Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                         

 Q - Quotations - A



"Particular talent or genius does not imply general capacity. Those who are most versatile are seldom great in any one department: and the stupidest people can generally do something. The highest pre-eminence in any one study commonly arises from the concentration of the attention and faculties on that one study. He who expects from a great name in politics, in philosophy, in art, equal greatness in other things, is little versed in human nature."
   (Hazlitt, Characteristics)

"Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability."

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

"Men take only their needs into consideration - never their abillities."

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
   (Theodore Roosevelt)

"Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning and study"
   (F. Bacon)


"If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."


"Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action for all eternity"

"And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last."

"However brilliant an action it should be not esteemed great unless the result of a great motive."
   (La Rochefoucauld)

"Although men flatter themselves with their great actions, they are usually the result of chance and not of design."
(La Rochefoucauld)

"The motive for a deed usually changes during its performance: at least, after the deed has been done, it seems quite different.

"Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism and doubt."

"For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will."

"To do nothing is in every man's power."
   (Dr. Johnson)


"Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."

"Old people love to give good advice; it compensates them for their inablity to set a bad example."

"If you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, you don't need advice."

"Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?"
   (Bible - Job)


"Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe."
   (T.H. Huxley)

"The agnostic's prayer: "O God, if there is a god, save my soul, if I have a soul."

"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't."


"Anger is never without an argument, but seldom with a good one."

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it."
   (Marcus Aurelius)

"Speak when you're angry - and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret."


"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

"The hen is an egg's way of producing another egg."
   (Samuel Butler)

"All animals except man know that the ultimate end of life is to enjoy it."
   (Samuel Butler)

"If modern civilized man had to kill the animals he eats, the number of vegetarians would rise astronomically."

"We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals."
   (Heinrich Himmler)

"I tend to be suspicious of people whose love of animals is exaggerated; they are often frustrated in their relationships with humans."

"[Being] good to animals ... the bad man's invariable characteristic."
   (R.W. Chambers)

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beasts."
   (Bible - Proverbs)


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity."

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality."

"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings."
   (Helen Keller)

"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up for me."


"It is as useless to argue with those who have renounced the use of
reason as to administer medication to the dead."
   (Thomas Jefferson)

"There are two sides to every argument, until you take one."

"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no evidence either way."

"It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them."

"Silence is one of the hardest things to refute."

"How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms."

"When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff."

"If you can't convince them, confuse them."


"Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult."

"Abstract Art: A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered."
   (Al Capp)

"Art for art's sake makes no more sense than gin for gin's sake."

"Bad artists always admire each others' work."

"One reassuring thing about modern art is that things can't be as bad as they are painted."

"A man paints with his brain and not with his hands."


"An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support."
   (Lord Tweedsmuir)

"I was a freethinker before I knew how to think."

"The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own."

"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth man's minds about to religion."


 Original: Mar 26, 2005                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top