MRZ

Quotes

178 posts in this topic

For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.

I knew I was a winner back in the late sixties. I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way - I hope it never will.

My instinct was to win, eliminate anyone who is in competition, destroy my enemy, and move on without any kind of hesitiation at all.

I liked these quotes and thought I'd share them. Anybody else like to share some?

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I liked these quotes and thought I'd share them. Anybody else like to share some?

Great idea for a thread, MRZ.

Here is a quote from Albert Einstein that I particularly enjoy.

In Mach's time a dogmatic materialistic point of view exerted a harmful influence over everything; in the same way today, the subjective and positivistic point of view exerts too strong an influence. The necessity of conceiving of nature as an objective reality is said to be superannuated prejudice while the quanta theoreticians are vaunted.  Men are even more susceptible to suggestions than horses, and each period is dominated by a mood, with the result that most men fail to see the tyrant who rules over them. (Letter to Maurice Solovine, dated April 10, 1938, Letters to Solovine: 1906-1955, Citadel Press, p. 85, 1993.)

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I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

- Thomas Jefferson

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Here are two less well known ones from Rudolph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, which I just came across in Klemm's A History of Western Technology:

  An invention consists of two parts: the idea and the execution.

  How does the idea originate?

  It may be that it sometimes emerges like a flash of lightening; but usually after laborious searching it will hatch itself out of innumerable errors; and by comparative study will gradually separate the essential from the non-essential, and will slowly permeate the senses with ever greater clarity, until at last it becomes a clear mental picture.  The idea itself originates neither from theory, nor deduction, but by intuition.  Science is merely the means of investigating and proving, but is not the creator of the idea.

  But even when the idea has been scientifically established, the invention is not yet complete.  Only when Nature herself has given an affirmative reply to the question, which the test has put to her, is the invention completed.

and
  The carrying out is the time for preparing all the means that will assist in the realization of the idea; still creative, still happy, the time when natural obstacles are overcome; from which one emerges steeled and exalted even when beaten.

  The introduction is a time of struggle against stupidity and envy, apathy and evil, secret opposition and open conflict of interests, the horrible period of struggle with man, a martyrdom even if success ensues.

  Invention then involves carrying to practical success through innumerable failures and compromises a sound basic idea born of a great number of errors.

  Therefore every inventory must be an optimist.  The force of the idea only exercises its influence in the single soul of the originator; only he has within him the holy fire to carry it through.

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The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.

These words were first published in print in 1903[*], two years before Einstein's special relativity and quantum papers created a revolution in physics. Michelson was a brilliant experimentalist, but, obviously, a rather poor prognosticator!

[*]A. A.Michelson, Light Waves and Their Uses, The University of Chicago Press, 1903, but first spoken by Michelson in a series of eight lectures he gave in 1899 at the Lowell Institute.

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These words were first published in print in 1903[*], two years before Einstein's special relativity and quantum papers created a revolution in physics. Michelson was a brilliant experimentalist, but, obviously, a rather poor prognosticator!

[*]A. A.Michelson, Light Waves and Their Uses, The University of Chicago Press, 1903, but first spoken by Michelson in a series of eight lectures he gave in 1899 at the Lowell Institute.

;)

Here are some by Richard Feynman:

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

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool.

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?

There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!

I remember Stephen saying somewhere that Richard Feynman was brilliant and had a fantastic sense-of-life. Having read his autobiography (it's been a long time, though), I couldn't agree more. :D

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In retrospect Michelson's view is absurd, but that outlook has long been very common at least amongst students wondering what is left for them to do in the future -- so much has been discovered and invented that it can seem as if there is nothing left. It is true that much has been done, especially in the last one or two centuries in which progress has been so incredibly dramatic, but you can't compare that with what you can't see only because it hasn't happened yet -- when you eventually can see it, the view will be in retrospect just as absurd as Michelson's quote. Today's students should be sure to be well aware of the fallacy. I think I have seen whole collections of quotes similar to Michelson's, but don't remember where. Michelson's and the rest are an important object lesson.

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Over the years I have come to enjoy this Max Planck quote more and more.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. (Max Planck, Scientific autobiography, and other papers, Translated from German by Frank Gaynor, Philosophical Library, 1949.)

For those who may not be aware, Max Planck was the first prominent physicist to recognize the genius in Einstein's 1905 relativity paper.

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A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

That actually reminds me of a funny quotation I heard that was something on the order of "Physics advances one funeral at a time...."

Now for my two favorite quotations:

What is the happy life?  Self-sufficiency and abiding tranquility.  This is the gift of greatness of soul, the gift of constancy which perseveres in a course judged right. (Seneca, The Happy Life)
"Why do many misfortunes fall to the lot of good men?"  It is not possible that any evil can befall a good man...the assaults of adversity do not affect the spirit of a stalwart man.  He maintains his poise and assimilates all that falls to his lot to his own complexion, for he is more potent than the world without.  I do not maintain that he is insensible to externals, but that he overcomes them; unperturbed and serene, he rises to meet every sally.  all adversity he regards as exercise. (Seneca, On Providence)

;)

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Over the years I have come to enjoy this Max Planck quote more and more.

For those who may not be aware, Max Planck was the first prominent physicist to recognize the genius in Einstein's 1905 relativity paper.

That's another reason to be optimistic about Objectivism, too.

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This quote appears on the first page of Ayn Rand Answers, and is her answer to the question of what she thinks will happen when she dies. Her answer is at once a dismissal of mysticism, and a statement of what is of lasting significance about her life. Her last sentence is one I find myself thinking of quite a lot lately. Indeed, history has already shown it to be true.

I assume I'll be buried.  I don't believe in mysticism or life after death.  This doesn't mean I believe man's mind is necessarily materialistic; but neither is it mystical.  We know that we have a mind and a body, and that neither can exist without the other.  Therefore, when I die, that will be the end of me.

I don't think it will be the end of my philosophy.

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...

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. (Max Planck, Scientific autobiography, and other papers, Translated from German by Frank Gaynor, Philosophical Library, 1949.)

...

I like that one. When you posted it, I immediately thought of the spread of Objectivism today and in the future. I think the quote applies perfectly. Because spreading Objectivism, too, doesn't require convincing its opponents, many of whom are carrying a lifetime of false intellectual baggage. (They are "dead-enders", who don't get it, don't want to, and never will.) Rather, it depends on reaching a new generation of thinkers, and slowly making the culture at large familiar with the philosophy.

And it's one of ARI's great strengths today that they seem to be acting in accordance with this idea, if one considers their programs such as essay contests, the OAC, campus clubs, and helping Objectivist professors get established.

That's the way to fight an intellectual battle. Reach the people who want to learn, who are eager for the future. The dead-enders can be left to their own devices. Because when they die, it will be the end of their ideas.

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The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.

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One of my favorite quotes of all time, Aristotle in Rhetoric, I, 1:

It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.

Another quote, by Leonardo da Vinci, that's also incredibly true:

Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

And finally, by our very own Washington:

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow grow, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

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Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.

Thomas Jefferson advising his daughter Martha, 1787.

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“ The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham

breakfast -- the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed’ ”.

—Anonymous Sage

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I collect quotes, so I have lots. I'll begin with my latest addition:

Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me.

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Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

- Aristotle

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I just added one I heard from a movie, V for Vendetta (which I'd rather not endorse). However, this quote comes from Faust, and is in Latin...and is something I find quite enjoyable!

"Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici"

"By the power of Truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."

-Faust

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It is not the critic who counts, nor the person who points out how the strong person stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is actually marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows great enthusiasm and great devotions, whose life is spent in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and at worst, if failure wins out, it at least wins with greatness, so that this person's place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

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Good man :). Reminds me of another good quote from TR.

"The Roman Republic fell, not because of the ambition of Caesar or Augustus, but because it had already long ceased to be in any real sense a republic at all. When the sturdy Roman plebeian, who lived by his own labor, who voted without reward according to his own convictions, and who with his fellows formed in war the terrible Roman legion, had been changed into an idle creature who craved nothing in life save the gratification of a thirst vapid excitement, who was fed by the state, and who directly or indirectly sold his vote to the highest bidder, then the end of the republic was at hand, and nothing could save it. The laws were the same as they had been, but the people behind the laws had changed, and so the laws counted nothing."

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I collect quotes, so I have lots. I'll begin with my latest addition:
Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me.

Nice one. I hope you continue to share your collection with us.

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