Worthwhile words

Why this is up here? Look to Francois Clemmons on his interaction with Fred Rogers. Simple human interactions are the building blocks of society. It requires that all parties work together, because all distinctions between them are arbitrary and only serve to facilitate meaningful work. You are okay as a human being: if you are reading this, I am proud of you. These quotes are here because words have power and these collections of words might inspire. I know that they did for me.

Note many of these came from Mathpages. I kept the ones that resounded with me most. There is a great pair omitted with Einstein and Besso worth looking at.

  • "If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth." - P. C. Hodgell

  • The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self. - Fred Rogers

  • If you knew how quickly people forget the dead you would stop living to impress people. -Unknown

  • There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Hope is passion for what is possible. - Søren Kierkegaard

  • Don't get cynical, don't you ever think you can't make a difference. - Barack Obama.

  • No day shall erase you from the memory of time,"- Virgil

    • "nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo."

  • How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world- Anne Frank

  • “A true thing, poorly expressed, is a lie.” - Stephen Fry

  • "If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong." - Richard Feynmann

    • Past has a vote, not a veto

    • Not my monkey, not my zoo

    • Wound, Scar, Reminder of Love

    • (Alone and Forsaken) By Fate and by Man

    • Turn the crank for frank

    • never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction

Le savant doit ordonner ; on fait la science avec des faits comme une maison avec des pierres ; mais une accumulation de faits n'est pas plus une science qu'un tas de pierres n'est une maison.

The Scientist must set in order. Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.

Ch. IX: Hypotheses in Physics, Tr. George Bruce Halsted (1913)

Laplace Again


Astra inclinant, sed non obligant. The stars incline us, they do not bind us.

Aut cum scuto aut in scuto. Either with shield or on shield

Igne Natura Renovatur Integra Through fire, nature is reborn whole

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.

"Ex nihilo nihil fit" From nothing nothing comes

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. - Feynmann, 1986

No need for stories, it was not one

Why can't somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks? Oliver Wendell Holmes

Everything of importance has been said before, by someone who did not discover it. Alfred North Whitehead

And Lucy, dear child, mind your arithmetic... What would life be without arithmetic, but a scene of horrors? Syndey Smith, 1835

There was more imagination in the head of Archimedes than in that of Homer. Voltaire

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite. Paul Dirac

To Thales the primary question was not 'What do we know?' but 'How do we know it?'. Aristotle

If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger? Thomas Henry Huxley, 1877

I never came across one of Laplace's "Thus it plainly appears" without feeling sure that I had hours of hard work before me to fill up the chasm and find out how it plainly appears. Nathanial Bodwitch, 1838

Ignorance is always ready to admire itself. Procure yourself critical friends. Nicolas Boileau, 1674

I do not see, Sir, that it is reasonable for a man to be angry at another, whom a woman has preferred to him; but angry he is, no doubt; and he is loath to be angry at himself. Samuel Johnson, 1763

The mind of man is more intuitive than logical, and comprehends more than it can coordinate. Vauvenargues, 1746

Never express yourself more clearly than you think. Niels Bohr

The mathematician knows some things, no doubt, but not those things one usually wants to get from him. Albert Einstein

To guess what to keep and what to throw away takes considerable skill. Actually it is probably merely a matter of luck, but it looks as if it takes considerable skill. Richard Feynman, 1965

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it is the only idea we have. Alain, 1908

The vain presumption of understanding everything can have no other basis than never having understood anything. For anyone who had ever experienced just once the perfect understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that of the infinity of other truths he understands nothing. Galileo, 1630

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. Walt Whitman, 1870

Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer. Charles Caleb Colton, 1825

General and abstract ideas are the source of the greatest errors of mankind. Rousseau, 1762

Hope deceives more men than cunning does. Vauvenargues, 1746

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men, who talk in a road, according to the notions and prejudices of their education. John Locke, 1693

I do hate sums. There is no greater mistake than to call arithmetic an exact science. There are hidden laws of number which it requires a mind like mine to perceive. For instance, if you add a sum from the bottom up, and then again from the top down, the result is always different. Mrs. La Touche, 19th c.

The intellectuals' chief cause of anguish are one another's works. Jacques Barzun, 1959

all ignorance toboggans into know and trudges up to ignorance again. e.e.cummings, 1959

The test of interesting people is that subject matter doesn't matter. Louis Kronenberger, 1954

He who serves two masters has to lie to one. Portuguese Proverb

That knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge. Chuang Tzu, 4th c. B.C.

Intelligence is characterized by a natural incomprehension of life. Henri Bergson, 1907

Knowledge is two-fold, and consists not only in the affirmation of what is true, but in the negation of that which is false. Charles Caleb Colton, 1825

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught. Oscar Wilde, 1891

The first mark of intelligence, to be sure, is not to start things; the second mark of intelligence is to pursue to the end what you have started. Panchatantra, c. 5th c.

The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people to sit quietly in their rooms. Blaise Pascal, 1670

The shortest path between two truths in the real domain passes through the complex domain. Jacques Hadamard

Such is the advantage of a well-constructed language that its simplified notation often becomes the source of profound theories. P. S. Laplace

I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also as to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery. Rene Descartes, 1637

There is no excellent beauty that has not some strangeness in the proportion. Francis Bacon

Omitted Einstein and Besso, great pairing of quotes

There wanted not some beams of light to guide men in the exercise of their Stocastick faculty. John Owen, 1662

I should consider that I know nothing about physics if I were able to explain only how things might be, and were unable to demonstrate that they could not be otherwise. Rene Descartes, 1640

The description of right lines and circles, upon which geometry is founded, belongs to mechanics. Geometry does not teach us to draw these lines, but requires them to be drawn. Isaac Newton, 1687

I am coming more and more to the conviction that the necessity of our geometry cannot be demonstrated...geometry should be ranked, not with arithmetic, which is purely aprioristic, but with mechanics. Carl Gauss, 1817

Among the great men who have philosophized about [the action of the tides], the one who surprised me most is Kepler. He was a person of independent genius, [but he] became interested in the action of the moon on the water, and in other occult phenomena, and similar childishness. Galileo, 1632

Taking mathematics from the beginning of the world to the time of Newton, what he has done is much the better half. Gottfried Leibniz, 1688

I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as, 'If you said so, then I said so;' and they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peacemaker; much virtue in If. Shakespeare

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned. Leonardo da Vinci

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