Brain candy is the most dangerous thing there is for a thriving mind.
- 12thCandidate. Zen and the Art of Hacking
I think nobody should be certain of anything. If you’re certain, you’re
certainly wrong, because nothing deserves certainty, and so one ought always to
hold all one’s beliefs with a certain element of doubt and one ought to be able
to act vigorously in spite of this doubt.
- Bertrand Russell
I’m my me.
- Terry Pratchett: Brutha. Small Gods.
It doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works.
- Terry Pratchett. Wee Free Men.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is
not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of
mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than
- Bertrand Russell. Marriage and Morals.
He who lives without folly is less wise than he believes.
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
It’s a magical world, Hobbes ol’ buddy - Let’s go exploring!
- Bill Watterson: Calvin. Calvin and Hobbes
A car, a blue convertible, sleek and desirable, came sweeping west out
of Beverly Hills along the, as I understand it, gracious curves of Sunset
Boulevard. Anybody seeing such a car would have wanted it. If people had
turned out not to want it very much, the makers would have redesigned it and
redesigned it until they did. The world is now full of things like this, which
is, of course, why everybody is in such a permanent state of want.
- Douglas Adams. The Salmon of Doubt
Excellent day for putting Slinkies on an escalator.
Abstractions are fine, but I think people also have to breathe air and eat bread.
- Herman Hesse. The Glass Bead Game (translated)
If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
- Ken Robinson. TED 2006.
Too often we give our children answers to remember, rather than problems to solve.
- Roger Lewin.
As lawyers love to forget, our system for defending rights such as fair use is
astonishingly bad. […] It costs too much, it delivers too slowly, and what
it delivers often has little connection to the justice underlying the claim.
The legal system may be tolerable for the very rich. For everyone else, it is
an embarrassment to a tradition that prides itself on the rule of law.
- Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture, p 187
The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in
the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to
- Kurt Vonnegut: Palm Sunday.
But of bliss and glad life there is little to be said, before it ends;
as works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see,
are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for
ever do they pass into song.
- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion.
If you take common sense and rigorously apply it, through multiple inferential steps, to areas outside everyday experience, successfully avoiding many possible distractions and tempting mistakes along the way, then it often ends up as a minority position and people give it a special name.
- Eliezer Yudkowsky
Art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved.
- Piet Hein
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a
miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein
Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage. - Lewis Hyde, Alcohol and Poetry
Promoting less than maximally accurate beliefs is an act of
sabotage. Don’t do it to anyone unless you’d also slash their tires,
because they’re Nazis or whatever. Specifically, don’t do it to
- Black Belt Bayesian
The majority of modern morality is a bunch of poorly designed attempts to look good without special consideration for whether they screw up the world. As a result, the world is pretty screwed up. Applying a consequentialist ethic to politics and to everyday life is the first step in unscrewing it.
- Scott Siskind, the Consequentialism FAQ
We know that people can maintain an unshakable faith in any proposition, however absurd, when they are sustained by a community of like-minded believers.
- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking: Fast and Slow, p 217.
Awkward and fresh is better than comfortable and stale.
An adventure taken beats a risk avoided.
If you don’t try, you can’t win;
if you don’t try, you can’t even fail informatively.