Quote Book

“Science is a way of thinking, much more than it is a body of knowledge.” – Carl Sagan

“Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same” — Michel Foucault 

“Some transformations are overt and heroic; others are quiet and uneventful in their unfolding, but not less significant in their outcome” – Stephen J Gould 

“The past is never dead. It’s not even the past.” – William Faulkner

DSC_7349.JPG“I have yet to see any  problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become more complicated.” – Poul Anderson

“A definition is enclosing a wilderness of ideas within a wall of words.” – Marvin Minsky 

“We always yearn for certainty but the only thing beyond dispute is that there is always room for doubt. And doubt is not an enemy that sets constraints on what we know, the real danger to mental growth is perfect faith, doubts antidote.” – Marvin Minksy 

“The greatest obstacle of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Marvin Minsky 

“Objectivity must be operationally defined as fair treatment of data, not the absence of preference.” – Stephen J. Gould

“In searching for the truth, it may be our best plan to start by criticizing our most cherished beliefs.” – Karl Popper

“It is the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.” – Tom Stoppard

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” – Theodosius Dobhanzky

“Life is a gift of nature, a beautiful life is a gift of wisdom.

“To the extent that we depend on prosthetic devices to keep ourselves and the biosphere alive, we will render everything fragile. To the extent that we banish the rest of life, we will impoverish our own species for all time. And if we surrender our genetic nature to machine-aided ratiocination, and our ethics and art and our very meaning to a habit of careless discursion in the name of progress, imagining ourselves godlike and absolved from our ancient heritage, we will become nothing.” – E.O. Wilson

“Of one thing beware…see what is the price at which you sell your [soul]. If you do nothing else, do not sell your [soul] cheap.” – Epictetus 

“Nature is a cruel mistress. Having set us on our way with elementary instructions, she abandons us to fate.”

“One doesn’t arrive…by necessarily knowing where one is going. ” Ann Hamilton

Angkor Wat – December ’16

“The coming events cast their shadows before, may they not sometimes cast their lights before.”- Ada Lovelace

“What magnifies a voice is a force of the mind and its power of expression.” – Lewis H. Lapham

“Intelligence is not about noticing things that are relevant (detecting patterns) in a complex world. Intelligence consists of ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns).” – Nassim Taleb

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” – JRR Tolkien

Some questions you ask because you want the right answer. Others are valuable because no answer is right; the payoff comes from the range of attempts. 

Asking the right question is more important than producing the right answer. 

Wisdom is founded upon knowledge but shaped by uncertainty. Action is important, but so is judicious inaction. Emotion is central, yet detachment is essential

“A stochastic process is neither deterministic nor random. It is governed by a set of probabilities. Each event has a probability that depends on the state of the system and perhaps also on its previous history.” – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

“Knowledge grows, but wisdom, thought it can improve with years, does not progress with the centuries.” – Will Durant

“Hold strong opinions, weakly.” – Unknown

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” – Walt Whitman

“Knowledge is power, but wisdom is liberty.” – Will Durant

“The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.” – Ariel Durant

“Human history is a brief spot in space, and its first lesson is modesty.” – Will Durant

“Generations of men establish a growing mastery over the earth, but they are destined to become fossils in its soil.” –  Will Durant

“Greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” – Al Bartlett

Okavango Delta – April ’16


“Whatever is true of everything we’ve seen is true of everything in the Universe.” – Isaac Newton

“Evolution is cleverer than you are.” – Leslie Orgel

“Medicine is the science of uncertainty and the art of possibility” – William Osler

Patagonia – December ’14

“We humans spend our lives convincing that existence is not absurd.” – Albert Camus

“The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning.” – Albert Camus

“Optimal experience is not the result of a hedonistic, lotus-eating approach to life…[it] requires determination and discipline. There is a mutual relationship between goals and the effort they require. Goals justify the effort they demand at the outset, but later it is the effort that justifies the goal.”- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Uncertainty that shrouds the future is not so much a veil but an iron curtain.” – Paul Ormerod

“The best chance to lead a sweet life and generate offspring in the embrace of beauty and the pursuit of pleasure – pleasure not as the sensual debauchery but as the sense of well-being embodied in living justly and lovingly in a generosity of spirit.” – Lewis H. Lapham


“Nature forms patterns. Some are orderly in space but disorderly in time, others orderly in time but disorderly in space. Some patterns are fractal, exhibiting structures self-similar in scale, other give rise to steady states or oscillating ones.” – James Gleick