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 Q - Quotations - P



"Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt."
   (Dr. Johnson)

"Only one who is in pain really senses nothing but himself; pleasure does not enjoy itself but something besides itself. Pain is the only inner sense found by introspection which can rival in independence from experienced objects the self-evident certainties of logical and arithmetical reasoning."
   (Hanna Arendt)

"The same suffering is much harder to bear for a high motive than for a base one. The people who stood motionless, from one to eight in the morning, for the sake of having an egg, would have found it difficult to do in order to save a human life.
   (Simone Weil)

"The preponderance of pain over pleasure is the cause of our fictitious morality and religion."


"I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all."
   (W.S. Gilbert )


"His passions make man live; his wisdom merely makes him last."

"All passions exaggerate: it is because they do that they are passions."

"There is nothing that fear or hope does not make men believe."

"Our actions are neither so good nor so evil as our impules."

"Passions tyrranize over mankind, but ambition keeps all the others in check."
   (La Bruyère)

"Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind will blow out a candle, and blow in a fire."
   (La Rochefoucauld)


"Peu de personnes peuvent aimer un Philosophe. C'est presque un ennemi public qu'un homme qui, dans les différentes prétentions des hommes, et dans les mesonge des choses, dit à chaque homme et à chaque chose: "Je ne te prends que pour ce que tu es: et je ne t'apprécie que ce que tu vaux." Et ce n'est pas une petite entreprise de se fair aimer et estimer avec l'annonce de ce ferme propos."

"La meilleure Philosophie, rélativement au monde, est d'allier, à son régard, le sarcasme de gaité avec l'indulgence du mépris."

"La Philosophie, ainsi que le Médicine, a beaucoup de drogues, très peu de bons remèdes, et presque point des spécifiques."

"Thought provides consolation for everything and remedies for everything. If ever it hurts you, ask it to heal the injiry it has done you, and it will do it."

"What is a philosopher? He is a man who opposes nature with law, custom with reason, opinion with conscience, and error with his judgement."


"Die Politik ist keine exakte Wissenschaft."

"Politics is a deleterious profession, like some poisonous handicrafts. Men in power have no opinions, but may be had cheap for any opinion, for any purpose."
   (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Conduct of Life)

"Politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage."
   (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary)

"Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invection for documentation than in politics. That is a realm, peopled only by villains and heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color."
   (John Mason Brown, Through These Men)

"Politicians neither love nor hate. Interest, not sentiment, directs them."
   (Lord Chesterfield)

"In politics there is no honour."
   (Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey)

"In politics nothing is contemptible."

"Politics is the science of who gets what, when, and why."
   (Sidney Hillman, Political Primer for All Americans)

"You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest."
   (Louis McHenry Howe, Address)

"Politics is such a torment that I would advise every one I love not to mix with it."
   (Thomas Jefferson, To Martha Jefferson Randolph)

"There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel."
   (V. I. Lenin)

"Public office is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
   (Boies Penrose)

"Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruptions."
   (Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on various subjects)

"An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public."

"Man is by nature a political animal."

"Ignorance, which seats itself in the chair of knowledge, is a mother of revolutions in politics (..)"
   (De Morgan)

"Nothing doth more wrong in a state than that cunning men pass for wise."


"Life does not agree with philosophy: there is no happiness that is not idleness, and only what is useless is pleasurable."


"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime."
   (Aristotle, Politics, book 2)

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of."
   (Confucius, Analects)


"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
   (Lord Acton)

"Want of principles is power. Truth and honesty act as a limit to our efforts, which impudence and hypocrisy easily overlap."
   (Hazlitt, Characteristics)

"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves."
    (Hazlitt, Political Essays)

"Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,
A mechanical automaton."
   (Shelley, Queen Mab, III)


"I am not thinking of those shining precepts which are the registered property of every school; - that is to say; learn by writing as much as by reading; be not content with the best book; seek sidelights from the others; have no favourites; keep men and things apart; guard against the prestige of great names; see that your judgments are your own; and do not shrink from disagreement; no trusting without testing; be more severe to ideas than to actions; do not overlook the strength of the bad cause or the weakness of the good; never be surprised by the crumbling of an idol or the disclosure of a skeleton; judge talent at its best and character at its worst; suspect power more than vice,  and study problems in preference to periods."
   (Lord Acton)


"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that."


"Probability is the very guide to life."
   (Bishop Butler)

"Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge."
   (O.W. Holmes, Jr.)

"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises."
   (Samuel Butler II)

"The actual science of logic is conversant at present only with things either certain,impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have to reason on. Therefore the true logic for this world is the calculus of Probabilities, which takes account of the magnitude of the probability which is, or ought to be, in a reasonable man's mind."
   (James Clerk Maxwell, quoted by E.T. Jaynes)

"Probability theory is nothing but common sense reduced to calculation."
   (Laplace, quoted by E.T. Jaynes)


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