Quotes

Civilization:

"It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." - Irish Proverb

One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” - Lamarck (1817)

(See Genesis: The Evolution of Biology, by Jan Sapp, p. 274, fn. 14; quoting from Lamark's writings)

"Lastly, I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races [Chuck was a tad-bit racist eh?] will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world." - Charles Darwin (1881)

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Mayr, from the point of view of a biologist, argued that it's very unlikely that we'll find any [extraterrestrial intelligence]. And his reason was, he said, we have exactly one example: Earth. So let's take a look at Earth. And what he basically argued is that intelligence is a kind of lethal mutation ... you're just not going to find intelligent life elsewhere, and you probably won't find it here for very long either because it's just a lethal mutation" - Dr. Noam Chomsky paraphrasing Dr. Ernst Mayr

"It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." -Voltaire

"History repeats itself, and that's one of the things that's wrong with history." - Clarence Darrow

"I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.
...
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Jiddu Krishnamurti

"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." - A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee

"One thing is for sure on the subject of global warming induced climate change: if there was ever a time to err on the safe side, it was long ago." - Dredd

"Concerning graphs of climate change and sea level change, the truth is in the trend line, not in the facts of the seesaw / sawtooth pattern." - Dredd

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Mahatma Gandhi

"This latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted. One key point that jumps out and captures the overall picture is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970. Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril." - Living Planet Report 2014

"What makes a masterpiece are the following: A love of life and nature; an interest in, mingled with contempt for humanity; and a lack of belief in the idea of progress." - Cyril Connolly

"As a civilization degenerates, its wisdom becomes 'the obvious', its history becomes its vision, and finally its vision becomes revisionism." - Dredd

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." - Kurt Vonnegut

"Human civilization in general rejected renewable energy long ago, when it was utterly abundant, universal, and so cheap it was almost free." - Dredd

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”—George Orwell

Forefathers / U.S.
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both.

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.


Those truths are well established." - James Madison

Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

"Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people." - Thomas Jefferson

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal except negroes.’ When the Know-nothings get control, it will read, ‘all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty–to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” -Abraham Lincoln, letter to Joshua F. Speed, Aug. 24, 1855

Groups of various sorts:
"I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilized society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness." - Sigmund Freud

"Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this --hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension." - Sigmund Freud

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

"The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other." -Will Rogers

"Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary." - D.S. Wilson and E.O. Wilson

"Birds born in cages think that flying is a disease." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

Knowledge / Epistemology
"Events in my life caused me to start questioning my goals and the correctness of everything I had learned. In matters of religion, medicine, biology, physics, and other fields, I came to discover that reality differed seriously from what I had been taught. As a result of this questioning process, I was startled to realize how much of my "knowledge" was indeed questionable." - Dr. Thomas C Van Flandern

"Clathrate mind: a brain captivated within a cage of cultural bars, taboos, denial, ignorance, and fear." - Dredd

"The list of things I believe, though I have no evidence for the truth of them, is, if not infinite, virtually endless. And I am finite. Though I can readily imagine what I would have to do to obtain the evidence that would support any one of my beliefs, I cannot imagine being able to do this for all of my beliefs. I believe too much; there is too much relevant evidence (much of it available only after extensive, specialized training); intellect is too small and life too short." - John Hardwick

Those who possess wisdom cannot just ladle it out to every wantwit and jackanapes who comes along and asks for it. A person must be prepared to receive wisdom, or else it will do him more harm than good. Moreover, a lout thrashing about in the clear waters of wisdom will dirty those waters for everyone else.” ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein

"You can only understand what the neural circuitry in your brain allows you to understand ... you can't understand just anything ... and this particularly is the case in political reasoning ... but it's true in many other things as well." - George Lakoff

"Truth is never the fault of the messenger." -Dredd

"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain

"Give yourself time to think." - Nicholas Shackleton (h/t Professor Mitrovica)

"The minutia militia is always majoring in the minors." - Dredd

"Every great scientific truth goes through three phases: first, people deny it; second, they say it conflicts with the Bible; third, they say they knew it all along." - Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Happiness
"Live long and proper." - Dredd

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life." -George Bernard Shaw

"The five stages of denial: first, second, third, fourth, and last." - Dredd

"Happiness is something you take with you when you go somewhere, it is not something you go somewhere to get." - Dredd

"Wrongs do not determine what is right, rights determine what is wrong." - Dredd

Miscellaneous
"Scientists have discovered that 'the present' has always existed, but some of them are not sure about 'the past' and 'the future'." -Dredd

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein

"That depends on the quality of both the science and the religion." - Dredd

"The First Law of 'When': the more critical an issue is to the future of our civilization, the difficulty of determining when that critical issue will take effect tends to increase exponentially.

The Second Law of 'When': the greater the amount of time it takes for that critical issue to play out completely tends to exponentially diminish Civilization's grasp of that critical issue.

The Third Law of 'When': the more destructive the impact which that critical issue would have on civilization tends to exponentially increase the time when that critical event will be understood to have begun to take place." - Dredd

"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love." -Butch Hancock

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” – Claud Cockburn

The degree of vehemence used to officially deny something is highly informative as to the veracity of what is being denied.” – Dredd

"On a finite planet, the only way a finite resource such as oil can become infinite is through propaganda." - Dredd

"In a valid nomenclature no two words can have the same meaning." - Dredd

There is a great deal of human nature in people.” - Mark Twain

"Perfection is always just out of reach, but keep on reaching." - Dredd

"A friendly culture of mine was bewildered by her shrink who suggested that to cure her mental illness she should have an election." - Dredd

Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.” - Woody Allen