K. Sreeman Reddy


These are some interesting quotes. I removed the quotes which are given as misattributed in Wikiquote. Quotes which I strongly disagree with are struckthrough.


“The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp.”

Henri Poincaré

“Mathematics was not sufficiently refined in 1917 to cleave apart the demands for “no prior geometry” and for a geometric, coordinate-independent formulation of physics. Einstein described both demands by a single phrase, “general covariance”. The “no prior geometry” demand actually fathered general relativity, but by doing so anonymously, disguised as “general covariance”, it also fathered half a century of confusion.”


“Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.”

“Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it — in a decade, a century, or a millennium — we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid for so long?”

It from bit. Otherwise put, every it — every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself — derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely — even if in some contexts indirectly — from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — at a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe.”[1990]

John Archibald Wheeler

“There is a famous saying about quantization due to Edward Nelson: “First quantization is a mystery, but second quantization is a functor!” No one is a true mathematical physicist unless they can explain that remark. So, let me explain that remark!

First quantization is a mystery. It is the attempt to get from a classical description of a physical system to a quantum description of the “same” system. Now it doesn’t seem to be true that God created a classical universe on the first day and then quantized it on the second day. So it’s unnatural to try to get from classical to quantum mechanics. Nonetheless we are inclined to do so since we understand classical mechanics better. So we’d like to find a way to start with a classical mechanics problem - that is, a phase space and a Hamiltonian function on it - and cook up a quantum mechanics problem - that is, a Hilbert space with a Hamiltonian operator on it. It has become clear that there is no utterly general systematic procedure for doing so.

Mathematically, if quantization were “natural” it would be a functor from the category whose objects are symplectic manifolds (= phase spaces) and whose morphisms are symplectic maps (= canonical transformations) to the category whose objects are Hilbert spaces and whose morphisms are unitary operators. Alas, there is no such nice functor. So quantization is always an ad hoc and problematic thing to attempt. A lot is known about it, but more isn’t. That’s why first quantization is a mystery.

Second quantization is the attempt to get from a quantum description of a single-particle system to a quantum description of a many-particle system. (There are other ways to think of it, but let’s do it this way.) Starting from a Hilbert space H for the single particle system, one forms the symmetric (or antisymmetric) tensor algebra over H and completes it to form a Hilbert space K, called the bosonic (or fermionic) Fock space over H. Any unitary operator on H gives a unitary operator on K in an obvious way. More generally, one has a functor called “second quantization” from the Hilbert category to itself, which sends each Hilbert space to its Fock space, and each unitary map to an obvious unitary map. This functor is positivity-preserving. (All the weird problems with negative-energy states of the electron, Dirac’s “holes in the electron sea,” and such, are due to thinking about things the wrong way.)”

John C. Baez

“In these last months I had great success in my work. Generally covariant gravitation equations. Perihelion motions explained quantitatively. The role of gravitation in the structure of matter. You will be astonished. I worked horribly strenuously, strange that one can endure that.”[17 November 1915 Einstein’s mail to Michele Besso]1

“Imagine my joy at the feasibility of general covariance and the result that the equations give the perihelion motion of Mercury correctly. For a few days I was beside myself with joyous excitement.”[to Ehrenfest]

“My wildest dreams have been fulfilled. General covariance. Perihelion motion of Mercury wonderfully exact.”[10 December 1915 Einstein’s mail to Michele Besso]

“You must not be cross with me that I am answering your kind and interesting letter only today. But in the last month I had one of the most stimulating, exhausting times of my life, indeed also one of the most successful. I could not think of writing.”[28 November 1915 Einstein’s mail to Sommerfeld]

“Most gratifying is the agreement with perihelion motion and the general covariance; strangest, however, is the circumstance that Newton’s theory of the field is incorrect already in the 1st order eq. (appearance of the g11-g33). It is just the circumstance that the g11-g33’s do not appear in first-order approximations of the motion eqs. which determines the simplicity of Newton’s theory. Now Planck also is beginning to take the matter more seriously; he is still resisting a bit, though. But he is a splendid person.”[21 December 1915 Einstein’s mail to Michele Besso]

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

“Nevertheless, due to the inneratomic movement of electrons, atoms would have to radiate not only electromagnetic but also gravitational energy, if only in tiny amounts. As this is hardly true in nature, it appears that quantum theory would have to modify not only Maxwellian electrodynamics, but also the new theory of gravitation.” [1916, few months after he formulated his general relativity, he already realized it must be quantized.]

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

“At present I occupy myself exclusively with the problem of gravitation and now believe that I shall master all difficulties with the help of a friendly mathematician here (Marcel Grossmann). But one thing is certain, in all my life I have never labored nearly as hard, and I have become imbued with great respect for mathematics, the subtler part of which I had in my simple-mindedness regarded as pure luxury until now. Compared with this problem, the original relativity is child’s play.” [After nearly ten years of hard work, in a letter to A. Sommerfeld]

“Who would have thought around 1900 that in fifty years time we would know so much more and understand so much less.”

“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

“I believe with Schopenhauer: We can do what we wish, but we can only wish what we must. Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community, I must act as if man is a responsible being. I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime; nevertheless, I must protect myself from unpleasant contacts. I may consider him guiltless, but I prefer not to take tea with him.”

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbour such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.”

I claim credit for nothing. Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.”

“I believe in Spinoza’s God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

“At this point an enigma presents itself which in all ages has agitated inquiring minds. How can it be that mathematics, being, after all, a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?”

“One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.”

“A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression that classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced will never be overthrown, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts.”

“The world needs new moral impulses which, I’m afraid, won’t come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries. Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton. In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place. The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation! And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its “I am better than thou” creed. This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. And without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed.”

“Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence a lot of mankind.”[1930]

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”

“I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience.”[1953 letter to Max Kariel]

“So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.”[1954]

“Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one [Gandhi] ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”2

“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

“In my opinion the only salvation for civilization and the human race lies in the creation of a world government, with security of nations founded upon law. As long as sovereign states continue to have separate armaments and armament secrets, new world wars will be inevitable.”

“Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.”

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” [Einstein’s response to firing Russell]

“Being a Jew myself, perhaps I can understand and empathize with how black people feel as victims of discrimination.”

“I do not intend to be quiet about it [racism].”

“I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state.”

“I have trouble with Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful.”

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” [Source not found]

“I have learned something else from the theory of gravitation: no collection of empirical facts however comprehensive can ever lead to the formulation of such complicated equations […] Equations of such complexity as are the equations of the gravitational field can be found only through the discovery of a logically simple mathematical condition that determines the equations completely or [at least] almost completely. Once one has those sufficiently strong formal conditions, one requires only little knowledge of facts for thesetting up of a theory; in the case of the equations of gravitation it is the four- dimensionality and the symmetric tensor as expression for the structure of space which together with the invariance concerning the continuous transformation group, determine the equations almost completely.”

“The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. In this methodological uncertainty, one might suppose that there were any number of possible systems of theoretical physics all equally well justified; and this opinion is no doubt correct, theoretically. But the development of physics has shown that at any given moment, out of all conceivable constructions, a single one has always proved itself decidedly superior to all the rest.”

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

“But the truth of a theory will never be proved. Because one can never know if, in the future, some experience will become known that would contradict its conclusion.”[1919]

“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…”

“A man who is convinced of the truth of his religion is indeed never tolerant. At the least, he is to feel pity for the adherent of another religion but usually it does not stop there. The faithful adherent of a religion will try first of all to convince those that believe in another religion and usually he goes on to hatred if he is not successful. However, hatred then leads to persecution when the might of the majority is behind it.”

“I would have transferred even more money to you, but I have no more myself to be able to manage at all without help….. I myself lead the simplest, almost meager existence imaginable. In this way we can lay quite a lot aside for the children….. I have duly noted your threat “to seek the assistance of other persons”; I know very well anyway from your previous behavior what I have to expect from you. Nothing will surprise me, no matter what you do. You have taken my children away from me and are ensuring that their attitude toward their father is vitiated. You will also take away from me other people who are close to me and will try to spoil in every way whatever has remained of my joy of living. This is the proper punishment for my weakness in allowing myself to shackle my life to yours. But I repeat: You will not surprise me, no matter what you do.” [15 September 1914 to Mileva Marić]

“Best regards to Albert and Tete. As long as Albert does not answer my letter I must assume that it has not been given to him. Otherwise I would write to him again. Greetings from me to the children do not seem to be relayed, otherwise they would have sent their regards to me at least once in this long period. Thus it is actually useless to renew the same every time.” [12 December 1914 to Mileva Marić]

“I received your letter just now, the unkind tone of which dismays me very much. I see from your long delay and from the unfriendliness of your letter that my visit would bring you little joy. Therefore I consider it not right that I sit in the train 2 • 20 hours without the result of making someone happy. I’ll come to visit you again only when you ask me to do so yourself. At Easter I’m going to be in Switzerland anyway, because I must attend a meeting in Berne. I’ll send you the Christmas present in cash as you wish. But I do think that a luxury gift costing Fr. 70 does not match our modest circumstances.” [30 November 1915 to his son]

“There has been a certain ill-feeling between us, the cause of which I do not want to analyze. I have struggled against the feeling of bitterness attached to it, and this with complete success.

I think of you again with unmixed geniality and ask you to try to do the same with me. Objectively it is a shame when two real fellows who have extricated themselves somewhat from this shabby world do not afford each other mutual pleasure.” [20 December 1915 to Hilbert] 3

“I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared to me so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity.”

“In order to put his system into mathematical form at all, Newton had to devise the concept of differential quotients and propound the laws of motion in the form of total differential equations—perhaps the greatest advance in thought that a single individual was ever privileged to make.”

Albert Einstein

“Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without regard to anything external, and by another name is called duration: relative, apparent and common time, is some sensible and external (whether accurate or unequable) measure of duration by the means of motion, which is commonly used instead of true time …”

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

“To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. ‘Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

“I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.”

“Plato is my friend — Aristotle is my friend — but my greatest friend is truth.”

“I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.”

“I have studied these things — you have not.”4

Isaac Newton

“Being myself a remarkably stupid fellow, I have had to unteach myself the difficulties, and now beg to present to my fellow fools the parts that are not hard. Master these thoroughly, and the rest will follow. What one fool can do, another can.

Silvanus P. Thompson

“I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling.

But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit.

Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.”5

“It seems clear that the present quantum mechanics is not in its final form. Some further changes will be needed, just about as drastic as the changes made in passing from Bohr’s orbit theory to quantum mechanics. Some day a new quantum mechanics, a relativistic one, will be discovered, in which we will not have these infinities occurring at all. It might very well be that the new quantum mechanics will have determinism in the way that Einstein wanted.”

“There was difficulty reconciling the Newtonian theory of gravitation with its instantaneous propagation of forces with the requirements of special relativity; and Einstein working on this difficulty was led to a generalization of his relativity—which was probably the greatest scientific discovery that was ever made.”

“The underlying physical laws necessary for the mathematical theory of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry are thus completely known, and the difficulty is only that the exact application of these laws leads to equations much too complicated to be soluble. It therefore becomes desirable that approximate practical methods of applying quantum mechanics should be developed, which can lead to an explanation of the main features of complex atomic systems without too much computation.”

“Einstein was always rather hostile to guantum mechanics. How can one understand this? I think it is very easy to understand, because Einstein had been proceeding on different lines, lines of pure geometry. He had been developing geometrical theories and had achieved enormous success. It is only natural that he should think that further problems of physics should be solved by further development of geometrical ideas. How, to have a x b not equal to b x a is something that does not fit in very well with geometrical ideas; hence his hostility to it.”

P.A.M Dirac

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

“Most of us do elementary-particle physics neither because of the intrinsic interestingness of the phenomena that we study, nor because of the practical importance of what we learn, but because we are pursuing a reductionist vision. All of the properties of ordinary matter are what they are because of the principles of atomic and nuclear physics, which are what they are because of the rules of the Standard Model of elementary particles, which are what they are because…well, we don’t know, this is the reductionist frontier, which we are currently exploring.”

“The wave fields $\phi$, $\varphi$, etc, are not probability amplitudes at all, but operators which create or destroy particles in the various normal modes. It would be a good thing if the misleading expression ‘second quantization’ were permanently retired.”

“Our immersion in the present state of physics makes it hard for us to understand the difficulties of physicists even a few years ago, or to profit from their experience. At the same time, a knowledge of our history is a mixed blessing — it can stand in the way of the logical reconstruction of physical theory that seems to be continually necessary.”

“During the SSC debate, Anderson and other condensed-matter physicists repeatedly made the point that the knowledge gained in elementary-particle physics would be unlikely to help them to understand emergent phenomena like superconductivity. This is certainly true, but I think beside the point, because that is not why we are studying elementary particles; our aim is to push back the reductive frontier, to get closer to whatever simple and general theory accounts for everything in nature. … experience shows that the ideas developed in one field can prove very useful in the other. Sometimes these ideas become transformed in translation, so that they even pick up a renewed value to the field in which they were first conceived. The example that concerns me is an idea that elementary-particle physicists learnt from condensed-matter theory – specifically from the BCS theory. It is the idea of spontaneous symmetry breaking.”

“I think the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief; and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.

“I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

“The steady state theory is philosophically the most attractive theory because it least resembles the account given in Genesis.”

“I know atheists that have the highest moral standards, for instance myself!”

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

“The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things which lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.”

“Despite the weakness of the early experimental evidence for general relativity, Einstein’s theory became the standard textbook theory of gravitation in the 1920s and retained that position from then on, even while the various eclipse expeditions of the 1920s and 1930s were reporting at best equivocal evidence for the theory. … Perhaps all of us were just gullible and lucky, but I do not think that is the real explanation. I believe that the general acceptance of general relativity was due in large part to the attractions of the theory itself—in short, to its beauty.”

“The other mistake that is widely attributed to Einstein is that he was on the wrong side in his famous debate with Niels Bohr over quantum mechanics, starting at the Solvay Congress of 1927 and continuing into the 1930s. In brief, Bohr had presided over the formulation of a “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics, in which it is only possible to calculate the probabilities of the various possible outcomes of experiments. Einstein rejected the notion that the laws of physics could deal with probabilities, famously decreeing that God does not play dice with the cosmos. But history gave its verdict against Einstein—quantum mechanics went on from success to success, leaving Einstein on the sidelines.
All this familiar story is true, but it leaves out an irony. Bohr’s version of quantum mechanics was deeply flawed, but not for the reason Einstein thought. The Copenhagen interpretation describes what happens when an observer makes a measurement, but the observer and the act of measurement are themselves treated classically. This is surely wrong: Physicists and their apparatus must be governed by the same quantum mechanical rules that govern everything else in the universe.”

“Well, I think it’s yielding very useful insights. And um, I think it’s… it’s been disappointing because the idea of string theory as a theory of fundamental forces has been around now for quite a while, uh, a number of decades, and it has not led to the kind of specific prediction. Well, it makes some qualitative predictions, like it explains why gravity has to exist, but it has not led to the kind of specific numerical predictions, which will say, well, okay, now you can take it to the bank. Um, But it’s the only game in town. Um, there are alternatives for pictures of what happens at very short distances. There’s one due to me called “asymptotic safety” which I… I think is a possibility worth taking seriously, but is much less attractive than the string theory and um, I hope string theory is right, but and I don’t see anything else on the horizon that’s remotely as attractive. Andy, do you agree with that?” [YouTube]6

Steven Weinberg

“The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time. And since the general theory of Relativity provides only a single unique family of solutions for their descriptions, they are the simplest objects as well.”7

“I should like to preface my remarks with a personal statement in order that my later remarks will not be misunderstood. I consider myself an atheist.”

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

“He [Sidney Coleman] was a giant in a peculiar sense, because he’s not known to the general populace. He’s not a Stephen Hawking; he has virtually no visibility outside. But within the community of theoretical physicists, he’s kind of a major god. He is the physicist’s physicist.”

Sheldon Glashow

“The career of a young theoretical physicist consists of treating the harmonic oscillator in ever-increasing levels of abstraction.”

“Quantum gravity is notoriously a subject where problems vastly outnumber results.”

“Not only God knows, I know, and by the end of the semester, you will know.”

Sidney Coleman

“…we should modify the meaning of “understand”, and at the same time reduce our expectations of any proof of the Spin-Statistics Theorem. What is proved - whether truly or not, whether optimally or not, in an acceptable logical sequence or not - is that the existing theory is consistent with the spin-statistics relation. What is not demonstrated is a reason for the spin-statistics relation.

To belabor the point, it is difficult to imagine a fundamental mechanism for the Pauli Exclusion Principle - upon which all depends - which predicates it (looking ahead to the work of Hall and Wightman) upon the analyticity properties of vacuum expectation values of products of quantized field operators. Did God - for lack of a better word - build a series of failed worlds which sputtered and died, or exploded and disintegrated, before discovering the stabilizing effect of anticommutation relations for half-integral spin fields? Was this before or after imposing the requirements of Lorentz invariance? Are we the lucky winners of a Monte Carlo simulation in which every choice was tried and one survived?

Must we reduce our demands on physics to require only consistency? Does an understanding of the “Why?” of the spin-statistics relation have no direct answer in physics? Or must physics be formulated to include it? The Pauli result (Pauli’s proof) does not explain the spin-statistics relation and cannot. The Neuenschwanders and the Feynmans of the world must remain unsatisfied (Ch.20)”

Ian Duck, E C George Sudarshan

“Once we have bitten the quantum apple, our loss of innocence is permanent.”[From Principles of Quantum Mechanics]

Ramamurti Shankar

“It happened that one semester [around 1970] I was teaching GR, and I noticed that the formula in gauge theory for the field strength and the formula in Riemannian geometry for the Riemann tensor are not just similar – they are, in fact, the same if one makes the right identification of symbols! It is hard to describe the thrill I felt at understanding this point..”

Yang Chen-Ning

“I was lucky enough to attend a few lectures of S. S. Chern just before he retired from Berkeley in which he said that the cotangent bundle (differential forms) is the feminine side of analysis on manifolds, and the tangent bundle (vector fields) is the masculine side. From this perspective, Hamiltonian mechanics is the feminine side of classical physics, [and] its masculine side is Lagrangian mechanics.”

Richard Montgomery

“Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole, both to the outside, and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.”

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

“The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes.”

“There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary?”

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first … I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

“I used to think that information was destroyed in black holes. But the AdS/CFT correspondence led me to change my mind. This was my biggest blunder, or at least my biggest blunder in science.”

“Dirac has done more than anyone this century, with the exception of Einstein, to advance physics and change our picture of the universe. He is surely worthy of the memorial in Westminster Abbey. It is just a scandal that it has taken so long.”

“[on the possibility of contact with an alien civilization]: I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low.”

“Einstein is the only figure in the physical sciences with a stature that can be compared with Newton. Newton is reported to have said “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” This remark is even more true of Einstein who stood on the shoulders of Newton. Both Newton and Einstein put forward a theory of mechanics and a theory of gravity but Einstein was able to base General Relativity on the mathematical theory of curved spaces that had been constructed by Riemann while Newton had to develop his own mathematical machinery. It is therefore appropriate to acclaim Newton as the greatest figure in mathematical physics and the Principia is his greatest achievement.”

“Isaac Newton was not a pleasant man. His relations with other academics were notorious, with most of his later life spent embroiled in heated disputes. Following publication of Principia Mathematica – surely the most influential book ever written in physics – Newton had risen rapidly into public prominence. He was appointed president of the Royal Society and became the first scientist ever to be knighted.”

“Although we now know that Newton discovered calculus years before Leibniz, he published his work much later. A major row ensued over who had been first, with scientists vigorously defending both contenders. It is remarkable, however, that most of the articles appearing in defense of Newton were originally written by his own hand – and only published in the name of friends! As the row grew, Leibniz made the mistake of appealing to the Royal Society to resolve the dispute. Newton, as president, appointed an “impartial” committee to investigate, coincidentally consisting entirely of Newton’s friends! But that was not all: Newton then wrote the committee’s report himself and had the Royal Society publish it, officially accusing Leibniz of plagiarism. Still unsatisfied, he then wrote an anonymous review of the report in the Royal Society’s own periodical. Following the death of Leibniz, Newton is reported to have declared that he had taken great satisfaction in “breaking Leibniz’s heart.””

Stephen Hawking

“General relativity is certainly a very beautiful theory, but how does one judge the elegance of physical theories generally?

“One is left with the uneasy feeling that even if supersymmetry is actually false, as a feature of nature, and that accordingly no supersymmetry partners are ever found by the LHC or by any later more powerful accelerator, then the conclusion that some supersymmetry proponents might come to would not be that supersymmetry is false for the actual particles of nature, but merely that the level of supersymmetry breaking must be greater even that the level reached at that moment, and that a new even more powerful machine would be required to observe it!”

Roger Penrose

“The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.”

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

Galileo Galilei

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.”

Johannes Kepler

“It is of great advantage to the student of any subject to read the original memoirs on that subject, for science is always most completely assimilated when it is in the nascent state…”

James Clerk Maxwell

“It is a great pity that human beings cannot find all of their satisfaction in scientific contemplativeness.”

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”

“It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature…”

“Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.”

“Truth and clarity are complementary.”

“Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.”

“I am absolutely prepared to talk about the spiritual life of an electronic computer: to state that it is reflecting or is in a bad mood… The question whether the machine really feels or ponders, or whether it merely looks as though it did, is of course absolutely meaningingless.”

“For those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it.”

Niels Bohr

“I have done a terrible thing, I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.”

“I cannot believe God is a weak left-hander.” [After discovery of parity violation in 1956.]

“This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.”

“Against all the retrogressive endeavors (Bohm, Schrödinger etc. and in some sense also Einstein) I am sure that the statistical character of the ψ-function and hence of nature’s laws – on which you insisted from the very beginning against Schrödinger’s resistance – will define the style of the laws at least for some centuries. It may be that later, e.g. in connection with the living processes, one will find something entirely new, but to dream of a way back, back to the classical style of Newton-Maxwell (and these are just dreams these gentlemen are giving themselves up to) seems to me hopeless, digressive, bad taste. And, we could add, it is not even a beautiful dream.”

“Einstein’s conception [on God] is closer to mine. His God is somehow involved in the immutable laws of nature. Einstein has a feeling for the central order of things. He can detect it in the simplicity of natural laws. We may take it that he felt this simplicity very strongly and directly during his discovery of the theory of relativity. Admittedly, this is a far cry from the contents of religion. I don’t believe Einstein is tied to any religious tradition, and I rather think the idea of a personal God is entirely foreign to him. But as far as he is concerned there is no split between science and religion: the central order is part of the subjective as well as the objective realm, and this strikes me as being a far better starting point.”

Wolfgang Pauli

“General relativity is the greatest feat of human thinking about nature, the most amazing combination of philosophical penetration, physical intuition, and mathematical skill.”

Max Born

Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two “I”’s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”

“In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more… the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.

Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).To Western ideology, the thought has remained a stranger…”

Erwin Schrödinger

“A great deal more was hidden in the Dirac equation than the author had expected when he wrote it down in 1928. Dirac himself remarked in one of his talks that his equation was more intelligent than its author. It should be added, however, that it was Dirac who found most of the additional insights.”

Victor Weisskopf

“We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it …”

Max Planck

“While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels in store even more astonishing than those of the past, it seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice. It is here that the science of measurement shows its importance — where quantitative work is more to be desired than qualitative work. An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.”

Albert A. Michelson [1894]

“I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

“I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.”

“What one fool could understand, another can.”

“From a long view of the history of mankind — seen from, say, ten thousand years from now — there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade.”

“It doesn’t seem to me that this fantastically marvellous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil — which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.”

“God was always invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you’re taking away from God; you don’t need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven’t figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don’t believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don’t think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.”

“Einstein was a giant. His head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. But those of us who are not that tall have to choose!”

“You met me at the peak of my career when I seemed to you to be concerned with problems close to the gods. But at the same time I had another Ph.D. Student (Albert Hibbs) whose thesis was on how it is that the winds build up waves blowing over water in the sea. I accepted him as a student because he came to me with the problem he wanted to solve. With you I made a mistake, I gave you the problem instead of letting you find your own; and left you with a wrong idea of what is interesting or pleasant or important to work on (namely those problems you see you may do something about). I am sorry, excuse me. I hope by this letter to correct it a little.

I have worked on innumerable problems that you would call humble, but which I enjoyed and felt very good about because I sometimes could partially succeed. For example, experiments on the coefficient of friction on highly polished surfaces, to try to learn something about how friction worked (failure). Or, how elastic properties of crystals depend on the forces between the atoms in them, or how to make electroplated metal stick to plastic objects (like radio knobs). Or, how neutrons diffuse out of Uranium. Or, the reflection of electromagnetic waves from films coating glass. The development of shock waves in explosions. The design of a neutron counter. Why some elements capture electrons from the L-orbits, but not the K-orbits. General theory of how to fold paper to make a certain type of child’s toy (called flexagons). The energy levels in the light nuclei. The theory of turbulence (I have spent several years on it without success). Plus all the “grander” problems of quantum theory.

No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.”

“I was an ordinary person who studied hard. There are no miracle people. It happens they get interested in this thing and they learn all this stuff, but they’re just people.”

“If all mathematics were to disappear, physics would be set back exactly one week.”

“He [Stueckelberg] did the work and walks alone toward the sunset; and, here I am, covered in all the glory, which rightfully should be his!.”

Richard Feynman

“While the finder of a new elementary particle used to be rewarded by receiving a Nobel Prize, one should now be punished by a $10,000 fine.”

Willis Lamb

“I might even have shared the Nobel Prize with Lamb.” [1991, he regretted that his insecurity about his mathematical abilities may have cost him a Nobel Prize when he did not publish results (which turned out to be correct) about what became known as the Lamb shift]

“Self-confidence is an important ingredient that makes for a successful physicist.”

“… conferences with open attendance are very important for the stimulation of young people or other people who are new in the field. … The field of high-energy physics is, as you know, very strongly in the hands of a clique and it is hard for an outsider to enter.”

Victor Weisskopf

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

Marie Curie

“In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

“If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say ‘no’. The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of a man’s self after his death; but they are not familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth century science.”

“Einstein is also, and I think rightly, known as a man of very great goodwill and humanity. Indeed if I had to think of a single word for his attitude towards human problems, I would pick the Sanskrit word Ahimsa, not to hurt, harmlessness.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer

“The law that entropy always increases, holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

Arthur Eddington

“It is just as foolish to complain that people are selfish and treacherous as it is to complain that the magnetic field does not increase unless the electric field has a curl. Both are laws of nature.”

“Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.”

“If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.”

John von Neumann

“A possible explanation of the physicist’s use of mathematics to formulate his laws of nature is that he is a somewhat irresponsible person. As a result, when he finds a connection between two quantities which resembles a connection well-known from mathematics, he will jump at the conclusion that the connection is that discussed in mathematics simply because he does not know of any other similar connection.”

“The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.”

“I have known a great many intelligent people in my life. I knew Planck, von Laue and Heisenberg. Paul Dirac was my brother in law; Leo Szilard and Edward Teller have been among my closest friends; and Albert Einstein was a good friend, too. But none of them had a mind as quick and acute as Jancsi [John] von Neumann. I have often remarked this in the presence of those men and no one ever disputed.

But Einstein’s understanding was deeper even than von Neumann’s. His mind was both more penetrating and more original than von Neumann’s. And that is a very remarkable statement. Einstein took an extraordinary pleasure in invention. Two of his greatest inventions are the Special and General Theories of Relativity; and for all of Jancsi’s brilliance, he never produced anything as original.”

Eugene Wigner

“When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.”

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

Werner Heisenberg

“This work contains many things which are new and interesting. Unfortunately, everything that is new is not interesting, and everything which is interesting, is not new.”

“The theory of gravitational fields, constructed on the basis of the theory of relativity, is called the general theory of relativity. It was established by Einstein (and finally formulated by him in 1915), and represents probably the most beautiful of all existing physical theories. It is remarkable that it was developed by Einstein in a purely deductive manner and only later was substantiated by astronomical observations.”

Lev Landau

“Niels Bohr brain-washed a whole generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved fifty years ago [comment on the Copenhagen interpretation].”

“First they told me it was wrong, then they told me it was obvious.”

“I thought of killing myself but soon decided that I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn’t commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards. The two operations, suicide and going to MIT, don’t commute…”

“I thought that it was not fair for a theorist to propose several contradictory theories at one time, that a theorist should save his money and then bet on one idea that he really thought was right. And I believed also that proposing a wrong theory counted as having written a wrong paper… My feeling was that a theorist should be judged by the correctness of his guesses about nature, that his reputation should be gauged by the number of right minus the number wrong, or event he number right minus twice the number wrong.”

Murray Gell-Mann

“The answer to the ancient question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” would then be that ‘nothing’ is unstable.”

“Intelligent creatures that evolved to live deep within the atmosphere of a gas giant planet could be deluded, for eons, into thinking that the Universe is an approximately homogeneous expanse of gas, filling a three-dimensional space, but featuring anisotropic laws of motion (which we would ascribe to the planet’s gravitational field). Are we human scientists comparably blinkered?”

“We see that the question [posed] is not, “Why is gravity so feeble?” but rather, “Why is the proton’s mass so small?” For in natural (Planck) units, the strength of gravity simply is what it is, a primary quantity, while the proton’s mass is the tiny number 1/13 quintillion.”

“To put it crudely, theorists can be tempted to think along the lines “If people as clever as us haven’t explained it, that’s because it can’t be explained – it’s just an accident.” I believe there are at least two important regularities among standard model parameters that do have deeper explanations, namely the unification of couplings and the smallness of the QCD θ parameter. There may well be others.”

“It is delightful in itself when we are able to interpret features of the present as signs confirming our understanding of the past.”

Frank Wilczek

“Remarkably, the building of the Standard Model — the theory of how particles and forces interact — was the success of the conservatives. It required no revolution at the foundational level. Normal physics, the kind that goes on experiment after experiment, produced the Standard Model.”

“The most important [reason] is that there are no other good ideas around. That’s what gets most people into it. When people started to get interested in string theory they didn’t know anything about it. In fact, the first reaction of most people is that the theory is extremely ugly and unpleasant, at least that was the case a few years ago when the understanding of string theory was much less developed. It was difficult for people to learn about it and to be turned on. So I think the real reason why people have got attracted by it is because there is no other game in town. All other approaches of constructing grand unified theories, which were more conservative to begin with, and only gradually became more and more radical, have failed, and this game hasn’t failed yet.”[1987]

David Gross

“On your way towards becoming a bad theoretician, take your own immature theory, stop checking it for mistakes, don’t listen to colleagues who do spot weaknesses, and start admiring your own infallible intelligence.”

Gerard ‘t Hooft

“Physics is that subset of human experience which can be reduced to coupled harmonic oscillators”

Michael Peskin

“I don’t think that any physicist would have been clever enough to have invented string theory on purpose… Luckily, it was invented by accident.”

“String theory is extremely attractive because gravity is forced upon us. All known consistent string theories include gravity, so while gravity is impossible in quantum field theory as we have known it, it is obligatory in string theory.”

“It’s been said that string theory is part of the physics of the twenty-first century that fell by chance into the twentieth century. That’s a remark that was made by a leading physicist about fifteen years ago. …String theory was invented essentially by accident in a long series of events, starting with the Veneziano model… No one invented it on purpose, it was invented in a lucky accident. …By rights, string theory shouldn’t have been invented until our knowledge of some of the areas that are prerequisite… had developed to the point that it was possible for us to have the right concept of what it is all about.”

“Generally speaking, all the really great ideas of physics are really spin-offs of string theory… Some of them were discovered first, but I consider that a mere accident of the development on planet earth. On planet earth, they were discovered in this order [general relativity, quantum field theory, superstrings, and supersymmetry]… But I don’t believe, if there are many civilizations in the universe, that those four ideas were discovered in that order in each civilization.”

“If one wants to summarize our knowledge of physics in the briefest possible terms, there are three really fundamental observations: (i) Space-time is a pseudo-Riemannian manifold $M$, endowed with a metric tensor and governed by geometrical laws. (ii) Over $M$ is a vector bundle $X$ with a nonabelian gauge group $G$. (iii) Fermions are sections of $(\hat{S}_{+}\otimes V_R) \oplus(\hat{S}_{-}\otimes V_{\tilde{R}})$. $R$ and $\tilde{R}$ are not isomorphic; their failure to be isomorphic explains why the light fermions are light and presumably has its origins in a representation difference $\Delta$ in some underlying theory. All of this must be supplemented with the understanding that the geometrical laws obeyed by the metric tensor, the gauge fields, and the fermions are to be interpreted in quantum mechanical terms.”

Edward Witten

“Interestingly, both quantum entanglement and wormholes date back to two articles written by Albert Einstein and his collaborators in 1935. On the surface, the papers seem to deal with very different phenomena, and Einstein probably never suspected that there could be a connection between them. In fact, entanglement was a property of quantum mechanics that greatly bothered the German-born physicist, who called it “spooky action at a distance.” How ironic that it now may offer a bridge to extend his relativity theory to the quantum realm.”

Juan Maldacena

“Elegance requires that the number of defining equations be small. Five is better than ten, and one is better than five. On this score, one might facetiously say that String Theory is the ultimate epitome of elegance. With all the years that String Theory has been studied, no one has found even a single defining equation! The number at present count is zero. We know neither what the fundamental equations of the theory are nor even if it has any.”

Leonard Susskind

“[Smolin] is mistaking an aspect of the mathematical language being used for one of the physics being described. New physical theories are often discovered using a mathematical language that is not the most suitable for them… In string theory, it has always been clear that the physics is background-independent even if the language being used is not, and the search for a more suitable language continues. Indeed, as Smolin belatedly notes, [AdS/CFT] provides a solution to this problem, one that is unexpected and powerful.”

Joseph Polchinski

“Steve [Weinberg], you are certainly the most eloquent champion of the reductionist program in physics that progress in physics is, um, you know, understanding things at shorter and shorter distances. And there was a moment in the 80s. Where it looked as if String Theory could be The Final Step in that reductionist program. That moment evaporated very quickly within a year or 2, I would say. And instead of being everything it is more…. it’s a Wellspring of ideas. Um, it gives us ideas of how different quantum systems fit together. And it could find a place in nature which isn’t exactly the um, you know the the final Capstone on the reductionist program.

An example I would like to use to put this in perspective is Yang Mills theory. Yang and Mills invented Yang Mills theory to explain the relationship between the proton and the neutron. That was wrong. I’ve never heard anybody say Yang Mills Theory is wrong, but what Yang and Mills wanted to do with it in that 1954 paper was undeniably wrong. It doesn’t explain. Now it doesn’t explain that. It explains something else, you got your Nobel Prize and other people got them too for understanding what it was that it did explain. So we wouldn’t say Yang Mills theory… certainly Yang and Mills didn’t understand how Yang Mills theory fits into nature. And I think string theory is like that it has an inevitability to it. Like, uh Yang Mills Theory did.

Maybe it’s not ruled out that it is the final end point of the reductionist program, but it might find a place in nature and that’s how it feels to me, that it has… and that’s already happened to some extent. We’ve used it to explain things about superconductors and heavy ion collisions and so on. Um, It might find a place in nature. That isn’t what exactly what its originators imagined and it almost never happens in physics that an idea comes out fully formed into its right place. They get battered around and that I think is already happened to a great extent with string theory. And then it’s not right in my mind to hold it up to the standard of it should be a theory of everything or it’s not interesting.”[YouTube]

Andrew Strominger

“Black holes hold an impressive number of world records, both observational and theoretical. In astrophysics, they are believed to be the densest objects and to power the most luminous sources. In the theoretical realm, black holes push the extremes of gravitation and quantum mechanics and in several cases actually set fundamental limits—on density, entropy, and a growing list of other attributes—for quantum systems. Adam Brown and colleagues, now argue that we should add a new world record to the list: computational complexity.” [Black holes also saturate the bound on chaos.]

Thomas Hartman

“You might reasonably wonder what advantage physicists have over mathematicians in this game. After all, we’re certainly not smarter. (At least, not most of us.) And yet, there are times when we are able to leapfrog mathematicians and then turn around and present them with new results that sit firmly within their area of expertise. This seems unfair, like physicists have some kind of secret weapon that mathematicians are unable to wield. And we do. In fact, we have two. The first is the path integral. The second, a wilful disregard for rigour.” susyqm

“We are now at the end of this introductory course on string theory. We began by trying to make sense of the quantum theory of a relativistic string moving in flat space. It is, admittedly, an odd place to start. But from then on we had no choices to make. The relativistic string leads us ineluctably to conformal field theory, to higher dimensions of spacetime, to Einstein’s theory of gravity at low-energies, to good UV behaviour at high-energies and to Yang-Mills theories living on branes. There are few stories in theoretical physics where such meagre input gives rise to such a rich structure.

This journey continues. There is one further ingredient that it is necessary to add: supersymmetry. Even this is in some sense not a choice, but is necessary to remove the troublesome tachyon that plagued these lectures. From there we may again blindly follow where the string leads, through anomalies (and the lack thereof) in ten dimensions, to dualities and M-theory in eleven dimensions, to mirror symmetry and moduli stabilization and black hole entropy counting and holography and the miraculous AdS/CFT correspondence.” string

David Tong

“So, what is quantum mechanics? Even though it was discovered by physicists, it’s not a physical theory in the same sense as electromagnetism or general relativity. In the usual “hierarchy of sciences” – with biology at the top, then chemistry, then physics, then math – quantum mechanics sits at a level between math and physics that I don’t know a good name for. Basically, quantum mechanics is the operating system that other physical theories run on as application software (with the exception of general relativity, which hasn’t yet been successfully ported to this particular OS). There’s even a word for taking a physical theory and porting it to this OS: “to quantize.””

Scott Aaronson

“The world is made up of fields. Physically, these do not live on spacetime. They live, so to say, on one another. No more fields on spacetime, just fields on fields.”

“In pre-relativistic mechanics, time is a special physical quantity, whose value is measured by physical clocks, that plays the role of the independent variable of physical evolution.”

“Time is… the expression of our ignorance of the full microstate.”

Carlo Rovelli

“We actually have a candidate for the mind of God. The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God.”

Michio Kaku

“The question of the origin of the matter in the universe is no longer thought to be beyond the range of science — everything can be created from nothing…it is fair to say that the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”

Alan Guth

“Physics isn’t a religion. If it were, we’d have a much easier time raising money.”

Leon M. Lederman

“This is the best few tens of billions years in the history of the universe to do cosmology.”

Nima Arkani-Hamed

“The Big Bang is the poor man’s particle accelerator.”

Yakov Zeldovich

“Those of us engaged in scientific research generally do it because we can’t help it - because Nature is the biggest and most complicated jumbo holiday crossword puzzle you have ever seen.”

Edward Hinds

“Perhaps I may claim as evidence for progress in religion the fact that we no longer burn heretics.”

Freeman Dyson

“I must have been 8 or 9 when my father, a man of letters but well-read in every discipline and with a curious mind, told me this story: “A great scientist named Albert Einstein discovered that any object with a mass can’t travel faster than the speed of light”. To my bewilderment I replied, boldly: “This can’t be true, if I run almost at that speed and then accelerate a little, surely I will run faster than light, right?” My father was adamant: “No, it’s impossible to do what you say, it’s a known physics fact”. After a while I added: “That bloke, Einstein, must’ve checked this thing many times … how do you say, he did many experiments?” The answer I got was utterly unexpected: “Not even one I believe. He used maths!”

What did numbers and geometrical figures have to do with the existence of an upper limit to speed? How could one stand by such an apparently nonsensical statement as the existence of a maximum speed, although certainly true (I trusted my father), just based on maths? How could mathematics have such big a control on the real world? And Physics ? What on earth was it, and what did it have to do with maths? This was one of the most beguiling and irresistible things I had ever heard till that moment… I had to find out more about it.” [Preface to “Spectral Theory and Quantum Mechanics”]

Valter Moretti

“No one expects a guitarist to learn to play by going to concerts in Central Park or by spending hours reading transcriptions of Jimi Hendrix solos. Guitarists practice. Guitarists play the guitar until their fingertips are calloused. Similarly, physicists solve problems.”

M. Newman et al

“The reader who has read the book but cannot do the exercises has learned nothing.”

“… we see a number of sophisticated, yet uneducated, theoreticians who are conversant in the LSZ formalism of the Heisenberg field operators, but do not know why an excited atom radiates, or are ignorant of the quantum theoretic derivation of Rayleigh’s law that accounts for the blueness of the sky.”

J. J. Sakurai

“If there should really exist in nature any bodies, whose density is not less than that of the sun, and whose diameters are more than 500 times the diameter of the sun, since their light could not arrive at us; or if there should exist any other bodies of a somewhat smaller size, which are not naturally luminous; of the existence of bodies under either of these circumstances, we could have no information from sight; yet, if any other luminous bodies should happen to revolve about them we might still perhaps from the motions of these revolving bodies infer the existence of the central ones with some degree of probability, as this might afford a clue to some of the apparent irregularities of the revolving bodies, which would not be easily explicable on any other hypothesis; but as the consequences of such a supposition are very obvious, and the consideration of them somewhat beside my present purpose, I shall not prosecute them any further.”[In 1784 he realized Newtonian black holes]

John Michell

“There are countless suns and countless earths all rotating round their suns in exactly the same way as the seven planets of our system.”

“You may be more afraid to bring that sentence against me than I am to accept it.”8

Giordano Bruno

“The behavior of large and complex aggregates of elementary particles, it turns out, is not to be understood in terms of a simple extrapolation of a few particles. Instead, at each level of complexity entirely new properties appear, and the understanding of the new behaviors requires research which I think is as fundamental in its nature as any other.”

“Of course I am not religious—I don’t in fact see how any scientist who thinks at all deeply can be so …”

Philip W. Anderson

“If I were forced to sum up in one sentence what the Copenhagen interpretation says to me, it would be ‘Shut up and calculate!’”

“Question: What is the difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?
Answer: Theoretical physics is done by physicists who lack the necessary skills to do real experiments; mathematical physics is done by mathematicians who lack the necessary skills to do real mathematics.
Mathematical physicists tend not to like this joke, but other physicists seem to. Nonphysicists, of course, are entirely immune to its charms.”

N. David Mermin

“Bohr was inconsistent, unclear, willfully obscure and right. Einstein was consistent, clear, down-to-earth and wrong.”

John Stewart Bell

“No theorist in his right mind would have invented quantum mechanics unless forced to by data.”

Craig Hogan

“The general struggle for existence of animate beings is not a struggle for raw materials – these, for organisms, are air, water and soil, all abundantly available – nor for energy which exists in plenty in any body in the form of heat, but a struggle for negative entropy, which becomes available through the transition of energy from the hot sun to the cold earth.”

“Was it a god who wrote these lines…” [After seeing Maxwell’s equations for the first time]

Ludwig Boltzmann

“There is no Heaven, no Swarga, no Hell, no rebirth, no reincarnation and no immortality. The only thing that is true is that a man is born, he lives and he dies. Therefore, he should live his life properly.”

C. V. Raman

“My greatest discovery was Michael Faraday.”

Humphry Davy

“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.”

Jeremy England

“Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”

Victor J. Stenger

“Cosmology is peculiar among the sciences for it is both the oldest and the youngest. From the dawn of civilization man has speculated about the nature of the starry heavens and the origin of the world, but only in the present century has physical cosmology split away from general philosophy to become an independent discipline.”

Gerald James Whitrow

“Early universe cosmology without UV completion is religion.” Source

“Philosophy is in the Swampland.” Source

Swamp Thing

“I believe that the extraordinary should certainly be pursued. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

“And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos we’ve begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos.”

“Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.”

“If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.”

“The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough-mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration were needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.”

“If the general picture, however, of a Big Bang followed by an expanding Universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the Universe devoid of all matter and then the matter suddenly somehow created? How did that happen? In many cultures, the customary answer is that a God or Gods created the Universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: where did God come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the Universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God always existed, why not save a step, and conclude that the Universe always existed? That there’s no need for a creation, it was always here. These are not easy questions. Cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries, questions that were once treated only in religion and myth.

“The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

“In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.””

“Many religions lay out a set of precepts… and claim that these instructions were given by a god or gods. For example, the first code of law by Hammurabi of Babylon… was handed to him by the god Marduk… this is a bamboozle… a pious hoax. …if Hammurabi had merely said, “Here’s what I think everybody should do,” he would have been much less successful…”

“What I’m saying is, if God wanted to send us a message, and ancient writings were the only way he could think of doing it, he could have done a better job.”

“It took the Church until 1832 to remove Galileo’s work from its list of books which Catholics were forbidden to read at the risk of dire punishment of their immortal souls.”

“In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”

alt text

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan


“The physicists want to do path integrals, that is, they want to integrate some “Action Man functional” over the space of all paths or loops $\gamma:[0,1] \rightarrow Y$. This impossibly large integral is one of the major schisms between math and fizz. The physicists learn a number of computations in finite terms that approximate their path integrals, and when sufficiently skilled and imaginative, can use these to derive marvellous consequences; whereas the mathematicians give up on making sense of the space of paths, and not infrequently derive satisfaction or a misplaced sense of superiority from pointing out that the physicists’ calculations can equally well be used (or abused!) to prove $0=1$. Maybe it’s time some of us also evolved some skill and imagination. The motivic integration treated in the next section builds a miniature model of the physicists’ path integral, by restricting first to germs of holomorphic paths $\gamma: U \rightarrow Y$, where $0 \in U \subset \mathbb{C}$ is a neighbourhood of 0 , then to formal power series $\gamma: \operatorname{Spec} \mathbb{C} [\![z]\!]\rightarrow Y$.” [Source]

Miles Reid

“Physics is too hard for physicists.”9

“But he (Galileo) was not an idiot,… Only an idiot could believe that scientific truth needs martyrdom — that may be necessary in religion, but scientific results prove themselves in time.”

“If I were to awaken after having slept for a thousand years, my first question would be: Has the Riemann hypothesis been proven?”

“We must not believe those, who today, with philosophical bearing and deliberative tone, prophesy the fall of culture and accept the ignorabimus. For us there is no ignorabimus, and in my opinion none whatever in natural science. In opposition to the foolish ignorabimus our slogan shall be:

We must know — we will know!”10

“No one shall expel us from the Paradise that Cantor has created.”

“Every schoolboy in the streets of Göttingen knows more about higher-dimensional geometry than Einstein, but chalk is cheaper than gray matter.”

“Dr. von Neumann, I would very much like to know, what after all is a Hilbert space?”11

David Hilbert

“I was over the moon when I proved the moonshine conjecture. I sometimes wonder if this is the feeling you get when you take certain drugs. I don’t actually know, as I have not tested this theory of mine.”

Richard Borcherds

“… the first seven years I had worked on this problem I loved every minute of it however hard it had been. There had been setbacks, things which had seemed insurmountable but it was a kind of private and very personal battle I was engaged in and then after there was a problem with it, doing mathematics in that kind of rather overexposed way is certainly not my style, I certainly have no wish to repeat it …” YouTube

“… suddenly, totally unexpectedly, I had this incredible revelation. It was the most important moment of my working life. Nothing I ever do again … it was so indescribably beautiful, it was so simple and so elegant, and I just stared in disbelief for twenty minutes, then during the day I walked round the department. I’d keep coming back to my desk to see it was still there - it was still there.”

“… there’s no other problem that will mean the same to me. I had this very rare privilege of being able to pursue in my adult life what had been my childhood dream. I know its a rare privilege but if one can do this it’s more rewarding than anything I can imagine.”

“I carried this problem around in my head basically the whole time. I would wake up with it first thing in the morning, I would be thinking about it all day, and I would be thinking about it when I went to sleep. Without distraction I would have the same thing going round and round in my mind.”

“Fermat couldn’t possibly have had this proof.”

“I don’t believe Fermat had a proof. I think he fooled himself into thinking he had a proof.”

“I think one of the things that’s important in mathematics is not to have too good a memory and you have to keep going back trying the same thing in a slightly different way and if you had a really good memory you wouldn’t go back and try again because you would remember I’ve tried that doesn’t work.” YouTube

“That particular odyssey is now over. My mind is now at rest.”

Andrew Wiles

“Every mathematician worthy of the name has experienced, if only rarely, the state of lucid exaltation in which one thought succeeds another as if miraculously, and in which the unconscious (however one interprets this word) seems to play a role. In a famous passage, Poincaré describes how he discovered Fuchsian functions in such a moment. About such states, Gauss is said to have remarked as follows: “Procreare jucundum (to conceive is a pleasure)”; he added, however, “sed parturire molestum (but to give birth is painful).” Unlike sexual pleasure, this feeling may last for hours at a time, even for days. Once you have experienced it, you are eager to repeat it but unable to do so at will, unless perhaps by dogged work which it seems to reward with its appearance. It is true that the pleasure experienced is not necessarily in proportion with the value of the discoveries with which it is associated.”

“First rank scientists recruit first rank scientists, but second rank scientists tend to recruit third rank scientists, third rank scientists recruit fifth rank, and so on.”

“Is it mere coincidence that in India Pāṇini’s invention of grammar had preceded that of decimal notation and negative numbers, and that later on, both grammar and algebra reached the unparalleled heights for which the medieval civilization of the Arabic-speaking world is known?”

“Kantian ethic, or what passes for it today, has always seemed to me to be the height of arrogance and folly. Claiming always to behave according to the precepts of universal maxims is either totally inept or totally hypocritical; one can always find a maxim to justify whatever behavior one chooses. I could not count the times (for example, when I tell people I never vote in elections) that I have heard the objection: “But if everyone were to behave like you…” - to which I usually reply that this possibility seems to me so implausible that I do not feel obligated to take it into account.”

“One day I asked him [Hopf] what he would do when he got tired of topology. He replied in all seriousness: “But I’ll never get tired of topology!””

“My mathematics work is proceeding beyond my wildest hopes, and I am even a bit worried - if it’s only in prison that I work so well, will I have to arrange to spend two or three months locked up every year?”

André Weil

“Taking mathematicians from the beginning of the world to the time when Sir Isaac lived, what he had done was much the better half.”

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

“That, if a straight line falling on two straight lines make the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, meet on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles.”[Parallel postulate]

Euclid of Alexandria

“Mathematicians have tried in vain to this day to discover some order in the sequence of prime numbers, and we have reason to believe that it is a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate.”

“Whether … there are any odd perfect numbers is a most difficult question.”

Leonhard Euler

“I had no need of that hypothesis.” [When Napoleon said “Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator”]

“Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all.”

Pierre-Simon Laplace

“… a prolonged meditation on the subject has satisfied me that the existence of any one such [odd perfect number]—its escape, so to say, from the complex web of conditions which hem it in on all sides—would be little short of a miracle.”

James Joseph Sylvester

“Newton was the greatest genius that ever existed, and the most fortunate, for we cannot find more than once a system of the world to establish.”

“It took them only an instant to cut off that head [Antoine Lavoisier], but France may not produce another like it in a century.”

Joseph-Louis Lagrange

“My greatest concern was what to call it. I thought of calling it ‘information,’ but the word was overly used, so I decided to call it ‘uncertainty.’ When I discussed it with John von Neumann, he had a better idea. Von Neumann told me, ‘You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.’”

Claude Shannon

“Uh what is a spinor? Now I spent most of my life working on spinors in one form or another and I don’t know. Only god knows maybe Dirac but he’s no longer with us.” YouTube

“Algebra is the offer made by the devil to the mathematician. The devil says: `I will give you this powerful machine, it will answer any question you like. All you need to do is give me your soul: give up geometry and you will have this marvellous machine.’”

“The person I admire most is Hermann Weyl. I have found that in almost everything I have ever done in mathematics, Hermann Weyl was there first. Most of the areas I have worked in were areas where he worked and did pioneering, very deep work himself–except topology, of course, which came after his time. But he had interests in group theory, representation theory, differential equations, spectral properties of differential equations, differential geometry, theoretical physics; nearly everything I have done is very much in the spirit of the sort of things he worked in. And I entirely agree with his conceptions about mathematics and his view about what are the interesting things in mathematics.”

Michael Atiyah

“In these days the angel of topology and the devil of abstract algebra fight for the soul of each individual mathematical domain.”

“Galilei’s Principle of Inertia is sufficient in itself to prove conclusively that the world is affine in character.”

“The objective world simply is, it does not happen Only to the gaze of my consciousness, crawling upward along the life line [world line] of my body, does a section of this world come to life as a fleeting image in space which continuously changes in time.”

Hermann Weyl

“Good mathematicians see analogies between theorems or theories; the very best ones see analogies between analogies.”

Stefan Banach

“There can be no dull numbers, because if there were, the first of them would be interesting on account of its dullness.”

Martin Gardner

“This one’s from the Book!” [Said in regard to any particularly beautiful or elegant proof, referring to a Platonic abstract “book” that contains the proofs for all theorems.]

“Suppose aliens invade the earth and threaten to obliterate it in a year’s time unless human beings can find the Ramsey number for red five and blue five. We could marshal the world’s best minds and fastest computers, and within a year we could probably calculate the value. If the aliens demanded the Ramsey number for red six and blue six, however, we would have no choice but to launch a preemptive attack.”

“If numbers aren’t beautiful, I don’t know what is.”

“We’ll continue tomorrow — if I live.”

“Mathematics may not be ready for such problems.”

Paul Erdős

“Another person who would not have attached equal weight to the two statements was Paul Erdős, who bequeathed to the world an enormous number of fascinating problems, as well as solutions to many others, but is not associated to the same extent with the development of theory. This is not to deny that Erd˝os was trying to understand mathematics: many people who have solved an Erd˝os problem (alas, I am not one of them) will testify that, as they have thought harder and harder about it, they have been led in unexpectedly fruitful directions and come to realize that the problem was more than the amusing curiosity that it might at first have seemed. So when I say that mathematicians can be classified into theory-builders and problem-solvers, I am talking about their priorities, rather than making the ridiculous claim that they are exclusively devoted to only one sort of mathematical activity.” [From “The Two Cultures of Mathematics”]

Timothy Gowers

“We recognize the lion by his claw.” [After seeing Newton’s anonymous solution to the Brachistochrone problem.]

Johann Bernoulli

“The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar.”

“It [his idea of God] does not emphasize the ruling Caesar, or the ruthless moralist, or the unmoved mover. It dwells upon the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operates by love; and it finds purpose in the present immediacy of a kingdom not of this world. Love neither rules, nor is it unmoved; also it is a little oblivious as to morals. It does not look to the future; for it finds its own reward in the immediate present.”

“Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles requires continual development.”

“By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race.”

“The pursuit of mathematics is a divine madness of the human spirit.”

“The term many presupposes the term one, and the term one presupposes the term many.”

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

“It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.”

Alfred North Whitehead

“The Collatz conjecture is an extraordinarily difficult problem, completely out of reach of present day mathematics.”

Jeffrey Lagarias

“If a ‘religion’ is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Gödel taught us that mathematics is not only a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one.”

John D. Barrow

“Abel has left mathematicians enough to keep them busy for five hundred years.”

Charles Hermite

“For some problems the tools are not there. It doesn’t matter how smart or quick you are. The analogy I have is like climbing. If you want to climb a cliff that’s 10 meters high, you can probably do it with tools and equipment. But if it’s just a sheer cliff face, a mile high and there’s no handholds whatsoever, just forget it. Doesn’t matter how strong you are, you need to wait for some breakthrough, an opening that occurs halfway up and now you have some easier sub-goal.”

Terence Tao

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a closed differential form, in possession of an interpretation as a gauge field in a quantum field theory, must be in want of an integral refinement.”[2312.14338]

Arun Debray


“All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.”

“Kill not, cause no pain. Nonviolence (ahiṃsā) is the greatest religion.”

“Non-violence and kindness to living sentient beings is kindness to oneself.”

Mahāvīra (599–527 BCE)

Desires are the root cause of suffering.”12

“I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be consumed: when it is seen, heard, or suspected [that the animal was killed for one’s sake]. These are the three instances in which I say that meat should not be consumed.”13

“How then can it be compassionate to gorge on other beings’ blood and flesh? Monks who will not wear silks from the East, whether coarse or fine; who will not wear shoes or boots of leather, nor furs, nor birds’ down from our own country; and who will not consume milk, curds, or ghee, have truly freed themselves from the world.”

“These five trades, O monks, should not be taken up by a lay follower: trading with weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, trading in poison.”

“Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.”

“Suppose there were a file of blind men each in touch with the next: the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see. So too, Bhāradvāja, in regard to their statement the brahmins seem to be like a file of blind men: the first one does not see, the middle one does not see, and the last one does not see. What do you think, Bhāradvāja, that being so, does not the faith of the brahmins turn out to be groundless?”

“Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, craving for disbecoming.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”

“Now, Kalamas,
Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing (anussava),
nor upon tradition (paramparā),
nor upon rumor (itikirā),
nor upon what is in a scripture (piṭaka-sampadāna),
nor upon surmise (takka-hetu),
nor upon an axiom (naya-hetu),
nor upon specious reasoning (ākāra-parivitakka),
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over (diṭṭhi-nijjhān-akkh-antiyā),
nor upon another’s seeming ability (bhabba-rūpatāya),
nor upon the consideration, The monk is our teacher (samaṇo no garū).
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.”14

Siddhārtha Gautama15

“अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः तथाहिंसा परॊ दमः।
अहिंसा परमं दानम् अहिंसा परमस तपः।
अहिंसा परमॊ यज्ञः तथाहिस्मा परं बलम्।
अहिंसा परमं मित्रम् अहिंसा परमं सुखम्।
अहिंसा परमं सत्यम् अहिंसा परमं श्रुतम्॥”

^ Translates to:

“Ahimsa is the highest Dharma, Ahimsa is the highest self-control,
Ahimsa is the greatest gift, Ahimsa is the best practice,
Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice, Ahimsa is the finest strength,
Ahimsa is the greatest friend, Ahimsa is the greatest happiness,
Ahimsa is the highest truth, and Ahimsa is the greatest teaching.”[13.117.37–38]


“And so it would seem that the denial of the reality of time is not so very paradoxical after all. It was called paradoxical because it seemed to contradict our experience so violently-to compel us to treat so much as illusion which appears prima facie to give knowledge of reality. But we now see that our experience of time-centring as it does about the specious present-would be no less illusory if there were a real time in which the realities we experience existed. The specious present of our observations-varying as it does from you to me-cannot correspond to the present of the events, observed. And consequently the past and future of our observations could not correspond to the past and future of the events observed. On either hypothesis-whether we take time as real or as unreal-everything is observed in a specious present, but nothing, not even the observations themselves, can ever be in a specious present. And in that case I do not see that we treat experience as much more illusory when we say that nothing is ever in a present at all, than when we say that everything passes through some entirely different present.”[From the The Unreality of Time (1908) paper.]

J. M. E. McTaggart

“Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,
And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught
for their young, not noble ladies.
And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;
for injustice is the worst of crimes.
And spare the honey which the bees get industriously from the flowers of fragrant plants;
For they did not store it that it might belong to others,
Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.
I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I
Perceived my way before my hair went gray!”

“To let go from my hand a flea that I have caught is a kinder act than to bestow a dirhem on a man in need. There is no difference between the black earless creature which I release and the Black Prince of Kinda who bound the tiara (on his head). Both of them take precaution (against death); and life is dear to it (the flea), and it passionately desires the means of living.”

“The world holds two classes of men; intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”

“Do not suppose the statements of the prophets to be true; they are all fabrications. Men lived comfortably till they came and spoiled life. The sacred books are only such a set of idle tales as any age could have and indeed did actually produce.”

Al-Ma’arri(973-1057, 1st recorded vegan in history, Arab philosopher, poet, and writer and is regarded as one of the greatest classical Arabic poets)

“Skepticism, while logically impeccable, is psychologically impossible, and there is an element of frivolous insincerity in any philosophy which pretends to accept it.”

“Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?”

“Love is wise, hatred is foolish.”

“If there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt his existence.”

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts, he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”

“I think all the great religions of the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism - both untrue and harmful. It is evident as a matter of logic that, since they disagree, not more than one of them can be true. With very few exception, the religions which a man accepts is that of the community in which he lives, which makes it obvious that the influence of environment is what has led him to accept the religion in question.”

“If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject.” The argument is really no better than that.”

“Quite illogically, the victory of Locke’s philosophy in England and France was largely due to the prestige of Newton. Descartes’ authority as a philosopher was enhanced, in his own day, by his work in mathematics and natural philosophy. But his doctrine of vortices was definitely inferior to Newton’s law of gravitation as an explanation of the solar system. The victory of the Newtonian cosmogony diminished men’s respect for Descartes and increased their respect for England. Both these causes inclined men favourably towards Locke.”

“In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (Russell–Einstein Manifesto)

“I like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet or with the whole accidental universe – because, like Spinoza’s God, it won’t love us in return.”

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

“Among present-day religions Buddhism is the best. The doctrines of Buddhism are profound; they are almost reasonable, and historically they have been the least harmful and the least cruel. But I cannot say that Buddhism is positively good, nor would I wish to have it spread all over the world and believed by everyone. This is because Buddhism only focuses on the question of what Man is, not on what the universe is like. Buddhism does not really pursue the truth; it appeals to sentiment and, ultimately, tries to persuade people to believe in doctrines which are based on subjective assumptions not objective evidence.”

“A much more desirable way of securing world peace would be by a voluntary agreement among nations to pool their armed forces and submit to an agreed single supreme world government.”

“We have had in recent years a brilliant example of the scientific temper of mind in the theory of relativity and its reception by the world. Einstein, a German-Swiss-Jew pacifist, was appointed to a research professorship by the German Government in the early days of the War; his predictions were verified by an English expedition which observed the eclipse of 1919, very soon after the Armistice. His theory upsets the whole theoretical framework of traditional physics; it is almost as damaging to orthodox dynamics [Newtonian physics] as Darwin was to Genesis. Yet physicists everywhere have shown complete readiness to accept his theory as soon as it appeared that the evidence was in its favour. But none of them, least of all Einstein himself, would claim that he has said the last word. He has not built a monument of infallible dogma to stand for all time. There are difficulties he cannot solve; his doctrines will have to be modified in their turn as they have modified Newton’s. This critical undogmatic receptiveness is the true attitude of science.”

“I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely.” [Russell’s teapot]

“I love him [Wittgenstein] & feel he will solve the problems I am too old to solve … He is the young man one hopes for.”

“His [Wittgenstein’s] criticism, tho’ I don’t think you realized it at the time, was an event of first-rate importance in my life, and affected everything I have done since. I saw that he was right, and I saw that I could not hope ever again to do fundamental work in philosophy.”

“Just about at the time of the Armistice his father had died, and Wittgenstein inherited the bulk of his fortune. He came to the conclusion, however, that money is a nuisance to a philosopher, so he gave every penny of it to his brother and sisters. Consequently he was unable to pay the fare from Vienna to the Hague, and was far too proud to accept it from me. … He must have suffered during this time hunger and considerable privation, though it was very seldom that he could be induced to say anything about it, as he had the pride of Lucifer. At last his sister decided to build a house, and employed him as an architect. This gave him enough to eat for several years, at the end of which he returned to Cambridge as a don…”

“Wittgenstein is very excitable: he has more passion about philosophy than I have; his avalanches make mine seem mere snowballs. He has the pure intellectual passion in the highest degree; it makes me love him. His disposition is that of an artist, intuitive and moody. He says every morning he begins his work with hope, and every evening he ends in despair — he has just the sort of rage when he can’t understand things as I have.”

“The later Wittgenstein, on the contrary, seems to have grown tired of serious thinking and to have invented a doctrine which would make such an activity unnecessary. I do not for one moment believe that the doctrine which has these lazy consequences is true. I realize, however, that I have an overpoweringly strong bias against it, for, if it is true, philosophy is, at best, a slight help to lexicographers, and at worst, an idle tea-table amusement.”

“There are two great men in history with whom he [Wittgenstein] somewhat resembles. One was Pascal, other was Tolstoy. Pascal was a mathematician of genius, but abandoned mathematics for piety. Tolstoy sacrificed his genius as a writer to a kind of bogus humility which made him prefer peasants to educated men and Uncle Tom’s Cabin to all other works of fiction. Wittgenstein, who could play with metaphysical intricacies as cleverly as Pascal with Hexagons or Tolstoy with emperors, threw away this talent and debased himself before the peasants — in each case from an impulse of pride. I admired Wittgenstein’s Tractatus but not his later work, which seemed to me to involve an abnegation of his own best talent very similar to those of Pascal and Tolstoy…. [M]ental torments which made him and Pascal and Tolstoy pardonable in spite of their treachery to their own greatness.”

Bertrand Russell

“Don’t worry, I know you’ll never understand it. [Wittgenstein to Bertrand Russell, his Ph.D supervisor, after he had defended his Ph.D thesis]”

“Russell’s books should be bound in two colours, those dealing with mathematical logic in red – and all students of philosophy should read them; those dealing with ethics and politics in blue – and no one should be allowed to read them.”

“My work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not written. And precisely this second part is the important one.”

“The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know.”

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”

“A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.”

“If you use a trick in logic, whom can you be tricking other than yourself?”

“Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.”

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

“My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them… He must so to speak throw away the ladder…”

“Good!” [After his doctor told him he might live only a few days.]

“Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.” [last sentence]

Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Utilitarian theory is embarrassed by the possibility of utility monsters who get enormously greater sums of utility from any sacrifice of others than these others lose … the theory seems to require that we all be sacrificed in the monster’s maw, in order to increase total utility.” Utility monster

“There are also substantial puzzles when we ask what matters other than how people’s experiences feel “from the inside.” Suppose there were an experience machine that would give you any experience you desired. Superduper neuropsychologists could stimulate your brain so that you would think and feel you were writing a great novel, or making a friend, or reading an interesting book. All the time you would be floating in a tank, with electrodes attached to your brain. Should you plug into this machine for life, preprogramming your life’s experiences?.” Experience machine

“Our main conclusions about the state are that a minimal state, limited, to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified, but any more extensive state will violate persons’ rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right.”

“No state more extensive than the minimal state can be justified.”

Robert Nozick

“There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
But to be without sores is more pleasurable still.
Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires,
But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.”

“Without hope of reward
Provide help to others.
Bear suffering alone,
And share your pleasures with beggars.”

Nāgārjuna(2nd century Buddhist philosopher)

“Accepting the authority of the Vedas, believing in individual agency, hoping for merit from bathing, taking pride in caste, undertaking rites for the removal of evils: these are the five signs of stupidity, the destruction of intelligence.”

“A fire has just been lit to roast some meat. The fire hasn’t started sending up any smoke, but the smell of the meat has attracted a cloud of insects. From a distance, an observer sees the dark swarm above the horizon and mistakes it for smoke. “There’s a fire burning at that spot,” the distant observer says. Does the observer know that there is a fire burning in the distance?

A desert traveller is searching for water. He sees, in the valley ahead, a shimmering blue expanse. Unfortunately, it’s a mirage. But fortunately, when he reaches the spot where there appeared to be water, there actually is water, hidden under a rock. Did the traveller know, as he stood on the hilltop hallucinating, that there was water ahead?” [See Gettier problem]

Dharmakīrti(6th century Buddhist philosopher)

“If a bodhisattva does not make a sincere, unwavering effort in thought, word, and deed to stop all the present and future pain and suffering of all sentient beings, and to bring about all present and future pleasure and happiness, or does not seek the collection of conditions for that, or does not strive to prevent what is opposed to that, or does not bring about small pain and suffering as a way of preventing great pain and suffering, or does not abandon a small benefit in order to accomplish a greater benefit, if he neglects to do these things even for a moment, he undergoes a downfall. (see SS-G: 17).”

Śāntideva(8th-century Buddhist philosopher who was the first utilitarian)

Epicurus’s old questions are yet unanswered. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?”

“Ignorance is the mother of Devotion.”

“Survey most nations and most ages. Examine the religious principles, which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded, that they are any thing but sick men’s dreams: Or perhaps will regard them more as the playsome whimsies of monkies in human shape, than the serious, positive, dogmatical asseverations of a being, who dignifies himself with the name of rational.”

“No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact which it endeavours to establish.”

“When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened…. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.”

“I cannot forbear adding to these reasonings an observation, which may, perhaps, be found of some importance. In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprized to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, it is necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.”16

David Hume

“Induction is the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy.” [Hume’s problem of induction]

C. D. Broad

“The reasons for legal intervention in favour of children, apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves and victims of the most brutal part of mankind, the lower animals.”

“Granted that any practice causes more pain to animals than it gives pleasure to man; is that practice moral or immoral? And if, exactly in proportion as human beings raise their heads out of the slough of selfishness, they do not with one voice answer ‘immoral,’ let the morality of the principle of utility be for ever condemned.”

“It is not because men’s desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak.”

John Stuart Mill

“The chief objection I have to Pantheism is that it says nothing. To call the world “God” is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superfluous synonym for the word “world”.”

“The bad thing about all religions is that, instead of being able to confess their allegorical nature, they have to conceal it.”

“Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, ‘Thou shalt make no graven image.’”

“And, above all, don’t let us forget India, the cradle of the human race, or at least of that part of it to which we belong, where first Mohammedans, and then Christians, were most cruelly infuriated against the adherents of the original faith of mankind. The destruction or disfigurement of the ancient temples and idols, a lamentable, mischievous and barbarous act, still bears witness to the monotheistic fury of the Mohammedans, carried on from Mahmud the Ghaznevid of cursed memory down to Aureng Zeb, the fratricide, whom the Portuguese Christians have zealously imitated by destruction of temples and the auto da fe of the inquisition at Goa.”

Buddhism is the best of all possible religions.

“Thus, because Christian morality leaves animals out of account … they are at once outlawed in philosophical morals; they are mere “things,” mere means to any ends whatsoever. They can therefore be used for vivisection, hunting, coursing, bullfights, and horse racing, and can be whipped to death as they struggle along with heavy carts of stone. Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, chandalas, and mlechchhas, and that fails to recognize the eternal essence that exists in every living thing ….”

Arthur Schopenhauer

“In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.”

“I shall then suppose . . . some evil genius not less powerful than deceitful, has employed his whole energies in deceiving me; I shall consider that . . . all . . . external things are but illusions and dreams of which this genius has availed himself to lay traps for my credulity.”

René Descartes

“We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstruction.”17

Otto Neurath

Existence precedes essence.”

“The absurd man will not commit suicide; he wants to live, without relinquishing any of his certainty, without a future, without hope, without illusions … and without resignation either. He stares at death with passionate attention, and this fascination liberates him. He experiences the “divine irresponsibility” of the condemned man.”

“For if God is consciousness, he is integrated in the totality. And if by his nature he is a being beyond consciousness (that is, an in-itself which would be its own foundation) still the totality can appear to him only as object (in that case he lacks the totality’s internal integration as the subjective effort to reapprehend the self) or as subject (then since God is not this subject, he can only experience it without knowing it). Thus no point of view on the totality is conceivable; the totality has no ‘outside’ and the very question of the meaning of the ‘underside’ is stripped of meaning. We cannot go further.” [p. 302 of Being and Nothingness. The translator Hazel E. Barnes explained in the preface that this para means “Again we can not without contradiction look on God as an intelligent being who both transcends and includes the totality.”]

Jean-Paul Sartre

“If existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. It is touched upon by JeanPaul Sartre in Being and Nothingness.”

Tom Schneider

Here is one hand,
And here is another.
There are at least two external objects in the world.
Therefore, an external world exists.”

G. E. Moore

“All of us, I believe, are fortunate to have been born.”

“There are elements which, if added to one’s experience, make life better; there are other elements which if added to one’s experience, make life worse. But what remains when these are set aside is not merely neutral: it is emphatically positive. … The additional positive weight is supplied by experience itself, rather than by any of its consequences.”

“Our own experience provides the basic material for our imagination, whose range is therefore limited. It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing on one’s arms, which enables one to fly around at dusk and dawn catching insects in one’s mouth; that one has very poor vision, and perceives the surrounding world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals; and that one spends the day hanging upside down by one’s feet in an attic. In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would be like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Yet if I try to imagine this, I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task. I cannot perform it either by imagining additions to my present experience, or by imagining segments gradually subtracted from it, or by imagining some combination of additions, subtractions, and modifications.” What Is It Like to Be a Bat?

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

“I agree with Dawkins that the issue of design versus purely physical causation is a scientific question. He is correct to dismiss Stephen Jay Gould’s position that science and religion are “non-overlapping magisteria.” The conflict is real. But although I am as much of an outsider to religion as he is, I believe it is much more difficult to settle the question than he thinks. I also suspect there are other possibilities besides these two that have not even been thought of yet. The fear of religion leads too many scientifically minded atheists to cling to a defensive, world-flattening reductionism. Dawkins, like many of his contemporaries, is hobbled by the assumption that the only alternative to religion is to insist that the ultimate explanation of everything must lie in particle physics, string theory, or whatever purely extensional laws govern the elements of which the material world is composed. This reductionist dream is nourished by the extraordinary success of the physical sciences in our time, not least in their recent application to the understanding of life through molecular biology. It is natural to try to take any successful intellectual method as far as it will go. Yet the impulse to find an explanation of everything in physics has over the last fifty years gotten out of control. The concepts of physical science provide a very special, and partial, description of the world that experience reveals to us. It is the world with all subjective consciousness, sensory appearances, thought, value, purpose, and will left out. What remains is the mathematically describable order of things and events in space and time.”

Thomas Nagel

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

“I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”

“The modern scientific counterpart to belief in God is the belief in the universe as an organism: this disgusts me. This is to make what is quite rare and extremely derivative, the organic, which we perceive only on the surface of the earth, into something essential, universal, and eternal! This is still an anthropomorphizing of nature!”

“For man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bull-fights, and crucifixions hath he hitherto been happiest on earth; and when he invented his hell, behold, that was his heaven on earth.”

“Man, the bravest animal and most prone to suffer, does not deny suffering as such: he wills it, he even seeks it out, provided he is shown a meaning for it, a purpose of suffering.”

“After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, — an immense frightful shadow. God is dead: but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. — And we — we have still to overcome his shadow!”

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

“The greatest recent event—that ‘God is dead,’ that the belief in the Christian god has become unbelievable—is already beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe.”

“[T]he decline of the faith in the Christian god, the triumph of scientific atheism, is a generally European event in which all races had their share and for which all deserve credit and honor.[ . . . U]nconditional and honest atheism [ . . . is] a triumph achieved finally and with great difficulty by the European conscience, being the most fateful act of two thousand years of discipline.”

“Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) – It does not speak of a “struggle with sin,” but, yielding to reality, of the “struggle with suffering”.”

“Buddhism already has - and this distinguishes it profoundly from Christianity - the self-deception of moral concepts behind it - it stands, in my language, Beyond Good and Evil.”

“Pity makes suffering contagious.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

“My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.

George Santayana

“The principle can be established that for a man who does not cheat, what he believes to be true must determine his action. Belief in the absurdity of existence must then dictate his conduct.”

“For who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment’s human suffering?”

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect. If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the actions it entails. I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument.”

“An international legal code is indeed now being prepared. But this code is made and broken by governments, that is by the executive power. We are thus faced with a regime of international dictatorship. The only way of extricating ourselves is to create a world parliament through elections in which all peoples will participate, which will enact legislation which will exercise authority over national governments.”

Albert Camus

“Less well known [than other paradoxes] is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

“Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.”

“…no matter how many instances of white swans we may have observed, this does not justify the conclusion that all swans are white.”

“The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.”

“True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.”

“Since we can never know anything for sure, it is simply not worth searching for certainty; but it is well worth searching for truth; and we do this chiefly by searching for mistakes, so that we have to correct them.”

“You can choose whatever name you like for the two types of government. I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence “democracy”, and the other “tyranny”.”

“If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, the wish to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defence civilization depends, and to divide them. The responsibility of this tragic and possibly fatal division becomes ours if we hesitate to be outspoken in our criticism of what admittedly is a part of our intellectual heritage. By reluctance to criticize some of it, we may help to destroy it all.

“I believe that there is, from the ethical point of view, no symmetry between suffering and happiness, or between pain and pleasure. Both the greatest happiness principle of the Utilitarians and Kant’s principle ‘Promote other people’s happiness ..’ seem to me (at least in their formulations) wrong on this point which, however, is not completely decidable by rational argument. In my opinion human suffering makes a direct moral appeal, namely, the appeal for help, while there is no similar call to increase the happiness of a man who is doing well anyway. (A further criticism of the Utilitarian formula ‘Maximize pleasure’ is that it assumes, in principle, a continuous pleasure-pain scale which allows us to treat degrees of pain as negative degrees of pleasure. But, from the moral point of view, pain cannot be outweighed by pleasure, and especially not one man’s pain by another man’s pleasure. Instead of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, one should demand, more modestly, the least amount of avoidable suffering for all; and further, that unavoidable suffering—such as hunger in times of an unavoidable shortage of food—should be distributed as equally as possible.)”

Karl Popper

“Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?”

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.”


“Does it not shame you to mingle murder and blood with their beneficent fruits? Other carnivora you call savage and ferocious - lions and tigers and serpents - while yourselves come behind them in no species of barbarity. And yet for them murder is the only means of sustenance; whereas to you it is a superfluous luxury and crime!”


“For if the moral law commands that we ought to be better human beings now, it inescapably follows that we must be capable of being better human beings.”[Ought implies can]

“Religion is too important a matter to its devotees to be a subject of ridicule. If they indulge in absurdities, they are to be pitied rather than ridiculed.”

“There is … only a single categorical imperative and it is this: Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

“The death of dogma is the birth of morality.”

“I freely admit: it was David Hume’s remark that first, many years ago, interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave a completely different direction to my enquiries in the field of speculative philosophy.”

“As everybody likes to be honoured, so people imagine that God also wants to be honoured. They forget that the fulfilment of duty towards men is the only honour adequate to him. Thus is formed the conception of a religion of worship, instead of a merely moral religion. … Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly.”

“Man’s greatest concern is to know how he shall properly fill his place in the universe and correctly understand what he must be in order to be a man.”

“Beneficence is a duty. He who often practices this, and sees his beneficent purpose succeed, comes at last really to love him whom he has benefited.”

“For the natural use that one sex makes of the other’s sexual organs is enjoyment, for which one gives oneself up to the other. In this act a human being makes himself into a thing, which conflicts with the right of humanity in his own person.” [1797, Metaphysics of Morals, p. 62]

“Sexual love makes of the loved person an Object of appetite; as soon as that appetite has been stilled, the person is cast aside as one casts away a lemon which has been sucked dry. Sexual love can, of course, be combined with human love and so carry with it the characteristics of the latter, but taken by itself and for itself, it is nothing more than appetite. Taken by itself it is a degradation of human nature; for as soon as a person becomes an Object of appetite for another, all motives of moral relationship cease to function, because as an Object of appetite for another a person becomes a thing and can be treated and used as such by every one. This is the only case in which a human being is designed by nature as the Object of another’s enjoyment. Sexual desire is at the root of it; and that is why we are ashamed of it, and why all strict moralists, and those who had pretensions to be regarded as saints, sought to suppress and extirpate it. It is true that without it a man would be incomplete; he would rightly believe that he lacked the necessary organs, and this would make him imperfect as a human being; none the less men made pretence on this question and sought to suppress these inclinations because they degraded mankind.” [1760s, Lectures on Ethics, p. 163]

“If then a man wishes to satisfy his desire, and a woman hers, they stimulate each other’s desire ; their inclinations meet, but their object is not human nature but sex, and each of them dishonours the human nature of the other. They make of humanity an instrument for the satisfaction of their lusts and inclinations, and dishonour it by placing it on a level with animal nature. Sexuality, therefore, exposes mankind to the danger of equality with the beasts.” [1760s, Lectures on Ethics, p. 164]

Better the whole people perish than that injustice be done.

Immanuel Kant

“I wonder why, human beings throughout the world don’t see this simple fact, that you cannot possibly have peace on earth if you are nationalistically divided. Nationalism is merely the glorification of tribalism, and every politician right throughout the world maintains this tribalism, this division. This has been the history of mankind, and nobody has applied his mind and said, ‘Look, let’s stop all this!’” [YouTube]

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

“Superstition is another mighty evil, and has caused much terrible cruelty. The man who is a slave to it despises others who are wiser, tries to force them to do as he does. Think of the awful slaughter produced by the superstition that animals should be sacrificed, and by the still more cruel superstition that man needs flesh for food. Think of the treatment which superstition has meted out to the depressed classes in our beloved India, and see in that how this evil quality can breed heartless cruelty even among those who know the duty of brotherhood. Many crimes have men committed in the name of the God of Love, moved by this nightmare of superstition; be very careful therefore that no slightest trace of it remains in you.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

“If God existed, only in one way could he serve human liberty — by ceasing to exist.”

“The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.”

“If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”

Mikhail Bakunin

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

Seneca the Younger

“The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.”

Denis Diderot

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (His ideology condensed into a sentence by Evelyn Beatrice Hall)

“One very singular difference in the lives of these two great men [Newton & Descartes] is, that Sir Isaac, during the long course of years he enjoyed, was never sensible to any passion, was not subject to the common frailties of mankind, nor ever had any commerce with women — a circumstance which was assured me by the physician and surgeon who attended him in his last moments.”

“Confucius has no interest in falsehood; he did not pretend to be prophet; he claimed no inspiration; he taught no new religion; he used no delusions; flattered not the emperor under whom he lived…”

“Ours [i.e., the Christian religion] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. … My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out.”

“Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, equally contrary to humanity and commerce. The Portuguese monks made us believe that the people worshipped the devil, and it is they who have served him.”

“The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.”18


“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”

Georgia Harkness

“The Hiddenness Argument: philosophy’s new challenge to belief in god: You’re still a small child, and an amnesiac, but this time you’re in the middle of a vast rain forest, dripping with dangers of various kinds. You’ve been stuck there for days, trying to figure out who you are and where you came from. You don’t remember having a mother who accompanied you into this jungle, but in your moments of deepest pain and misery you call for her anyway, ‘Mooooommmmmmm!’ Over and over again. For days and days … the last time when a jaguar comes at you out of nowhere … but with no response. What should you think in this situation? In your dying moments, what should cross your mind? Would the thought that you have a mother who cares about you and hears your cry and could come to you but chooses not to even make it onto the list?”

J. L. Schellenberg

“Nations are artificial constructs, their boundaries drawn in the blood of past wars.”

“There is no greater social evil than religion. It is the cancer in the body of humanity.”

“Outside the formal disciplines of logic and mathematics there are no absolute certainties—except of course in religion, which abounds in them, to the extent that people commit murder for their sake.”

“The one thing that is more dangerous than true ignorance is the illusion of understanding.”

A. C. Grayling

“In philosophy, if you think the answer is obvious, you haven’t understood the question.” [Twitter]

Keith Frankish

“Some say that consciousness is an “illusion,” but I have little idea what this could even mean. It seems to me that we are surer of the existence of conscious experience than we are of anything else in the world.”

David Chalmers

“I am a 21st Century person who was accidentally launched in the 20th. I have a deep nostalgia for the future.”

“There are no illegal immigrants, only irrelevant borders.”

“No civilization of the past was great. They were all primitive and persecutory, founded on mass subjugation and mass murder.”


“You can’t help people that don’t want to be helped.”

John Armstrong

“I have seen a great people starving to death before my eyes [in India], and I am convinced that this exhaustion and starvation are due not, as their beneficiaries claim, to over-population and superstition, but to the most sordid and criminal exploitation of one nation by another in all recorded history. I propose to show that England has year by year been bleeding India to the point of death, and that self-government of India by the Hindus could not, within any reasonable probability, have worse results than the present form of alien domination.”

“The British conquest of India was the invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company (the British East India Company) utterly without scruple or principle, careless of art and greedy of gain, over-running with fire and sword a country temporarily disordered and helpless, bribing and murdering, annexing and stealing, and beginning that career of illegal and ‘legal’ plunder which has now (1930) gone on ruthlessly for one hundred and seventy-three years.”

“The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.”

“In the political sense Ashoka had failed; in another sense he had accomplished one of the greatest tasks in history. Within two hundred years after his death Buddhism had spread throughout India, and was entering upon the bloodless conquest of Asia. If to this day, from Kandy in Ceylon to Kamakura in Japan, the placid face of Gautama bids men be gentle to one another and love peace, it is partly because a dreamer, perhaps a saint, once held the throne of India.”

Will Durant


“Napoleon, and other great men of his type, they were makers of empire. But there is an order of men that get beyond that: They are not makers of empire, but they are makers of universe. And when they have made those universes, their hands are unstained by the blood of any human being on earth. … Ptolemy made a universe, which lasted 1400 years. Newton also made a universe, which has lasted 300 years. Einstein has made a universe, and I can’t tell you how long that will last.” [YouTube]

“The fact that a believer [of a religion] is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.”

“Einstein denies Newton infallible.”

George Bernard Shaw

“Everyone knows Newton as the great scientist. Few remember that he spent half his life muddling with alchemy, looking for the philosopher’s stone. That was the pebble by the seashore he really wanted to find..”

Fritz Leiber

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

Thomas Edison

“[T]he interests of science have suffered by the excessive admiration and wonder, with which several first rate philosophers are considered; and… an opinion of the greater equality of mankind, in point of genius, and powers of understanding, would be of real service in the present age.”

Joseph Priestley

“If there is a God, atheism must strike Him as less of an insult than religion.”

Edmond de Goncourt

“While science as a process only requires methodological naturalism, the practice or adoption of methodological naturalism entails a logical and moral belief in philosophical naturalism, so they are not logically decoupled.”

Steven Schafersman

“Clarke’s three laws:
1.When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2.The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3.Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop there”

“The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.”

Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the non-existence of Zeus or Thor — but they have few followers now.”

“The rash assertion that ‘God made man in His own image’ is ticking like a time bomb at the foundation of many faiths, and as the hierarchy of the universe is disclosed to us, we may have to recognize this chilling truth: if there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods.”

“Religion is the most malevolent and persistent of all mind viruses. We should get rid of it as quick as we can.”

“It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.”

Arthur C. Clarke

“If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.

I would also want a God who would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don’t believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of Hitler. Besides, if most human governments are civilized enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God?

I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment should be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.”

Isaac Asimov

“Time, is what keeps everything from happening at once.”

Ray Cummings

“Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.”

Robert A. Heinlein

“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.”

Animals whom we have made our slaves we do not like to consider our equals. — Do not slave holders wish to make the black man other kind? — animals with affections, imitation, fear of death, pain, sorrow for the dead. — respect.”

“Disinterested love for all living creatures, the most noble attribute of man.”

“Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.”

“The highest stage in moral culture at which we can arrive, is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.”

“As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. If, indeed, such men are separated from him by great differences in appearance or habits, experience unfortunately shews us how long it is before we look at them as our fellow-creatures. Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions. It is apparently unfelt by savages, except towards their pets. How little the old Romans knew of it is shewn by their abhorrent gladiatorial exhibitions. The very idea of humanity, as far as I could observe, was new to most of the Gauchos of the Pampas. This virtue, one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings. As soon as this virtue is honoured and practised by some few men, it spreads through instruction and example to the young, and eventually through public opinion.”

“Physiological experiment on animals is justifiable for real investigation; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity.”

“Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.”

“Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”

“Alas! A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone.”

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

“To my mind there are no advantages and many disadvantages in lectures compared with reading.”

“I attempted mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth, but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.”

“Even ill-health, though it has annihilated several years of my life, has saved me from the distractions of society and amusement.”

Charles Darwin

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

Thomas Paine

“You cannot insult a man more atrociously than by refusing to believe he is suffering.”

Cesare Pavese

“I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.”

“So git is my second big project which is only created to maintain my first big project.”

Linus Torvalds

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here how to quantize gravity, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable a universe in which quantizing gravity is even harder. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” [The original is strickenthrough and edited]

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

“Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for. We all know that at some point in the future the Universe will come to an end and at some other point, considerably in advance from that but still not immediately pressing, the sun will explode. We feel there’s plenty of time to worry about that, but on the other hand that’s a very dangerous thing to say.”

“”Sir Isaac Newton, renowned inventor of the milled-edge coin and the catflap!”
“The what?” said Richard.
“The catflap! A device of the utmost cunning, perspicuity and invention. It is a door within a door, you see, a …“
“Yes,” said Richard, “there was also the small matter of gravity.”
“Gravity,” said Dirk with a slightly dismissive shrug, “yes, there was that as well, I suppose. Though that, of course, was merely a discovery. It was there to be discovered.” …
“You see?” he said dropping his cigarette butt, “They even keep it on at weekends. Someone was bound to notice sooner or later. But the catflap … ah, there is a very different matter. Invention, pure creative invention. It is a door within a door, you see.””

Douglas Adams

“In a way, it feels like the cruelest joke in existence has been played on us. We became self-aware only to realize this story is not about us. While it is great to know about electrons and the powerhouse of the cell, science doesn’t do a lot to make this less depressing.” [YouTube]

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

Gordon Allport

“The misnaming of fields of study is so common as to lead to what might be general systems laws. For example, Frank Harary once suggested the law that any field that had the word “science” in its name was guaranteed thereby not to be a science. He would cite as examples Military Science, Library Science, Political Science, Homemaking Science, Social Science, and Computer Science.”

Gerald M. Weinberg

“When about 16 years of age, I happen’d to meet with a book written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined to go into it … [By not eating meat] I presently found that I could save half what [my brother] paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books: but I had another advantage in it … I made the greater progress from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.”

“Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.”

Benjamin Franklin

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.”

James Branch Cabell

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Jane Austen

“However statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by invoking a designer, the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable. God is the Ultimate Boeing 747.”

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Richard Dawkins

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

“Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out, and astronomy takes the place of astrology.”

“If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.”

“Religion has run out of justifications.”

“Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things… one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority.”

“Until 1834 the very word “scientist” was not in common circulation. Men like Sir Isaac Newton were considered, and considered themselves, to be “natural philosophers”: men of scientific bent to be sure, but men of a wider and deeper learning as well. Arguments about greater cosmic purposes were all of a piece with calculations and experiments, and the tyranny of specialization had not imposed itself on us. As a result, by the way, many scientists held completely “unscientific” views. Newton himself was a secret alchemist who believed that the pope was anti-Christ and that the true dimensions of the Temple of Solomon might yield crucial findings. Joseph Priestley, the Unitarian discoverer of oxygen, was a devotee of the phlogiston theory. Alfred Russel Wallace liked nothing better than a good spiritualist séance. It is not really until the figure of Albert Einstein (and perhaps Bertrand Russell also) that we start to find that very powerful synthesis between scientific method and a more general “humanism”; a synthesis basing itself upon reason and daring to make the connection between physical and natural evidence and the conclusion that an ethical life, as well as a rational one, is best believed on the assumption that there is no supernatural dimension.”

“Read one page of Stephen Hawking about the event horizon, about the possibility that we will soon know, not where the universe originated, but where it is tended, and the event horizon to which we may all be headed. There is more to inspire awe in one page of Stephen Hawking, than in any of the fantasies of Tertullian, imagining that he could go to the window of heaven, when he was promoted there, and look down, for his consolation, on the torments of the damned. There is much more to be awe-inspired by, in a page of Hawking, than in any number of burning bushes, or other such myths.”

“Why, if God was the creator of all things, were we supposed to “praise” him for what came naturally?”

“If Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, then why not heal blindness?”

“Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.”

“Since human beings are naturally solipsistic, all forms of superstition enjoy what might be called a natural advantage.”

“An impressive thing about India is the way in which it has almost as many Muslim citizens, who live with greater prospects of peace and prosperity, as does Pakistan. This comity and integration is one of the many targets of the suicide killers, and it is another reason why firm, warm solidarity with India is the most pressing need of the present hour.”

Christopher Hitchens

“Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept.”

“There are very good reasons to think it’s not true and we know this from now 150 years of neurology where you damage areas of the brain and faculties are lost. It’s not that everyone with brain damage has their soul perfectly intact, they can’t get the words out. Everything about your mind can be damaged by damaging the brain. You can cease to recognize faces, you can cease to know the names of animals but you still know the names of tools. The fragmentation in the way in which our mind is parcellated at the level of the brain is not at all intuitive, and there’s a lot known about it.

And what we’re being asked to consider is that you damage one part of the brain and something about the mind and subjectivity is lost, you damage another and yet more is lost, and yet if you damage the whole thing at death we can rise off the brain with all our faculties intact, recognizing grandma and speaking English.”

“Jainism actually is a religion of peace. The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Gandhi got his non-violence from the Jains. The crazier you get as a Jain, the less we have to worry about you. Jain extremists are paralysed by their pacifism. Jain extremists can’t take their eyes off the ground when they walk lest they step on an ant … Needless to say they are vegetarian.”

Sam Harris

“How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and hard it is to undo that work again!” (Often paraphrased as “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”)

“The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.”

“Lincoln’s Proclamation … not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also.”

“There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing, and predatory as it is – in our country particularly and in all other Christian countries in a somewhat modified degree – it is still a hundred times better than the Christianity of the Bible, with its prodigious crime – the invention of Hell. Measured by our Christianity of to-day, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the Deity nor his Son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled.”

“Belgium’s royal palace is still what it has been for the last 14 years: a lair of a wild beast that for its money every year mutilates, murders and starves a half million helpless natives in the Congo Free State.”

Mark Twain

“Religion is so pathetically absurd and infantile that it is humiliating and embarrassing to think that the majority of people will never rise above it.”

“Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.”

“Cruelty and intolerance to those who do not belong to it are natural to every religion.”

“Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion.”

“Religion is a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. Religion’s eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not question.””

Sigmund Freud

“I interrupt you in the name of the people of the world not represented here. Though my words may be unheeded, our common need for world law and order can no longer be disregarded.

We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give. The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war.

I call upon you no longer to deceive us by this illusion of political authority. I call upon you to convene forthwith a World Constitutional Assembly to raise the standard around which all men can gather, the standard of true peace, of One Government for One World.”

Garry Davis

“Any man who stands for progress has to criticize, disbelieve and challenge every item of the old faith. Item by item he has to reason out every nook and corner of the prevailing faith. If after considerable reasoning one is led to believe in any theory or philosophy, his faith is welcomed. His reasoning can be mistaken, wrong, misled and sometimes fallacious. But he is liable to correction because reason is the guiding star of his life. But mere faith and blind faith is dangerous: it dulls the brain, and makes a man reactionary.”

Bhagat Singh

“We have a great deal of evidence to show that the R.S.S. is an organization which is in the nature of a private army and which is definitely proceeding on strictest Nazi lines, even following the technique of organization. […] The Nazi party brought Germany to ruin and I have little doubt that if these tendencies are allowed to spread and increase in India, they would do enormous injury to India.”

“No country or people who are slaves to dogma and dogmatic mentality can progress, and unhappily our country and people have become extraordinarily dogmatic and little-minded.”

“The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.”

“[When asked in 1963 that “now that there is Communist government in Kerala, what would happen if communists came to power at the Centre?”] - Communists, communists! Why are you all so obsessed with communism and communists? What is that the communists can do what we cannot do and have not done?… Why do you imagine the communists will ever be voted to power at the Centre? The danger to India, mark you, is not Communism. It is Hindu right-wing communalism.”19

“When the minority communities are communal, you can see that and understand it. But the communalism of a majority community is apt to be taken for nationalism.”

“Religion is not familiar ground for me, and as I have grown older, I have definitely drifted away from it.”

“As you know, the ban on the RSS has been removed…. This does not mean that we are convinced about the bona fides of the RSS movement…. Our general relaxation in the field of civil liberties will certainly not mean the slightest relaxation in meeting violence against the individual or the state, wherever it occurs and whatever form it might take.”

“…RSS is again resuming some of its activities…. The whole mentality of the RSS is a fascist mentality. Therefore, their activities have to be very closely watched.”

“I am greatly worried about the Somnath affair. As I feared, it is assuming a certain political importance. Indeed references have been made to it internationally also. In criticism of our policy in regard to it, we are asked how a secular Government such as ours can associate itself with such a ceremony which is, in addition, revivalist in character. Questions are being put to me in Parliament and I am replying to them saying that Government has nothing to do with it and those persons who are connected in any way are functioning entirely in their personal capacity.” [Letter to the first president of India Rajendra Prasad.]

“I mentioned to the President sometime ago that I did not fancy his visiting the Somnath temple on this occasion. He said he had promised to do so and it was difficult for him to get out of his promise. There is nothing more to be done about it. But I have made it clear both to the President and to Mr. Munshi that I do not at all like these activities.”

“But apart from this, I must be quite frank with you [Jam Saheb] about this ceremony. Indeed I have written to you about it in another connection already. I am troubled by this revivalism and by the fact that our President and some Ministers and you as Rajpramukh are associated with it. I think that this is not in line with the nature of our State and it will have bad consequences both nationally and internationally. As individuals, of course, it is open to anyone to do what he chooses in such matters. But many of us happen to be more than private individuals and we cannot dissociate ourselves from our public capacities.”

“Reports from many sources have reached me that the communal atmosphere is again becoming tense, and that particularly the people who belong to the RSS…are becoming vocal and demonstrative again…. Many of the RSS men who had been arrested previously, detained in prison for sometime and then subsequently released, are again taking part in these activities in spite of assurances they might have given.”

“We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence.”

“The experience of a man should not be measured by the number of years he has lived, but rather by the number of problems he has solved.”

“Future peace, security and ordered progress of the world demand a world federation of free nations, and on no other basis can the problems of the world be solved. Such a world federation would ensure the freedom of its constituent nations, the prevention of aggression and exploitation of one nation over another, the protection of national minorities, the advancement of all backward areas and peoples, and the pooling of the world’s resources for the common good of all. On the establishment of such a world federation, disarmament would be practicable in all countries, national armies, navies and air forces would no longer be necessary, and a world federal defence force would keep the peace and prevent aggression. …The Committee regretfully realizes, however, despite the tragic and overwhelming lessons of the war and the perils that overhang the world, the Governments of few countries are yet prepared to take this inevitable step towards world federation.”

“We must constantly remind ourselves that whatever our religion or creed, we are all one people. I regret that many recent disturbances have given us a bad name. Many have acquiesced to the prevailing spirit. This is not citizenship. Citizenship consists in the service of the country. We must prevail on the evil-doers to stop their activities. If you, men of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, serve your countrymen without distinction of class and religion, you will bring honour to yourselves and to your country.”

“Instead of understanding and following the teachings of Jesus, the Christians argued and quarreled about the nature of Jesus’s divinity and about the Trinity. They called each other heretics and persecuted each other and cut each other’s heads off. There was a great and violent controversy at one time among different Christian sects over a certain diphthong. One party said that the word Homo-ousion should be used in a prayer; the other wanted Homoi-ousion-this difference had reference to the divinity of Jesus. Over this diphthong fierce war was raged and large numbers of people were slaughtered.”

“The general Muslim outlook was thus one of Muslim nationalism or Muslim internationalism, and not of true nationalism. … On the other hand, the Hindu idea of nationalism was definitely one of Hindu nationalism. It was not easy in this case (as it was in the case of the Muslims) to draw a sharp line between this Hindu nationalism and true nationalism. The two overlapped, as India is the only home of the Hindus and they form a majority there.”

“Tibet is a very ticklish issue… We have to proceed rather cautiously in regard to it and we do not want it stated that we have been addressing the Chinese Government on this subject. They are sensitive and this itself might create an undesirable reaction in them… For some time past, I have been asked questions about Tibet at press conferences. I have answered them rather vaguely and tried to avoid any direct commitment… We do not intend to make any such clear declaration because whatever we say may be embarrassing either from a Chinese or a Tibetan point of view. Anything we say to the Chinese loses its effect to some extent if any public reference is made to it.”

“I have become a queer mixture of the East and the West … Out of place everywhere, at home nowhere. Perhaps my thoughts and approach to life are more akin to what is called Western than Eastern, but India clings to me, as she does to all her children, in innumerable ways … I am a stranger and alien in the West. I cannot be of it. But in my own country also, sometimes I have an exile’s feeling.”

Jawaharlal Nehru

“This man [Nehru] has overcome two of the greatest failings in human nature -he knows neither fear nor hatred.”

Winston Churchill

“Though, I was born a Hindu, I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu.”

“The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have … Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.”

“I will choose only the least harmful way for the country. And that is the greatest benefit I am conferring on the country by embracing Buddhism; for Buddhism is a part and parcel of Bhâratîya culture. I have taken care that my conversion will not harm the tradition of the culture and history of this land.”

“The history of India is a history of mortal conflict between Buddhism and Brahmanism.”

“As a matter of fact the Caste system came into being long after the different races of India had co-mingled in blood and culture. To hold that distinctions of Caste are really distinctions of race and to treat different Castes as though they were so many different races is a gross perversion of facts. What racial affinity is there between the Brahmin of the Punjab and the Brahmin of Madras? What racial affinity is there between the untouchables of Bengal and the the untouchables of Madras? What racial difference is there between the Brahmin of Punjab and the Chamar of Punjab? … The Brahmin of Punjab is racially of the same stock as the Chamar of Punjab, and the Brahmin of Madras is the same race as the Pariah of Madras. Caste system does not demarcate racial division. Caste system is a social division of people of the same race.”

“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”

“There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans. Islam came out as the enemy of the ‘But’. The word ‘But’ as everybody knows, is the Arabic word and means an idol. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhar, and Chinese Turkestan, as it was of the whole of Asia. In all these countries Islam destroyed Buddhism.”

“Even a superficial observer cannot fail to notice that a spirit of aggression underlies the Hindu attitude towards the Muslim and the Muslim attitude towards the Hindu. The Hindu’s spirit of aggression is a new phase which he has just begun to cultivate. The Muslim’s spirit of aggression is his native endowment, and is ancient as compared with that of the Hindu. It is not that the Hindu, if given time, will not pick up and overtake the Muslim. But as matters stand to-day, the Muslim in this exhibition of the spirit of aggression leaves the Hindu far behind.”

“If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it.”

“The outcaste is a bye-product of the caste system. There will be outcastes as long as there are castes. Nothing can emancipate the outcaste except the destruction of the caste system.”

“Every Congressman who repeats the dogma of Mill that one country is not fit to rule another country must admit that one class is not fit to rule another class.”

“I am convinced that the real remedy is intermarriage. Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling—the feeling of being aliens—created by caste will not vanish.”

“Caste has however done one thing. It has completely disorganized and demoralized the Hindus.”

“It is beyond doubt that serfdom continued in Europe although Christianity was an established institution for several hundred years. It is an incontrovertible fact that Christianity was not enough to end the slavery of the Negroes in the United States. A civil war was necessary to give the Negro the freedom which was denied to him by the Christians. The dependence of those in charge of Christian endeavour upon planting of an idea and leaving it to work a miracle is therefore one of the reasons why the untouchable has remained an untouchable notwithstanding his Christian faith.”

“Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. That is probably the reason why Maulana Mahomed Ali, a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather than in India.”

“You must not only discard the Shastras, you must deny their authority, as did Buddha and Nanak. You must have courage to tell the Hindus that what is wrong with them is their religion—the religion which has produced in them this notion of the sacredness of Caste. Will you show that courage?”

“The real method of breaking up the Caste System was not to bring about inter-caste dinners and inter-caste marriages but to destroy the religious notions on which Caste was founded.”

B. R. Ambedkar

“We have to eradicate the gods who are responsible for the institution which portrays us as sudras, people of low birth, and some others as brahmins of high birth… We have to break the idols of these gods. I start with Ganesha because it is he who is worshipped before undertaking any task.”

“If god is the root cause for our degradation destroy that god. If it is religion destroy it. If it is Manu Darma, Gita, or any other Mythology (Purana), burn them to ashes. If it is temple, tank, or festival, boycott them. Finally if it is our politics, come forward to declare it openly”.”

“There is no use of simply acquiring titles or amassing wealth if one has no self-respect and scientific knowledge.”

“It is absurd to quote religion or God or religious doctrines to render the people as lowest castes.”

“You cannot expect any rational thought from a religious man. He is like a rocking log in water.”

“The word ‘Sudra’ which means ‘Son of prostitute’ should not find a place even in the history hereafter. We will not allow it to find a place in the dictionary or encyclopedia.”

“Man treats woman as his own property and not as being capable of feelings, like himself. The way man treats women is much worse than the way landlords treat servants and the high-caste treat the low-caste. These treat them so demeaningly only in situations mutually affecting them; but men treat cruelly and as slaves, from their birth till death.”


“I saw that the writers on vegetarianism had examined the question very minutely, attacking it in its religious, scientific, practical and medical aspects. Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man’s supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man.”

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

“Religions have been basis of the tyranny of kings and sultans.”

“I do not leave any verses, dogmas, nor any moulded standard principles as moral heritage. My moral heritage is science and reason. What I have done and intended to do for the Turkish nation lies in that. Anyone willing to appropriate my ideas for themselves after me will be my moral inheritors provided they would approve the guidance of science and reason on this axis.”

“Science is the most real guide for civilisation, for life, for success in the world. To search for a guide other than science is absurdity, ignorance and heresy.”

“In human life, you will find players of religion until the knowledge and proficiency in religion will be cleansed from all superstitions, and will be purified and perfected by the enlightenment of real science.”

“We did not win the war with prayers, but with the blood of our soldiers.”

“Unless a nation’s life faces peril, war is murder.”

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

David Strauss

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair

“For the first time in human history, the Buddha admonished, entreated and appealed to people not to hurt a living being, and it is not necessary to offer prayer, praise or sacrifice to gods. With all the eloquence at his command the Buddha vehemently proclaimed that gods are also in dire need of salvation themselves.”

Thomas William Rhys Davids

“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

“Whatever you do, don’t read the Bible for a moral code: it advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition, and murder. Read it because: we need more atheists — and nothin’ will get you there faster than readin’ the damn Bible.”

“The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you.”

Penn Jillette

“Any sufficiently advanced benevolence may be indistinguishable from malevolence.”

Charles T. Rubin

“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”

“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.””

“If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.”

“There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.”

“Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.”

Viktor Frankl

“The Taiping Rebellion is the perfect example of the old adage that the winners write the history books. Most writers treat the Taipings as poor deluded peasants following a madman’s hallucinations, but when you get right down to it, that’s how most religions begin (not your religion obviously, but all the other ones). The only difference between Hong Xiuquan and history’s successful prophets is that if a professor, novelist, or cartoonist disrespects Hong Xiuquan, angry mobs won’t call for his head.

Is fear of its followers really the best test of a religion’s authenticity? I’ll admit that’s the standard I use, but it’s probably a good idea to remember that if the Taipings had won their rebellion, they might today be considered totally legit and every bit as Christian as the Mormons (“mostly, sort of”).”

Matthew White

“Asking, ‘If there is no God, what is the purpose of life?’ is like asking, ‘If there is no master, whose slave will I be?’ If your purpose of life is to submit as a slave, then your meaning comes from flattering the ego of a person whom you should detest.”

Dan Barker

“To claim that the souls of men will be happy or unhappy after the death of the body, is to pretend that man will be able to see without eyes, to hear without ears, to taste without a palate, to smell without a nose, and to feel without hands and without skin. Nations who believe themselves very rational, adopt, nevertheless, such ideas.”

“Think hard about the reasons for believing and not believing, what your religion teaches you and demands so inexorably that you believe. I am convinced that if you follow closely the natural light of your spirit, you will see … that all the religions in the world are only human inventions and that everything your religion teaches you and forces you to believe as supernatural and divine is at heart only error, lie, illusion and trickery.”

“How I suffered when I had to preach to you those pious lies that I detest in my heart. What remorse your credulity caused me! A thousand times I was on the point of breaking out publicly and opening your eyes, but a fear stronger than myself held me back, and forced me to keep silence until my death.”

“It is an act of cruelty, of barbarism, to kill, to strike unconscious, and to cut the throat of animals, who do no harm to anyone, the way we do; because they are sensitive to injury and pain just as we are, regardless of what is said vainly, falsely, and ridiculously by our new Cartesians, who regard them as purely machines without soul and without feelings … This is a ridiculous opinion, a pernicious principle, and a detestable doctrine, because it clearly tends to stifle in the hearts of men all feelings of kindness, of gentleness, and of humanity that they might have toward these poor animals. … Blessed are the nations that treat them kindly and favorably, who are compassionate toward their miseries and their pains; but cursed are the nations that treat them cruelly, who tyrannize over them, who enjoy shedding their blood, and who are avid to eat their flesh.”

Jean Meslier

“My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.”

“Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose…..I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy. That is the reason why I have no philosophy myself, and must be my excuse for dreaming.”

“I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine.”

“I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: (i) this is worthless nonsense; (ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; (iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; (iv) I always said so.”

J. B. S. Haldane

“If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.”

— A phrase that was carved on the walls of Mauthausen Nazi concentration camp cell during WWII by a prisoner.

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank

“May the world at least behold a drop, a fraction of this tragic world in which we lived.”

“I pass on to you only a small part of what took place in the hell of Birkenau-Auschwitz. It is for you to comprehend the reality. I have written a great deal besides this. I am certain that you will come upon these remnants, and from them you will be able to construct a picture of how our people were killed…In this way I hope to immortalize the dear, beloved names of those for whom, at this moment, I cannot even expend a tear! For I live in an inferno of death, where it is impossible to measure my great losses.”

Zalman Gradowski

“Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.”

Werner Herzog

“I was ashamed of myself when I realised life was a costume party and I attended with my real face.”

Franz Kafka

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

Andrew Lewis

“In some ways people had got used to the idea that India was spiritual and religion-oriented. That gave a leg up to the religious interpretation of India, despite the fact that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than exists in any other classical language. Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha, which discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is “Cārvāka” or “Atheism”—a very strong presentation of the argument in favour of atheism and materialism.”

Amartya Sen

“జీవితంలో భయం ఉండాలి, కాని భయమే జీవితం కాకూడదు.” ― రజినీకాంత్ (భాషా సినిమాలో)

^ Translates to “There should be fear in life, but whole life should not become fear.” ― Rajinikanth(From Basha movie)

“Ashoka, one of the great monarchs of history, whose dominions extended from Afghanistan to Madras… is the only military monarch on record who abandoned warfare after victory. He had invaded Kalinga (255 B.C.), a country along the east coast of Madras, perhaps with some intention of completing the conquest of the tip of the Indian peninsula. The expedition was successful, but he was disgusted by what be saw of the cruelties and horrors of war. He declared, in certain inscriptions that still exist, that he would no longer seek conquest by war, but by religion, and the rest of his life was devoted to the spreading of Buddhism throughout the world. He seems to have ruled his vast empire in peace and with great ability. He was no mere religious fanatic. For eight and twenty years Asoka worked sanely for the real needs of men. In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves “their highnesses,” “their majesties,” and “their exalted majesties” and so on. They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.”

H. G. Wells

“God only exists in people’s minds. Especially in Japan, God’s always has been a kind of flexible concept. Look at what happened to the war. Douglas MacArthur ordered the divine emperor to quit being a God, and he did, making a speech saying he was just an ordinary person.”

Shin’ichi Hisamatsu

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Lyndon B. Johnson

“The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, and the second best time to plant a tree is now.”

― Anonymous

“A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration.”

Kurt Lewin

“Doubts about the existence of free will and individuals are nothing new, of course. More than 2,000 years ago thinkers in India, China and Greece argued that ‘the individual self is an illusion’. Yet such doubts don’t really change history much unless they have a practical impact on economics, politics and day-to-day life. Humans are masters of cognitive dissonance, and we allow ourselves to believe one thing in the laboratory and an altogether different thing in the courthouse or in parliament. Just as Christianity didn’t disappear the day Darwin published On the Origin of Species, so liberalism won’t vanish just because scientists have reached the conclusion that there are no free individuals.”

“Buddha agreed with modern biology and New Age movements that happiness is independent of external conditions. Yet his more important and far more profound insight was that true happiness is also independent of our inner feelings. Indeed, the more significance we give our feelings, the more we crave them, and the more we suffer. Buddha’s recommendation was to stop not only the pursuit of external achievements, but also the pursuit of inner feelings.”

“Understanding human history in the millennia following the Agricultural Revolution boils down to a single question: how did humans organise themselves in mass-cooperation networks, when they lacked the biological instincts necessary to sustain such networks? The short answer is that humans created imagined orders and devised scripts. These two inventions filled the gaps left by our biological inheritance.”

“History began when humans invented gods, and will end when humans become gods.”

“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”

“So, monotheism explains order, but is mystified by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is puzzled by order. There is one logical way of solving the riddle: to argue that there is a single omnipotent God who created the entire universe – and He’s evil. But nobody in history has had the stomach for such a belief.”

“Capitalism did not defeat communism because capitalism was more ethical, because individual liberties are sacred or because God was angry with the heathen communists. Rather, capitalism won the Cold War because distributed data processing works better than centralised data processing, at least in periods of accelerating technological change. The central committee of the Communist Party just could not deal with the rapidly changing world of the late twentieth century. When all data is accumulated in one secret bunker, and all important decisions are taken by a group of elderly apparatchiks, they can produce nuclear bombs by the cartload, but not an Apple or a Wikipedia.”

“Today more than ninety per cent of all large animals are domesticated. Consider the chicken, for example. Ten thousand years ago it was a rare bird confined to small niches of South Asia. Today billions of chickens live on almost every continent and island, bar Antarctica. The domesticated chicken is probably the most widespread bird in the annals of planet Earth. If you measure success in terms of numbers, chickens, cows and pigs are the most successful animals ever. Alas, domesticated species paid for their unparalleled collective success with unprecedented individual suffering.”

“Yet from the viewpoint of the herd, rather than that of the shepherd, it’s hard to avoid the impression that for the vast majority of domesticated animals, the Agricultural Revolution was a terrible catastrophe. Their evolutionary ‘success’ is meaningless. A rare wild rhinoceros on the brink of extinction is probably more satisfied than a calf who spends its short life inside a tiny box, fattened to produce juicy steaks. The contented rhinoceros is no less content for being among the last of its kind. The numerical success of the calf’s species is little consolation for the suffering the individual endures.”

Yuval Noah Harari


“Our study [China–Cornell–Oxford Project: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted] suggests that the closer one approaches a total plant food diet, the greater the health benefit. … It turns out that animal protein, when consumed, exhibits a variety of undesirable health effects. Whether it is the immune system, various enzyme systems, the uptake of carcinogens into the cells, or hormonal activities, animal protein generally only causes mischief. High fat intake still can be a problem, and we ought not to be consuming such high-fat diets. But I suggest that animal protein is more problematic in this whole diet/disease relationship than is total fat.”

T. Colin Campbell(biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long-term health)

“The day has been, I am sad to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated by the law exactly upon the same footing, as, in England for example, the inferior races of animals are still. The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognised that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham(founder of modern utilitarianism)

“I credit my plant-based diet with giving me the energy and stamina to help carry my teams to four NBA championship wins. … Veganism has become a transformative part of my life and I have made it my mission to share the power of plant-based eating with the world. … Vegan eating is not just a slam dunk for human health; it’s also the most effective way to combat climate change, according to a 2010 report by the United Nations. … going vegan is one of the best things a person can do for their health, for animals, and for the environment.”

John Salley (1st player in the NBA history to win a championship in three different decades and 1st player in NBA history to win championships with three franchises)

“In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) I enjoy eating more, and I feel great. … I remember vividly making the decision in July of 1990 to become a vegan. … And I had my best year as an athlete ever! … Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.”

Carl Lewis(Olympic athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. He also won a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games)

“A global transition to a cruelty-free vegan diet won’t just help non-human animals. The transition will also help malnourished humans who could benefit from the grain currently fed to factory-farmed animals. For factory-farming is not just cruel; it’s energy-inefficient. Let’s take just one example. Over the past few decades, millions of Ethiopians have died of “food shortages” while Ethiopia grew grain to sell to the West to feed cattle. Western meat-eating habits prop up the price of grain so that poor people in the developing world can’t afford to buy it. In consequence, they starve by the millions. In my work, I explore futuristic, hi-tech solutions to the problem of suffering. But anybody who seriously wants to reduce human and non-human suffering alike should adopt a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle today.”

“So what is the alternative to traditional anthropocentric ethics? Antispeciesism is not the claim that “All Animals Are Equal”, or that all species are of equal value, or that a human or a pig is equivalent to a mosquito. Rather the antispeciesist claims that, other things being equal, equally strong interests should count equally.”

“Unlike positive utilitarianism or so-called preference utilitarianism - neither of which can ever be wholly fulfilled - [negative utilitarianism] seems achievable in full.”

“By far my greatest dread in life […] is that (some variant of) the Everett interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is true.”

“Eventually, selection-pressure has given rise to complex minds as well, albeit as just one part of the throwaway host vehicles by which our genes leave copies of themselves. Conscious mind, on this proposal, is a triumph of organisation: our egocentric virtual worlds are warm and gappy QM-coherent states of consciousness. Contra materialist metaphysics, sentience of any kind is not the daily re-enactment of an ontological miracle. Moreover the idea that what-it’s-like-ness is the fire in the equations is (at least) consistent with orthodox relativistic quantum field theory - because the theorists’ key notions (e.g. that of a field, string, brane, etc) are defined purely mathematically. In other cases, they readily lend themselves to such a reconstruction. Using the word “physical” doesn’t add anything of substance.”

David Pearce(transhumanist and philosopher)

“Poor countries sell their grain to the West for hard currency while their own children starve in their arms. And the West feeds it to livestock. . . So we can eat a steak? I bet I am not the only one in the room who sees this as a crime?”

“Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, do I remain silent?”

“If everyone ate a Western diet, we would need two Planet Earths to feed them. We only have one. And she is dying.”

Philip Wollen(philanthropist, environmentalist and animal rights activist)

“The emancipation of men from cruelty and injustice will bring with it in due course the emancipation of animals also. The two reforms are inseparably connected, and neither can be fully realized alone.”

“If “rights” exist at all—and both feeling and usage indubitably prove that they do exist—they cannot be consistently awarded to men and denied to animals, since the same sense of justice and compassion apply in both cases.”

“Have the lower animals “rights?” Undoubtedly—if men have.”

“[The] notion of the life of an animal having ‘no moral purpose,’ belongs to a class of ideas which cannot possibly be accepted by the advanced humanitarian thought of the present day [1894] —it is a purely arbitrary assumption, at variance with our best instincts, at variance with our best science, and absolutely fatal (if the subject be clearly thought out) to any full realization of animals’ rights. If we are ever going to do justice to the lower races, we must get rid of the antiquated notion of a ‘great gulf’ fixed between them and mankind, and must recognize the common bond of humanity that unites all living beings in one universal brotherhood.”

“We have to decide, not whether the practice of fox-hunting, for example, is more, or less, cruel than vivisection, but whether all practices which inflict unnecessary pain on sentient beings are not incompatible with the higher instincts of humanity.”

“Oppression and cruelty are invariably founded on a lack of imaginative sympathy; the tyrant or tormentor can have no true sense of kinship with the victim of his injustice. When once the sense of affinity is awakened, the knell of tyranny is sounded, and the ultimate concession of “rights” is simply a matter of time.”

“I shall die … as I have lived, rationalist, socialist, pacifist, and humanitarian.”

“Religion has never befriended the cause of humaneness. Its monstrous doctrine of eternal punishment and the torture of the damned underlies much of the barbarity with which man has treated man; and the deep division imagined by the Church between the human being, with his immortal soul, and the soulless “beasts”, has been responsible for an incalculable sum of cruelty.”

“In the writings of such “pagan” philosophers as Plutarch and Porphyry we find a humanitarian ethic of the most exalted kind, which, after undergoing a long repression during medieval churchdom, reappeared, albeit but weakly and fitfully at first, in the literature of the Renaissance, to be traced more definitely in the eighteenth century school of “sensibility.” But it was not until after the age of Rousseau, from which must be dated the great humanitarian movement of the past century, that Vegetarianism began to assert itself as a system, a reasoned plea for the disuse of flesh-food.”

“I say ethical principle, because it is beyond doubt that the chief motive of Vegetarianism is the humane one. Questions of hygiene and of economy both play their part, and an important part, in a full discussion of food reform; but the feeling which underlies and animates the whole movement is the instinctive horror of butchery, especially the butchery of the more highly organized animals, so human, so near akin to man.”

“The ignorance, carelessness, and brutality are not only in the rough-handed slaughtermen, but in the polite ladies and gentlemen whose dietetic habits render the slaughtermen necessary.”

“It is often said, as an excuse for the slaughter of animals, that it is better for them to live and to be butchered than not to live at all. … In fact, if we once admit that it is an advantage to an animal to be brought into the world, there is hardly any treatment that cannot be justified by the supposed terms of such a contract. Also, the argument must apply to mankind. It has, in fact, been the plea of the slave-breeder; and it is logically just as good an excuse for slave-holding as for flesh-eating. It would justify parents in almost any treatment of their children, who owe them, for the great boon of life, a debt of gratitude which no subsequent services can repay. We could hardly deny the same merit to cannibals, if they were to breed their human victims for the table, as the early Peruvians are said to have done.”

“Before passing on, I will merely add this, that in some ways the evils attendant on slaughtering grow worse, and not better, as civilisation advances, because of the more complex conditions of town life, and the increasingly long journeys to which animals are subjected in their transit from the grazier to the slaughterman. [1897]”

Henry Stephens Salt(Campaigner for social reform in the fields of prisons, schools, economic institutions, and the treatment of animals. Introduced Mohandas Gandhi to the influential works on animal rights)

“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields.”

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”

“A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred million vigorous, clever, capable, and freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?” [A Letter to a Hindu]

“When the Indians complain that the English have enslaved them it is as if drunkards complained that the spirit-dealers who have settled among them have enslaved them. You tell them that they might give up drinking, but they reply that they are so accustomed to it that they cannot abstain, and that they must have alcohol to keep up their energy. Is it not the same thing with the millions of people who submit to thousands or even to hundreds, of others — of their own or other nations? If the people of India are enslaved by violence it is only because they themselves live and have lived by violence, and do not recognize the eternal law of love inherent in humanity.”

“As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love natural to their hearts and now revealed to them, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence — as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual.”

Leo Tolstoy(Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time and pioneer of Nonviolent resistance movement that inspired M.K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Ludwig Wittgenstein)

“What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world - about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.

Isaac Bashevis Singer(Jewish-American writer)

“I have suffered so much myself that I can feel other creatures’ suffering by virtue of my own.”

“I believe as long as man tortures and kills animals, he will torture and kill humans as well—and wars will be waged—for killing must be practiced and learned on a small scale.”

Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz(journalist, poet and prisoner in the Dachau concentration camp)

“I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under the obligation to recognise and respect the rights of animals.”

Brigid Brophy(writer and animal rights activist)

“Obviously, the health benefits of being vegan are written in stone but I honestly believe the most benefit to me being vegan is that I do not carry the burden of guilt that I would have to endure knowing that I abused others for my own ‘benefit’. … Veganism is everything to me. It touches every part of my life. It is my life. I could not begin to imagine living my life any other way. … Often people think we are weak in body and mind. They mistake our compassion for weakness. … My strengths as an athlete are that I am not an athlete for myself. I am doing it for the benefit of others, which makes me work much harder to achieve. I am not selfish enough to want something this badly for myself. It makes me push myself that bit harder knowing that by doing well I can possibly convince others to consider a vegan lifestyle.”

Fiona Oakes (distance runner who holds four world records for marathon running)

“I am vegan. I went vegetarian at 9 years old, after my mother cooked spare ribs. Till then, meat to me was just one other food that came wrapped in cellophane from the supermarket. I had no idea that meat came from an animal. The spare ribs changed that. I told my parents I was not going to eat meat anymore and then went to the fridge to make a salami sandwich. My parents let me know that salami is meat, thinking I would give up on being a vegetarian. Instead, I put the salami down and never ate meat again. Well, almost never. There was one time.”

“In the “old” days, it was not so easy to be vegetarian or vegan. I had to cook from a young age. My parents did not accommodate my being a vegetarian. They weren’t against it, but nor did they know what to do with it.”

Brian Greene(theoretical physicist, mathematician, and string theorist)

“This pandemic seemed to come from people eating animals and it’s becoming more well known that eating animals is not the greatest thing for our health … We’ve seen more of the effects of how eating animals has brought us to our knees as a species, I think it’s time to re-examine our world in a way that doesn’t abuse other species.”

Brian May(musician and astrophysicist)

“In the NFL, the injury rate is a 100 percent. It’s a violent game. And so, how you respond to injury and how quickly you heal from injury is important because if you’re not on the field, you’re not helping the team. I was reading the research and seeing that a plant-based diet could be beneficial, specifically for recovery. And so I started incorporating it and I started seeing really good results with it. I was recovering better. I wasn’t getting as sore. I was a lot less swollen.”

Derrick Morgan(football player)

“I was raised Vegan since birth. … I remember watching undercover investigation videos and reading the pamphlets that were mailed to the house when we were kids—I felt deeply for the animals at an early age. I remember how the other parents of my childhood friends would either get upset or interested when their kids would come home after sleepovers at my house—I felt it was my duty to show my friends what was happening to animals. … Veganism is the ultimate form of compassion. … I never considered my being Vegan was for health reasons—it was always for the love and respect I had for animals. And because of that love and respect I have for non-human animals my compassion flows over to all living beings, of all types. … I am encouraged by compassionate souls and the love I see in the eyes of those I’ve committed my life to stand up for.”

Seba Johnson(Olympic athlete, actress, and vegan animal rights activist)

“When I made the switch to a plant based diet, people, they were like, “I don’t know how you’re gonna lift that much weight.” And, “You’re not gonna be eating anything, you’re just gonna eat grass. Like, how you gonna be strong?” I qualified for my third Olympic team, you know what I’m saying? I broke two American records. I won at the Pan-Am games. I was like, “Man.” Like, “I think, I should’ve done this a long while ago.” Like, “Why didn’t I research this before?””

Kendrick Farris(Olympic weightlifter)

“Although my veganism started out absolutely about health, it’s also become about the environment and animal cruelty. The way animals are treated and the conditions are atrocious. They’re force fed steroids, the chickens are de-beaked. You end up eating sick, diseased chickens because they’re living in shit. It’s like a holocaust on animals.”

Daniel Negreanu(professional poker player)

“Certainly, if the entire world decided to become vegan tomorrow, a whole host of the world’s problems would disappear overnight. Climate change would decrease by 25 percent, deforestation would cease, rainforests would be preserved, our water- and air-quality would increase, life-expectancy rates would increase, and our rates of cancer would plummet, so certainly, with that one action of becoming vegan you are quite effectively making the world a better place.”

Moby (Richard Melville Hall)(musician and animal rights activist)

“Many years ago, when I was merely a vegetarian, I met the great Cesar Chavez, and he said to me: “If you are interested in preventing animal suffering, the first thing you should give up is eggs and milk, because the animals who produce those foods lead the most unhappy lives. You would do better to eat meat and stop eating eggs and dairy products.” I was shocked, since I had no intention of eating meat but had never thought of giving up eggs or dairy products. But when I looked into it I realized he was right, and now, years later, after I have studied the matter up close, I know for certain that he was completely correct about the cruel treatment of the animals raised for such products. The advantages of a vegan diet are enormous for our health, for the environment, for the animals themselves.”

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson(author)

“The human body has no more need for cows’ milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk, or giraffes’ milk.”

“The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. The mother was allowed to nurse her calf but for a single night. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn—only ten yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth—minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days—were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain. Since that age, whenever I hear anyone postulate that animals cannot really feel emotions, I need only to replay that torturous sound in my memory of that mother cow crying her bovine heart out to her infant. Mother’s love knows no species barriers, and I believe that all people who are vegans in their hearts and souls know that to be true.”

Michael Klaper(physician)

“It started with me being a vegetarian, and then it eventually moved towards veganism. Now it’s permanent. It’s a true way of life. As a professional athlete, my diet helps me tremendously. There’s no difficulty in me making weight before fights, or maintaining it. I feel better than ever, light on my feet… Heck, I even think with a more clear mind, all from my eating the right choices for me and my body. I research everyday on veganism, learning new things daily, which is pretty cool.”

Bryant Jennings(professional boxer)

“When you’re treating diseases with drugs, you know there’s one drug you take for cholesterol, a different class of drugs you take for high blood pressure, different class of drugs you take for diabetes, but, with diet, a plant-based diet affects all these diseases. One diet to kinda rule them all.”

“By age 10, nearly all kids have fatty streaks in their arteries. This is the first sign of atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death in the United States. So the question for most of us is not whether we should eat healthy to prevent heart disease, but whether we want to reverse the heart disease we may already have.”

Michael Greger(physician)

“Those of you who eat meat please, take a moment to think. PLEASE STOP EATING MEAT, WE HAVE TO END THIS HORRIFIC ATROCITY.”

Lewis Hamilton(Formula One racer with the most number of wins)

“We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.”

William Ralph Inge(Eugenicist priest)

“The world’s strongest animals are plant eaters. Gorillas, buffaloes, elephants and me.”

“Someone once asked me, ‘How can you get as strong as an ox without eating any meat?’ My answer was, ‘Have you ever seen an ox eating meat?’”

“One day, I just thought, if you see a bird with a broken leg, you really have the urge to do something about it and help the bird. … Then, at the same time, you go to a restaurant and eat a chicken or something. It doesn’t make any sense. … I just realized that if it’s really compassion that drives you, maybe it’s not enough just to stop eating animals but you maybe should boycott the whole animal industry, because … it’s not what you as a compassionate being would want. So actually you should go one step further and become vegan.”

Patrik Baboumian(strongman and bodybuilder)

“[After struggle with heart disease] I’ve stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all. I’ve lost more than 20 pounds so far, aiming for about 30 before Chelsea’s wedding. And I have so much more energy now! I feel great. … I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn’t want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather. So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”

Bill Clinton(former president of the United States)

“One of the things that pushed me to change my diet is that the average football player dies at 56 years of age. That’s because they’re constantly drinking milk and whey protein shakes, eating steak and chicken. … We thought, ‘We’re big dudes, we need to eat meat to be men.’ I thought that too. But you’re screwing your insides up. You’re taking advantage of a helpless animal. You’re killing a life that you don’t need to take. With dairy, you’re stealing breast milk that’s meant for the baby cows and drinking it yourself. How is that manly? Men are supposed to be protectors. ”

David H. Carter(football player)

“I have used this [vegan] diet since 2008. I first tried it when I was preparing for my challenge of WBC super lightweight champion Junior Wittier – my first world title fight – and after seeing the results it gave me I have tried to stay as loyal to it as possible. It helps keep my body clean and it provides me with a tremendous amount of energy due to my body spending less energy breaking down foods like meats. This is a big key factor in my fitness. … The energy is always there. I feel so alive. My senses and reflexes are so acute. … With a vegan diet you always have energy, so much that sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night. You feel light. You don’t feel bulky or heavy. This would benefit any athlete in any sport.”

Timothy Bradley(boxer with multiple world championships)

“Vegan is a term that refers to people who have chosen a way of living guided by ahimsa (nonharming) and reverence for life. … Vegans recognize the value of life to all living creatures and extend to them the compassion, kindness, and justice in The Golden Rule. Vegans see animals as free entities in nature, not slaves or vassals, nor as chattel, pieces of goods to be bought and sold. An animal has feelings, an animal has sensitivity, an animal has a place in life, and the vegan respects this life that is manifest in the animal. Vegans do not wish to harm the animal any more than they would want the animal to harm them. This is an example of The Golden Rule precisely as it should be applied.”

H. Jay Dinshah(founder of the American Vegan Society)

“My perspective of veganism was most affected by learning that the veal calf is a by-product of dairying, and that in essence there is a slice of veal in every glass of what l had thought was an innocuous white liquid—milk.”

Rynn Berry(author)

“By setting aside animal-derived products—meat, dairy products, and eggs—you can reach a level of health and well-being that you may never have expected you could enjoy. … Although our work has focused on helping people trim down, conquer diabetes, cut cholesterol, and tackle other medical problems, it should be said that not everyone who decides to forgo animal products makes that choice for health reasons. Many people are concerned with how animals are treated by the food industries, and rightly so. And the environmental consequences of meat and dairy production should be of concern to all of us.”

Neal D. Barnard(clinical researcher)

“I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity. I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal. We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.”

Joaquin Phoenix(actor who portrayed Joker in Joker)

“I had gone vegetarian when I was 11 because I was viscerally repelled by the idea of eating animal flesh and there was no way to avoid the fact that someone had been killed for that piece of meat. […] it took me until 2015 to become fully vegan. […] I think the root of this whole lifestyle is Compassion. It’s a daily reminder that we are all one. I believe veganism is what will heal this planet. […] I don’t know why we are still using our power and our blessings to quash animals. Why have we not yet assumed our rightful role as their caretakers? And every time I look into a cow’s eyes and see the gentle soul dwelling in that enormous powerful body, I feel like the animals are patiently waiting, quietly willing us to just catch on.”

Evanna Lynch(actress who portrayed Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films)

“I coined the term feminized protein for eggs and dairy products: plant protein produced through the abuse of the reproductive cycle of female animals. Feminized protein is taken from living female animals, whose reproductive capacity is manipulated for human needs. The unique situation of domesticated female animals required its own term: a sexual slavery with chickens in battery cages and dairy cows hooked up to milking machines. … The radical truth is that people can be perfectly happy as vegans, but the dominant culture can’t or won’t acknowledge this. … Being vegan is an exciting, wonderful culinary experience and we probably don’t even know what’s possible because it’s still so new. … The process of objectification/fragmentation/consumption can be interrupted by the process of attention/nowness/compassion.”

Carol J. Adams(feminist and animal rights advocate)

“When a woman responds to mistreatment by protesting “I’m a human being!” or “I want to be treated with respect, not like some animal,” what is she suggesting about the acceptable ways of treating other animals? Perhaps because comparisons between women and nonhuman animals so often entail sexism, many women are anxious to distance themselves from other animals. Feminists, especially, recognize that negative “animal” imagery has advanced women’s oppression. However, if our treatment and view of other animals became caring, respectful, and just, nonhuman-animal metaphors would quickly lose all power to demean. Few women have confronted how closely they mirror patriarchal oppressors when they too participate in other species’ denigration. Women who avoid acknowledging that they are animals closely resemble men who prefer to ignore that women are human.”

“In any case, abundant evidence indicates that all invertebrates with a brain can experience pain. Like vertebrates, numerous invertebrates produce natural opiates and substance P. These animals include crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters, and shrimps), insects (e.g., fruit flies, locusts, and cockroaches), and mollusks (e.g., octopuses, squids, and snails) […] Also, crustaceans, insects, and mollusks show less reaction to a noxious stimulus when they receive morphine. For example, morphine reduces the reaction of mantis shrimps to electric shock, praying mantises to electric shock, and land snails to a hot surface.”

Joan Dunayer(Abolitionist)

“I admit it as an axiom, that every animal has more right to the use of its own body than others have to use it.”

“Much as animals suffer in a natural state, much more do they seem to suffer when under the dominion of the generality of men. What suffering in the former can be supposed to equal the constant torture of a hackney-coach horse?.”

“It is an axiom that the more pleasure and the less pain there is in the Universe, the better it is. If, then, a person suffer pain instead of pleasure, whether he be criminal or not, the pain will be increased and the pleasure decreased; and, as this disagrees with the axiom just cited, it is wrong.”

“Y: I suppose you also deem it a crime to drink, as you destroy myriads of animals in the water of every draught?
Z: I consider this an evil, but not a crime, because I do not cause or wish them to be there, and would assist them to escape if possible. They have no more claim to the water than I have; and we know so little of the nature of these animals, that we are not even sure that they die when the water is drunk; the very fact of their being there is concealed from us, and but for the microscope we should never have known it. I however consider it wrong to waste water in anyway which may injure the animalcula.”

“Y: But the whole species of the carnivorous kind would then become extinct. Were they created to be annihilated?
Z: I do not see why the whole species of one animal is more important than an equal number of another, although that number might not comprise the whole species of the latter: and, besides, it is not proved that the whole species would perish; as some might feed on the bodies of those animals which they might find that were in a fit state; and also upon vegetables, which they will eat occasionally. It is known that wolves will live in the two ways mentioned, when deprived of other means.”

“Yet it must be confessed that whichever way we turn our eyes we see a system of aggression and destruction. In order for one animal to live, thousands must die: directly so if the one be carnivorous, and indirectly so if graminivorous. It has been calculated that some birds destroy thousands of butterflies during the rearing of a single brood; and if we take man, who is half carnivorous, and calculate how many lives are destroyed to maintain him in comfort during his life, even without sport, the number will appear enormous, no estimate of which can however be made without taking into account the size of the animals he feeds on.”

Lewis Gompertz(1784 - 1861; One of the earliest vegans)

“We have to be aggressive when those we stick up for have no voice. I don’t consider it radical to say cruelty is wrong and that animals should be respected. I consider it radical to eat corpses, put electrodes in animals’ heads, make elephants live in chains in the circus, and poison animals we consider a nuisance.”

“Eating meat is primitive, barbaric, and arrogant.”

Ingrid Newkirk(President and founder of PETA, the biggest welfarist organization. PETA doesn’t support animal rights, even though Newkirk talks like she believes in animal rights)

“To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbours not to sell their houses to blacks.”

“Those who claim to care about the wellbeing of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegans for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests; moreover, since a vegan diet is cheaper than one based on meat dishes, they would have more money available to devote to famine relief, population control, or whatever social or political cause they thought most urgent. … when nonvegans say that “human problems come first” I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.”

“The animals themselves are incapable of demanding their own liberation, or of protesting against their condition with votes, demonstrations, or boycotts. Human beings have the power to continue to oppress other species forever, or until we make this planet unsuitable for living beings. Will our tyranny continue, proving that morality counts for nothing when it clashes with selfinterest, as the most cynical of poets and philosophers have always said? Or will we rise to the challenge and prove our capacity for genuine altruism by ending our ruthless exploitation of the species in our power, not because we are forced to do so by rebels or terrorists, but because we recognize that our position is morally indefensible? The way in which we answer this question depends on the way in which each one of us, individually, answers it.”

“Ethics is inescapable.”

“One common strategy on which we should all be able to agree is to take steps to reduce the risk of human extinction when those steps are also highly effective in benefiting existing sentient beings. For example, eliminating or decreasing the consumption of animal products will benefit animals, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lessen the chances of a pandemic resulting from a virus evolving among the animals crowded into today’s factory farms, which are an ideal breeding ground for viruses. That therefore looks like a high-priority strategy.”20

“When we buy new clothes not to keep ourselves warm but to look “well-dressed” we are not providing for any important need. We would not be sacrificing anything significant if we were to continue to wear our old clothes, and give the money to famine relief. By doing so, we would be preventing another person from starving. It follows from what I have said earlier that we ought to give money away, rather than spend it on clothes which we do not need to keep us warm. To do so is not charitable, or generous. Nor is it the kind of act which philosophers and theologians have called “supererogatory” - an act which it would be good to do, but not wrong not to do. On the contrary, we ought to give the money away, and it is wrong not to do so.”

“There can be no brotherhood when some nations indulge in previously unheard of luxuries, while others struggle to stave off famine.”

“My students often ask me if I think their parents did wrong to pay the $44,000 per year that it costs to send them to Princeton. I respond that paying that much for a place at an elite university is not justified unless it is seen as an investment in the future that will benefit not only one’s child, but others as well. An outstanding education provides students with the skills, qualifications, and understanding to do more for the world than would otherwise be the case. It is good for the world as a whole if there are more people with these qualities. Even if going to Princeton does no more than open doors to jobs with higher salaries, that, too, is a benefit that can be spread to others, as long as after graduating you remain firm in the resolve to contribute a percentage of that salary to organizations working for the poor, and spread this idea among your highly paid colleagues. The danger, of course, is that your colleagues will instead persuade you that you can’t possibly drive anything less expensive than a BMW and that you absolutely must live in an impressively large apartment in one of the most expensive parts of town.”

“September 11, 2001, was just another day for most of the world’s desperately poor people, so presumably close to 30,000 children under five died from these causes on that day—about ten times the number of victims of the terrorist attacks. The publication of these figures did not lead to an avalanche of money for UNICEF or other aid agencies helping to reduce infant mortality. In the year 2000 Americans made private donations for foreign aid of all kinds totalling about $4 per person in extreme poverty, or roughly $20 per family. New Yorkers who were living in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, whether wealthy or not, were able to receive an average of $5,300 per family. The distance between these amounts encapsulates the way in which, for many people, the circle of concern for others stops at the boundaries of their own country—if it extends even that far.”

Peter Singer(Utilitarian moral philosopher, most influential proponent of animal welfare but is incorrectly called the father of animal rights even though he doesn’t accept animal rights)

“According to conservative estimates, 200 million land animals and 2 billion sea animals are killed “Every day* for food. Think about the scale of that violence. Think about the insidious way in which this numbs us to all violence.”

“We proclaim human intelligence to be morally valuable per se because we are human. If we were birds, we would proclaim the ability to fly as morally valuable per se. If we were fish, we would proclaim the ability to live underwater as morally valuable per se. But apart from our obviously self-interested proclamations, there is nothing morally valuable per se about human intelligence.”

“If animals have moral value, they must have one right-the right not to be property. If they do not have this one right, their interests in not suffering will be devalued or ignored. Their interest in their lives will be ignored.

Recognizing the right of animals not to be property does not protect nonhuman animals from all suffering and death any more than the right of humans not to be property protects them from all suffering and death. But in both cases, the right protects the rightholders from all suffering incidental to use exclusively as a resource.”

“When we promote welfare reform, we necessarily promote the idea that it is morally desirable to consume the more ‘humane’ product or engage in the more ‘humane’ use. Welfare reform campaigns necessarily promote exploitation. Welfare reform campaigns necessarily perpetuate speciesism.”

“Peter Singer says that if you’re a vegan sitting with nonvegan friends in a restaurant and your food comes with cheese on it, you should just shut up and eat it so your friends don’t think that being a vegan is difficult. I say that if you eat it, you have just taught your friends that veganism is not something to be taken seriously as a moral matter.”

“One of the main arguments that I make is that although almost everyone accepts that it is morally wrong to inflict “unnecessary” suffering and death on animals, 99% of the suffering and death that we inflict on animals can be justified only by our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. For example, the best justification that we have for killing the billions of nonhumans that we eat every year is that we enjoy the taste of animal flesh and animal products. This is not an acceptable justification if we take seriously, as we purport to, that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering or death on animals, and it illustrates the confused thinking that I characterize as our “moral schizophrenia” when it comes to nonhumans.”

“If you think it’s difficult to be vegan, imagine how difficult it is for the billions of animals we torture and kill that you’re not vegan.”

“It doesn’t matter if they had the best lives in the world. Killing an animal so you can eat the animal or wear the animal is wrong.”

“’But veganism is elitist.’ What complete nonsense. Elitism involves promoting a perceived superiority of some sort. It involves the idea of according less moral value to the ‘inferior.’ As two seconds of thinking make clear, veganism is not elitist in any way. On the contrary. Veganism is about rejecting the idea that it is morally acceptable to exploit sentient nonhumans because they are ‘inferior.’ Nonvegans believe in the ‘inferiority’ of animals. It is they who embrace elitism.”

“You don’t have to love animals to recognize that it is immoral and unjust to exploit them. But if you do love animals, and you continue to participate in their exploitation, you need to rethink your idea of what love means.”

“A question I got: “Why don’t you support veganuary?”

Answer: being vegan is about justice and the fundamental rights of nonhumans-nothing less. You don’t encourage people to stop being racist or sexist for a month. You make it clear that racism and sexism are always wrong.”

“Just as you will never get people to go vegan by shouting at them, you will also fail if you say it’s fine to be a nonvegan on a “reducetarian journey” who does Meatless Monday, etc. You need to be clear: It’s not a moral option. No “journeys.” Veganism is a moral imperative.”

“Animal exploitation is the single most spiritually destructive, morally bankrupt, environmentally devastating, and physically unhealthy thing that we do.”

“To say that animals are not property because you love your nonhuman companions is like saying that your car is not your property because you choose to wash and wax it every week and keep it in splendid condition. You car is your property. You can choose to put a great deal of money and energy into maintaining it. Or you can do nothing more than what is required to have the car pass a safety inspection. The same applies to your nonhuman companions. You can choose to treat them as members of your family. Or you can dump them at a shelter or have a vet kill them. They are [legally] your property.”

“Consuming animal products is a ‘choice’ only insofar as society allows you to choose to do things that are obviously and indisputably morally wrong. Are you free to choose to hold racist views? Yes, you are. Is it morally wrong to judge others solely by their skin colour? Yes, of course it is. So saying that something is a ‘choice’ says nothing about its morality. We cannot morally justify consuming animal products. Period. Consuming those products may be a matter of ‘choice’ but only in a most superficial sense. It is not a matter of choice for anyone who takes morality seriously.”

“Vegetarianism is a morally incoherent position. There is no morally coherent distinction between meat and other animal foods. They all involve suffering, death, and injustice. If you care morally about animals, veganism is the only rational response.”

“The idea that we have the right to inflict suffering and death on other sentient beings for the trivial reasons of palate pleasure and fashion is, without doubt, one of the most arrogant and morally repugnant notions in the history of human thought.”

“There is really is no escaping that, if you are not vegan, you are treating animals as things without moral value. This means that your claim to take animals seriously and regard them as beings with moral value is bullshit (apologies to bulls). So stop already. Go vegan. Today. Now.”

“Veganism is about nonviolence. It is about refusing to participate in inflicting completely unjustifiable harm on the vulnerable. Please go vegan.”

Gary L. Francione(Started the Abolitionist Approach independently shortly after Tom Regan, ethics philosopher, first academic to teach animal rights theory in an American law school)

“The task facing ARAs (Animal Rights Advocates) is daunting: we must empty the cages, not make them larger.”

“The less gifted do not exist to serve the interests of the more gifted. The former are not mere things when compared to the latter, to be used as means to the latter’s ends. From the moral point of view, each of us is equal because each of us is equally a somebody, not a something, the subject-of-a-life, not a life without a subject.”

“What I had learned about human rights proved to be directly relevant to my thinking about animal rights. Whether any animals have rights depends on the true answer to one question: Are any animals subjects-of-a-life? This is the question that needs to be asked about animals because this is the question we need to ask about us.”

“And they say ARAs are violent. The bitter truth would be laughable if it were not so tragic. The violence done to things by some ARAs (buy which I mean the violent destruction of insensate property) is nothing compared to the violence done to feeling creatures by the major animal user industries. A raindrop compared to an ocean. On a day-to-day basis, by far the greatest amount of violence done in the “civilized” world occurs because of what humans do to other animals. That the violence is legally protected, that in some cases (for example, vivisection) it is socially esteemed, only serves to make matters worse.”

“Then there are those proverbial “bird brains” of the barnyard, chickens, surely the most maligned and abused animal on the face of the earth, and—just as surely—among the brightest, most social birds we’ll find anywhere. … Chickens not only are capable of learning, they are also capable of teaching one another. It turns out that chickens are not as dumb as popular mythology makes them out to be.”

“From my reading of Gandhi I had learned how some people in India regard eating cow as unspeakably repulsive. I realized I felt the same way about cats and dogs: I could never eat them. Were cows so different from cats and dogs that there were two moral standards, one that applies to cows, another that applies to cats and dogs? Were pigs so different? Were any of the animals I ate so different?”

“Philosophers have written more about animal rights in the past twenty years than their predecessors wrote in the previous two thousand. Not surprisingly, disagreements abound. To begin with, among those who challenge attributing moral rights to animals are philosophers who operate within well- worn moral traditions in Western thought. Peter Singer (1975, 1999) and Carl Cohen (1986, 1996, 1997) are representative. Singer follows in the tradition of the nineteenth-century English utilitarian Jeremy Bentham, who ridicules moral rights as “nonsense upon stilts.” For both Bentham and Singer, not only nonhuman animals but also humans lack moral rights. This is half-true, maintains Cohen. Animals, he argues, most certainly do not have moral rights, but Bentham and Singer err when they deny that humans have them. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Cohen, not just some but all humans possess basic rights, including the rights to life and to bodily integrity.” [ Regan (2001), p. 67. The reason for this increase is largely due to his 1983 book.]

Tom Regan(Started the Abolitionist Approach shortly before Gary L. Francione, one of the first academics who argued that the real problem is not animal welfare but the commodity status of the animals)


“Sometimes life’s too uncertain to have regrets.”

“Even a low class warrior can surpass an elite, with enough hard work.”


“You’re going to be all right. You just stumbled over a stone in the road. It means nothing. Your goal lies far beyond this. Doesn’t it? I’m sure you’ll overcome this. You’ll walk again… soon.” [YouTube]


“Shinichi, upon researching the concept of demons, I believe that, among all life, humans are the closest thing to it. Although humans kill and eat a wide variety of life forms, my kind eat merely one or two kinds at most. We are quite frugal in comparison.”


“Those who forgive themselves, and are able to accept their true nature…They are the strong ones!”

“…People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true… that is how they define reality. But what does it mean to be correct or true? Merely vague concepts… their reality may all be an illusion.”

Itachi Uchiha

“What do you do when there is an evil you cannot defeat by just means? Do you stain your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or do you remain steadfastly just and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?”

“Attention entire world, hear my proclamation!

I am Lelouch vi Britannia, Emperor of The Holy Britannian Empire and your only Ruler…

Schneizel has surrendered to me, and as a result of this I am now in control of both the Damocles and the F.L.E.I.J.A. weapons, and even the Black Knights no longer possess the strength to oppose me now.

If anyone dares to resist my supreme authority, The shall know the devastating power of the F.L.E.I.J.A.s. Those who could challenge my military rule no longer exist. Yes, from this day, from this moment forward, the world belongs to me!

Lelouch vi Britannia commands you, obey me subjects! obey me world.”

Lelouch vi Britannia

“There’s no signs that the evils of this world are disappearing. That hasn’t changed since before I became a superhero. So, I guess that means I haven’t really made any difference. I’m not necessarily sad about that. But there has been something bothering me lately. As the days pass, my emotions become more distant. Fear, tension, joy, anger. I feel none of them anymore. In exchange for power, maybe I’ve lost something that’s essential for being human.

“Before I’d have all kinds of emotions boiling inside me when I fought. Dread. Panic. But now all I need is one punch to end it. Every day I come home uninjured and wash my gloves. Whenever I’m out fighting monsters, I never feel like my heart’s really in it anymore.”


“In any age, in any society, when people are small, they look up at the stars and stretch out their hands as if to grasp them. Then at last,they learn that their own arms aren’t long enough to reach the stars. They call that becoming an adult. But I don’t think so. Without fail, those stars will be in this hand!”

“Kircheis, do you think what was possible for Rudolf is impossible for me?”

“The man who succeeds me must have talent equal to, or greater than my own.”

“Genes determine everything? What nonsense. Hereditary physical qualities have no effect on people, that’s for individuals. Heredity concerns family background, not personal abilities. Those who blindly believe in such theories generally having nothing in their own lives to be proud of… they are the people I despise the most.”

Reinhard von Lohengramm


Kentaro Miura [Berserk episode 1]

“I am crying. I’m not sad that I’m dying. I am finally sad that my child died. You can’t just erase people’s feelings. It’s as if my emotions just wandered around in an unknown place somewhere hundreds of miles away. It’s as if they were sent long ago, in a letter that was always intended for me. So this is what true sadness feels like. It feels a lot like…happiness.”

Wolfgang Grimmer

“And there you go. You heard her, Iri. Our Heroic Spirit thinks a battlefield to be something better than Hell. What a joke. It’s Hell itself. There is no hope on a battlefield. There is nothing but unspeakable despair. Just a crime we call victory, paid for by the pain of the defeated. But humanity has never recognized this truth. And the reason is that, in every era, a dazzling hero has blinded the people with their legends, and kept them from seeing the evil of bloodshed. True human nature has not advanced a step beyond the Stone Age.”

Kiritsugu Emiya

“A wound that’d make an ordinary man unconscious… I won’t lose to it. A wound that would kill an ordinary person… I won’t lose to it! To face one who is extraordinary, Hawk EyesI can’t allow myself to be ordinary!

“To be the best you have to accept that you’re not the best but have the will to strive and to be better than anyone you face.”

“If I die here, then I’m a man that could only make it this far.”

“If I can’t even protect my captain’s dream, then whatever ambition I have is nothing but talk! Luffy must be the man who becomes the Pirate King!”

Roronoa Zoro

“One day you’ll see how important it was to save the Strawhats and let them set sail.”



Takehiko Inoue or Soho Takuan [Vagabond chapter 35]

“Even if you kill me, even if you kill anyone, even if you reset science… There’s always an idiot who will try anything and the shiny monkeys will inevitably create a technological civilization.”

Senku Ishigami

“He who controls the rebound…controls THE WORLD!”

Hanamichi Sakuragi

“I have no enemies.”


“People who think that they can make up their past follies with regret, cannot be forgiven.”


“With my right hand I will save humans, and with my left hand I will save the Akuma.”

Allen Walker

“This is right at the time when the young Shotaro Ishinomori-sensei and gekiga such as ‘‘Kyojin no Hoshi’’ and ‘‘Ashita no Joe’’ are coming out, so it must be difficult for him [Osamu Tezuka] to be the reigning champion. That’s what I thought at the time.

When we were in elementary school, there was a feeling that those who had been in the lead for a long time would start to give in half a step to everyone else. But over and over again, we witness the moment when teachers come to the front lines. Things like ‘‘Dororo’’ are very much in tune with the times. So when I was in the first year of junior high school, I read all the volumes of ‘‘Phoenix.’’

I’ll never forget it, but I think it was after I bought all the volumes of ‘‘Phoenix’’ on the porch of my house, and read the Dawn and Future editions, and then the Phoenix edition. One afternoon, I finished reading it. I was in a daze. I guess I read it for a few days and got to the end of the phoenix arc. As I looked at my thick garden, I thought, ‘‘Wow, there are people out there who draw amazing things.’’ When I suddenly noticed, the sun was setting.

For about that time, I thought, ‘‘Wow, that’s amazing.’’ Up until that point, I had seen him as a racer with a myriad of competitors, but one afternoon in my first year of junior high school, I realized that he had already become completely unstoppable.

My basic way of thinking [about Osamu Tezuka] has not changed since that day. So much so that I want to make that day my coming-of-age ceremony.”

Naoki Urasawa

“It all still feels too sudden.
I feel like a massive hole tore through my heart.
The thought of never seeing you again fills me with so much sadness. I’ve admired you so much since I was a child.
I distinctly remember the day you called me by name for the first time.
I remember that day walking home, hanging out with Kishimoto-san,
when you called us “friends” for the first time.
And I remember the last conversation we had.
Picking up the relay from an age when reading manga was considered a stupid waste of time, you are among those that forged an era where both adults and children alike could read and enjoy this medium. Showing me that manga could achieve such things… you made me dream that I could reach the whole world. I felt as if I was witnessing a real superhero pushing forward.
Your impact wasn’t limited to the manga industry alone.
The childhoods of so many creators from several industries
were no doubt rooted in the excitement of reading Dragon Ball weekly.
Your existence is like a great tree whose branches spread into the sky.
To mangaka of our generation like us, standing on the same stage as he did and the closer we got to Toriyama’s work, the more I feel we realized just how much of a presence it had on this industry. It was almost frightening to witness.
And yet at the same time, the man behind it was such an easygoing person. That made me so happy to see. I feel that, on a genetic level, we all love Toriyama-sensei for who he was. I would like to offer my deepest respect and gratitude for the vibrant creative world that Toriyama-sensei left behind, and pray from the bottom of my heart that he may rest in peace.

I hope that heaven is just as pleasant as you envisioned it in your manga, sensei.”21

Eiichiro Oda

“The first to apologize, is the bravest. The first to forgive, is the strongest. And the first to forget, is the happiest. Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you, deserve peace.”[YouTube] (Inspired from I Have No Enemies)



Genji Kamogawa

  1. I used to think he was a lazy guy in my childhood. The quote is from this letter written a week before he published the correct field equations of General Relativity (GR) or EFE. At that point of time he was very afraid that GR will be formulated by someone before him. Indeed it happened as he feared and Hilbert probably found the correct field equations ( $R_{\mu \nu }-{\frac {1}{2}}Rg_{\mu \nu }={\frac{8\pi G}{c^{4}}}T_{\mu \nu }$ the cosmological constant came later) independently 5 days before him. Even if Hilbert actually found the complete equations before him, he would still be the single biggest contributor to the formulation of GR because he found the equations without the trace term(i.e. $R_{\mu \nu }={\frac{8\pi G}{c^{4}}}T_{\mu \nu }$) first and was aware that he should add some term to make both sides consistent since $\nabla_{\nu} T^{\mu \nu}=0$ but $\nabla_{\nu} R^{\mu \nu }\neq 0$. Also Hilbert fully credited Einstein as the originator of the theory and no public priority dispute concerning the field equations ever arose between the two men during their lives. 

  2. Einstein severely overestimated Gandhi. I think Nehru is far greater political leader than Gandhi. 

  3. Based on this mail between them it seems even though they never publicly stated it privately there was a slight misunderstanding between Einstein and Hilbert about their expected fraction of credit on general relaitivity even if Hilbert never complained publicly. 

  4. This “I have studied these things — you have not.” was Newton’s response when Edmond Halley mocked religion or alchemy. Newton once said on atheism:

    “Atheism is so senseless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors. Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowels) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two fore leggs or two wings or two arms on the sholders & two leggs on the hipps one on either side & no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel & contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom & the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, & within transparent juyces with a crystalline Lens in the middle & a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped & fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power & who is therfore to be feared.”

    Newton is widely considered as one of the top 2 physicists of all time (the other being Einstein. Example: Landau’s ranking of physicists). You may ask: ‘How could someone that intelligent believe in something as silly as religion?’. But we should understand that those questions above were unexplainable back in those days as biology was not mature enough to answer them. So, Newton had valid excuses to utter such nonsense. He also believed in Alchemy and was interested in making the philosopher’s stone. To be honest if I believed that philosopher’s stone can exist, I would also definitely try to make it and become immortal.

    Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind that looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10 000 years ago.”

    John Maynard Keynes 

  5. This was Dirac’s opinion at the 1927 Solvay Conference when they were talking about religion. I 100% agree with him on this. 

  6. You should believe when Weinberg says this. He is not a string theorist. He didn’t devote his life to string theory. He has his own theory called asymptotic safety. Yet he is telling string theory is the “only game in town”. Compare this to bloggers/social media influencers who never studied string theory properly but spread their unfounded criticism. 

  7. This statement was made considering GR, a classical theory. It was written in 1983 (9 years after Hawking radiation was predicted) in the preface of his book. Maybe he was unaware of the humongous number of states needed for a black hole to interpret the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy statistically unlike in GR where the No-hair theorem restricts the degrees of freedom. 

  8. His reply before he was burned to death because he rejected Catholic doctrines, embraced pantheism and for his cosmological theories. 

  9. He meant mathematicians like him should become part time physicists and help physicists otherwise physicists can’t do it. 

  10. He was not aware of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems when saying this. 

  11. Even though Hilbert studied them first, he was not aware at that time during a talk by von Neumann that they named these spaces after him. 

  12. It is second of the Four Noble Truths mentioned in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. I think it is somewhat of an exaggeration because there are things like natural disasters which are not caused by desires. But I still think this is an important argument. 

  13. Gautama lived as an ascetic beggar (bhikṣu) and he ate whatever people gave him including meat because it is leftover food. Here he is trying to explain that we should not increase demand for meat which will increase demand for unnecessary suffering. What is remarkable is that the supply and demand economic concept was first explained in Tirukkuṟaḷ (300 BCE to 500 CE) few centuries after Gautama’s death. Gautama intuitively understood this concept even before it was first stated. Looks like he was at least decently smart. 

  14. Taken from Kesamutti Sutta. Often times some people people misinterpret this quote to portray Buddhism as a religion based on logic, even though Gautama stated that one should not determine the validity of a statement “by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought”. Its certianly better than most religions, but protraying it as religion based on logic/rationality is disingenuous. 

  15. His title “Buddha” (awakened one) was given two centuries after his death. His lived between 563–483 BCE. I am an atheist. I do not support the unscientific Buddhism. But I still think Siddhārtha Gautama was a good philosopher. You can read my views on religion here

  16. Hume here found the Is–ought problem. One of the deepest ethical problems. 

  17. Neurath’s boat: a simile used in anti-foundational philosophy 

  18. This statement is obviously wrong. The most precious gift is the Indian numeral system. It is often wrongly called as Arabic numeral system. Vedas are useless in comparison to the Indian numeral system. 

  19. Nehru really understood where India is heading towards better than any other freedom fighter. He rightly guessed that Hindu fanaticism will take over India. The fact that the Indians of 1940s voted him as the prime minister despite him being an atheist who used to publicly state his criticsim of religion astonishes me. He was the only good prime minister India has ever had. 

  20. Stated on 2015, before COVID-19 pandemic. 

  21. This was Oda’s response to the death of Akira Toriyama. He is, in many ways, Toriyama’s successor (who himself was the successor of Osamu Tezuka) as the greatest shōnen mangaka of their generation. 

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