Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

25 Quotable Things

Peter Flom is a prolific writer on Quora, and has recently started a blog there, titled Random Thoughts. He recently made a post that I thought was great, but since I'm really not a fan of Quora as a blogging platform, I asked his permission to reprint it here for my readers.

Obviously, the beliefs expressed about what "the 25 best things ever said" consists of are Peter's, not mine, as are the messages conveyed thereby. Nevertheless, I like Peter; we seem to see eye-to-eye on a lot.

The 25 best things ever said

Not in any particular order, except the last one, which is my favorite.

25) If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) -- I have seen this attributed to Truman, as well.

24) The legitimate powers of government extend only to such acts as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) -- quoting or paraphrasing John Locke

23) I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

22) To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

21) When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
-- Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536)

20) It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
-- Epictetus (55-135)

19) He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
-- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

18) An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

17) No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
-- John Donne (1572-1631), Meditation XVII

16) If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
-- Noam Chomsky (1928-)

15) "My Country, right or wrong" is a thing no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."
-- Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

14) I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.
-- Barbara Jordan (1936-1996)

13) The gods are amused when the busy river condemns the idle clouds.
-- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

12) Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
-- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

11) Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-- William Pitt (1759-1806)

10) Pain shared is lessened, joy shared, increased
-- Spider Robinson (1948-)

9) The good old days. I was there. Where was they?
-- Moms Mabley (1894-1975)

8) All models are wrong but some are useful.
-- George Box (1919-2013)

7) The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..."
-- Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

6) That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.
-- Hillel the Elder (110bce-10ce)

5) If I am not for myself, who is for me?
If I am for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?
-- Hillel the Elder (110bce-10ce)

4) Those who would give up a little freedom to get a little security shall soon have neither.
-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

3) If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let each man march to his own rhythm, however measured, or far away.
-- H. D. Thoreau (1817-1862)

2) There is nothing so horrible in nature as to see a beautiful theory murdered by an ugly gang of facts.
-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

and, my favorite:
1) Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to be worried abut our own souls, and other people's bellies.
-- Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810-1883)