race along with me, that I will never pander to, or speak down to, or play the safe game.

        - Harlan Ellison


"How many Zen masters does it take to change a light bulb?":
"A tree in the golden forest."

- Kalle Mikkola. Dreaming permits each and everyone of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. - Charles William Dement. Only in their dreams can men be free. It was always thus, and always thus will be. - Keating The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. - William Feather We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare, "The Tempest" All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom In dreams begin responsibility. - William Butler Yeats  In the theatre that I call my soul, I always play the starring role.  - The Police, "So Lonely" Once I dreamed I was a butterful, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterful dreaming that I am Chuang Tzu. - Chuang Tzu Some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze andstone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horsesalong the edges of thick forests, and then we know that we have looked backthrough the ivory gates into that world of wonder that was ours, before we were wise and unhappy. - H.P. Lovecraft, "Celephais" *

Return to Quotes index, or Site homepage.