Quotations

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – 1989 film Dead Poets Society

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” —Chief Seattle

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent, moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience…. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason.” – C.S.Lewis  “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” God in the Dock

“Like all dreamers, I confused disenchantment with truth.” –
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.” – Soren Kierkegaard

 “somebody needs to tell young people, listen, I did this and I did that. You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

More by Maya Angelou – from an interview with The Teen Talking Circle Project:

Linda: After all you’ve been through, including being raped as a child, how did you continue to have good feelings for yourself, to like yourself?

Dr. Angelou: I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, “Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,” that’s all. So you say to people you think you may have injured, “I’m sorry,” and then you say to yourself, “I’m sorry.” If we hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. 

Truth, Lies, Propaganda and Brainwashing

  • “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
  • “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain
  • “Only the true Messiah would deny His own Divinity!” – Monty Python, The Life of Brian, and true believer syndrome
  • “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” — Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
  • “Now, get seven million five hundred thousand votes to declare that two and two make five, that the straight line is the longest road, that the whole is less than its part; get it declared by eight millions, by ten millions, by a hundred millions of votes, you will not have advanced a step.” – Victor Hugo
  • “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed.” – Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity” – Dale Carnegie
  • “Never for a moment do we lay aside our mistrust of the ideals established by society, and of the convictions which are kept by it in circulation. We always know that society is full of folly and will deceive us in the matter of humanity.” – Albert Schweitzer

 The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis (a favourite)

“You see? When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can only tell me it is like the lamp. Your sun is like a dream; and there is nothing in that dream that was not copied from the lamp. The lamp is the real thing; the sun is but a tale, a children’s story.” “Yes, I see now”, said Jill in a heavy, hopeless tone. “It must be so.” And while she said this, it seemed to her to be very good sense. Slowly and gravely the Witch repeated, “There is no sun”. And they all said nothing. She repeated, in a softer and deeper voice “There is no sun”. After a pause, and after a struggle in their minds, all four of them said together, “You are right. There is no sun.” It was such a relief to give in and say it…

…”One word, Ma’am” he said coming back from the fire; limping because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” –  Puddleglum

Ecclesiastes 9:11

  • I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.
  • For man also doesn’t know his time. As the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
  • Now a poor wise man was found in it, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 
  • Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.