Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 Q - Quotations - B



"The epithet beautiful is used by surgeons to describe operations which the patients describe as ghastly, by physicists to describe methods of measurement which leave sentimentalists cold, by lawyers to describe cases which ruin all parties to them, and by lovers to describe the objects of their infatuation, however unattractive they may appear to the unaffected spectator."

"Beauty - the adjustment of all parts proportionally so one cannot add or subtract or change without impairing the harmony of the whole."

"An ass is beautiful to an ass, and a pig is beautiful to a pig."


"Nisi credideritis, non intelligitis."
   (St. Augustine)

"Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand."

"There is no philosopher in the world but he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates."

"With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another."

"I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether the things are so."

"Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known."

"Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment."

"A belief is not true because it is useful."

"The race of men, while sheep in credulity, are wolves in conformity."
   (Van Doren)

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies."

"The longer I live the more obvious it is to me that the most sacred act of a man's life is to say and feel "I believe such and such and such to be true"".
   (T.H. Huxley)

"Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad."

"Belief is desecrated when given to unproved and unquestioned statements for the solace and private pleasure of the believer... It is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."
   (W. James, also quoting W. Clifford)

"Man is what he believes."

"Generally the theories we believe we call facts, and the facts we disbelieve we call theories."
   (F. Cohen)

"The essence of belief is the establishment of a habit."


"Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based."

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."
   (Thomas Paine)

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

"The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature."

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."

"No man who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible."
   (Matthew Arnold)

"When the white man came we had the land and they had the Bibles; now they have the land and we have the Bibles."
   (Chief Dan George)


"Book love ... is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for His creatures."

"The French are fond of reading as well as of talking. You may constantly see girls tending an apple-stall in the coldest day in winter, and reading Voltaire or Racine. Such a thing was never known in London as a barrow-woman reading Shakespear. Yet we talk of our widespread civilization, and ample provisions for the education of the poor."
   (Hazlitt, Characteristics)

"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

"These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart."

"My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out,"
   (Dylan Thomas)

"Show me the books he loves and I shall know
 The man far better than through mortal friends."
   (W. Mitchell)

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage of the man who can't read them."
   (Mark Twain)

"When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."

"In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read... It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."

"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting."
   (A. Huxley)

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."


"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies."

"When a man has cast his longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct."

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