Some of Nonjohn's Favorite Quotations

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Andy Dufresne (character played by Tim Robbins in the 1994 movie, "The Shawshank Redemption"):

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (page 75):

“I don’t talk things, sir,” said Faber.  “I talk the meaning of things.  I sit here and know I’m alive.”

James P. Carse:

"There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play."

"Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries."

"Finite players are serious; infinite games are playful."

"A finite player plays to be powerful; an infinite player plays with strength."

"A finite player consumes time; an infinite player generates time."

"The finite player aims for eternal life; the infinite player aims for eternal birth."

-- (in his book, "Finite and Infinite Games")

Donald Kaufman (character played by Nicolas Cage in the 2002 movie, "Adaptation"):

"You are what you love, not what loves you."

Charlotte Joko Beck:

"How do we place our cushions?  How do we brush our teeth?  How do we sweep the floor, or slice a carrot?  We think that we are here to deal with more important issues, such as problems with our partners, our jobs, our health, and the like.  We don't want to bother with the little things, like how we hold our chopsticks, or where we place our spoons.  Yet these acts are the stuff of our life, moment to moment.  It's not a question of importance, it's a question of paying attention, being aware.  Why?  Because each moment in life is absolute in itself.  That's all there is."

Carl Sagan:

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verses 19-22, The Bible, New International Version:

"Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal.  Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.  Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?  So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot.  For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?"

Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate of Literature, and her son, Slade Morrison:

"How can you say I never worked a day?  Art is work.  It just looks like play."

-- Spoken by the Grasshopper in children's book, "Who's Got Game?  The Ant or the Grasshopper?”

John Steinbeck:

"Texas is a state of mind.  Texas is an obsession.  Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word."

Nadine Strossen, President of the A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union) June, 2003:

“I love comedy and humor -- especially of a political stripe.  I think that humor is a saving grace -- even -- indeed, especially -- about the most serious issues.  The great judge Learned Hand famously observed that "The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right."  In the same vein, we civil libertarians should never take ourselves too seriously!  Consistent with our neutral non-partisanship, we should be able to laugh at everyone -- including even ourselves!  In that spirit, I get a kick out of collecting different slogans that our acronym, "A, C, L, U" can stand for – they’re usually concocted by our anti-civil-libertarian detractors.  I’ve seen everything from, "All criminals love us" to "Always causing legal unrest."  A few years ago, our terrific Washington Communications Director, Phil Gutis, ran a contest on our website, for the best variation on this theme.  My hands-down favorite was, ‘Aw, C’mon, Lighten Up’!”

Carl Sagan:

(commenting on image of Earth as seen from 3.7 billion miles away by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, on 6/6/1990.)

"... Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet.  Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Elbert Hubbard:

"Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive."

New Hampshire State Motto:

"Live Free or Die."

Solomon H. Snyder, Chairman of the Department of Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins:

    "In college I was far better at writing and philosophy than at science, but like many of my friends, I chose to pursue a premedical major; philosophy is hardly a proper vocation for a nice Jewish boy. Although I did not particularly look forward to medical school, I did see it as a vehicle to gain admission to psychiatric residency training, and that is where I had set my sights. In medical school, I eagerly absorbed everything my books and teachers could tell me about the brain, but I approached the rest of my courses perfunctorily at best. One other subject did catch my fancy, however, and that was pharmacology. I found it incredible that simple chemical molecules could bring about such profound changes in the human body, and I was intrigued by the disparity between how drugs were used and what was actually known about them: drugs have long been the primary means of treating most diseases, yet until recently physicians have had little understanding of how most pharmacological agents exerted their therapeutic effects. Needless to say, any drug that affected the brain struck me as being especially interesting."

-- from Drugs and the Brain, Scientific American Library, 1986

Albert Einstein:

    "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

-- From an essay, "The World As I See It", in Forum and Century, Vol. 84, 1931

Albert Einstein:

"Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them."

Mark Twain:

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.”

Sigmund Freud:

    "My impression is that sexual abstinence does not promote the development of energetic, independent men of action, original thinkers or bold innovators and reformers; far more frequently it develops well-behaved weaklings who are subsequently lost in the great multitude."

Arthur Schopenhauer:

“All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed.  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Arthur Schopenhauer:

"Music is the answer to the mystery of life;
it is the most profound of all the arts;
it expresses the deepest thoughts of life and being
in simple language which nonetheless
cannot be translated."

Aldous Huxley:

"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."

James William Fulbright, U.S. Senator from Arkansas:

    "We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless."

Oscar Wilde:

"Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known."

Abraham Harold Maslow, Psychologist:

    "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

"Music is the universal language of mankind."

Gavril Romanovich Derzhavin, Russian poet:

"I am a czar -- a slave, I am a worm -- a god."

D. W. Griffith:
"When women cease to attract men they often turn to reform as a second choice."

from a title in Griffith's silent film, "Intolerance," at 1 hour, 17 minutes, 24 seconds into the film

Lily Tomlin:

"Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs."

Lily Tomlin:

"Reality is nothing but a collective hunch."

Lily Tomlin:

"We're all in this alone."

Sir Unveil Fog:

    "Yes. Griseofulvin' is fun. But let us not forget the likely sucralfate of those engaged in unprotected and indiscriminate griseofulvin'."

-- at the 1995 International Safe Sex Symposium

Steven Wright:

"If God dropped acid, would he see people?"

George Carlin:

"Have you noticed? Anyone going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron." 

Charles Schultz:

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It's already tomorrow in Australia."

Will Rogers:

"The trouble with political jokes is that very often they get elected." 

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