Quotations

Education

  • Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself. ~Edward Gibbon
  • Read much but not many books. ~Benjamin Franklin
  • Genius without education is like silver in the mine. ~Benjamin Franklin
  • Only the educated are free. ~Epictetus
  • Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly and with great diligence and attention. ~Francis Bacon
  • A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. ~Samuel Johnson
  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ~Nelson Mandela
  • Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. ~Charlotte Brontë
  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. ~Abigail Adams


Medicine

  • If your doctor does not think it good for you to sleep, to take wine or some particular meat, do not worry; I will find you another who will disagree with him. ~Michel de Montaigne
  • He had what the doctors termed “bilious fever.” But in spite of the fact that they treated him, bled him and made him swallow drugs—he recovered. ~Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  • “Fiddlesticks,” Father says, “What do doctors know? They make their livings advising people to do whatever they are not doing at the time, which is the extent of anyone’s knowledge of the degenerate ape.” ~William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Were I of Caesar’s religion, I should be of his desires, and rather wish to go off at one blow, then to be sawed in pieces by the grating torture of a disease. Men that look no farther than their outsides, think health an appurtenance unto life, and quarrel with their constitutions for being sick; but I, that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that fabrick hangs, do wonder that we are not always so; and considering the thousand doors that lead to death, do thank my God that we can die but once.
    ~ Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
  • Physicians of the utmost fame
    Were called at once, but when they came
    They answered as they took their fees
    “There is no cure for this disease.” ~Hillaire Belloc
  • Bring not to see me cease to live
    A doctor full of phrase and fame
    To shake his sapient head
    And give the ill he cannot cure a name. ~Matthew Arnold
  • Give me a doctor partridge-plump,
    Short in the leg and broad in the rump,
    An endomorph with gentle hands
    Who’ll never make absurd demands
    That I abandon all my vices
    Nor pull a long face in a crisis,
    But with a twinkle in his eye
    Will tell me that I have to die. ~Wystan Hugh Auden
  • I firmly believe that if the whole material medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind, and all the worse for the fishes. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals. ~ Sir William Osler
  • He’s the best physician who knows the worthlessness of most medicines. ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • If many remedies are prescribed for an illness you can be sure it has no cure. ~ Anton Chekhov

Science

  • Medical science is as yet very imperfectly differentiated from common cure-mongering witchcraft. ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • Medicine cures the diseases of the body; wisdom, on the other hand, relieves the soul of its sufferings. ~ Democritus
  • What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the nature of things? ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. ~Thomas A. Edison
  • The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~Bertrand Russell
  • In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurred. ~ Sir William Osler
  • Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. ~ Thomas A. Edison
  • In the field of observation, luck favors the prepared mind. ~ Louis Pasteur
  • God sent us here to make mistakes. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  • It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all of the evidence. It biases the judgment. ~Arthur Conan Doyle
  • We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. ~Niels Bohr


Lifespan

  • The warm desires, the long expectations of youth are founded on the ignorance of themselves and of the world. They are gradually damped by time and experience, by disappointment and possession; and after the middle season the crowd must be content to remain at the foot of the mountain, while the few who have climbed to the summit aspire to descend or expect to fall. In old age the consolation of hope is reserved for the tenderness of parents, who commence a new life in their children; the faith of enthusiasts, who sing hallelujah is above the clouds; and the vanity on authors, who presume the immortality of their name and writings. ~ Edward Gibbon
  • Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business . . . . Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. ~Francis Bacon
  • There is an innocence in admiration. It is possessed by someone to whom it has not yet occurred that he too might be admired some day. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
  • One of the most surprising things in life is the sudden realization that one has become old. ~ Leo Trotsky
  • It is not too much to expect that we shall soon know enough to avoid the particular habits which make us live too long for comfort, which keep our hearts going after our mind has failed. ~ Lord Edgar Adrian
  • Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy. ~Henri Frederic Amiel

Literature and Writing

  • The pen is the tongue of the soul. ~Miguel de Cervantes
  • A writer is not a confectioner, a cosmetic dealer, or an entertainer. He is a man who has signed a contract with his conscience and his sense of duty. ~Anton Chekhov
  • It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there. ~William Carlos Williams
  • A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist. ~Vladimir Nabokov
  • You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~Maya Angelou
  • If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
  • We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. ~Anaïs Nin
  • I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. ~Anne Frank
  • A word after a word after a word is power. ~Margaret Atwood
  • Tell all the truth but tell it slant. ~Emily Dickinson

Art and Music

  • Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen. ~Leonardo da Vinci
  • The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing. ~Eugene Delacroix
  • Music is…a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. ~Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid. ~Langston Hughes
  • Music can also evoke worlds very different from the personal, remembered worlds of events, people, place we have known. ~Oliver Sacks
  • Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth. ~Pablo Picasso
  • One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. ~Ansel Adams
  • The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


History

  • A page of history is worth a pound of logic. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Those who do not know history will forever remain children. ~ Cicero
  • Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana
  • A people without history is like wind on the buffalo grass. ~ Sioux Proverb
  • These times of ours are serious and full of calamity, but all times are essentially alike. As soon as there is life there is danger. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. ~ George Orwell
  • That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach. ~ Aldous Huxley
  • All history is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world. ~Alice Walker

Wisdom

  • He goes furthest who knows not whither he is going. ~ Oliver Cromwell
  • If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. ~ Mark Twain
  • The wise man knows of all things, as far as possible, although he has no knowledge of each of them in detail. ~ Aristotle
  • He who busies himself in mean occupations, produces in the very pains he takes about things of little or no use, an evidence against himself of his negligence and indisposition to what is really good. ~ Plutarch
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever. ~ M. K. Gandhi
  • Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Never laugh at live dragons. ~J.R.R. Tolkien
  • By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. ~Confucius
  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ~Rumi
  • Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good. ~Gabriel García Márquez
  • In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn. ~Octavia Butler
  • A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~William James
  • Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought. ~Matsuo Basho
  • If you think you are too small to make a difference you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito. ~African proverb