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Quotes on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
-- Unknown

I am a holder of the paleolithic work ethic... hunt and gather what
you need to feed and shelter your people: 2-3 hours a day...
Then hang out and tell stories, make art, dream, roll in the hay with
your partners, and live in the blazingly bright natural world.
-- Steve Self

Nothing will benefit human health or increase the chances for survival
of life on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet .
-- Albert Einstein

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
-- George Bernard Shaw

The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure
and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.
-- Albert Einstein

Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right
person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose,
and in the right way, that is not easy.
-- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! Had I the ability,
and could reach the nation's ear, I would today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting
reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire;
it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake.
The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused;
the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed;
its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
-- Frederick Douglass

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship,
design a building, write a sonnett, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying,
take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure,
program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
--Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Two of the gravest general dangers to survival are the desire for comfort and a passive outlook.
--U.S. Army Ranger Handbook

For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been
to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in thie marvelous
desert, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since
you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
-- Don Juan in Carlos Castaneda's Journey to Ixtlan

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
-- Henry David Thoreau

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious ; it is the
fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
-- Albert Einstein

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes
a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my
individuality as a man. Suddenly I awoke, and there I lay, myself again.. Now I do not know whether
I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming that I am a man.
--Chuang-Tzu, 3rd century BC

I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider,
who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming,
with a goal in front and not behind.
--George Bernard Shaw

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
--Albert Einstein

I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or State, to my circle of friends or even to my own family...
Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men.
I lose something by it,to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs,
opinions and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations.
--Albert Einstein

The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
-- Richard Moss, M.D.


They who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little
temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get
yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days
is to go about repeating the very phrases which our
founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
-- C.A. Beard

When it shall be said in any country in the world, my POOR are happy,
neither distress nor ignorance is to be found among them; my JAILS are
empty of prisoners, my streets of BEGGARS; the AGED are not in want,
the taxes are not oppressive . . . when these things can be said,
then may that country boast its constitution and its government."

I PUT the following work under your protection. It contains my
opinions upon Religion. You will do me the justice to remember,
that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man
to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine.
He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his
present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.
-- Thomas Paine

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
--Francois Voltaire

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged,
and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight,
lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
-- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be,
and wherever he may be, the man who thinks, becomes a light and a power.
-- Henry George 1839-1897

The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong.
There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties
or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are
to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true,
even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly.
If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way
in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified.
There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.
-- Former Lord Chief Justice Halisham

There are always a few, better endowed than others, who feel the weight of the yoke and
cannot restrain themselves from attempting to shake it off.... These are in fact the men who,
possessed of clear minds and far-sighted spirit, are not satisfied, like the brutish mass,
to see only what is at their feet, but rather look about them, behind and before, and even
recall the things of the past in order to judge those of the future, and compare both with
their present condition. These are the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further
trained them by study and learning. Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth,
such men would reinvent it. For them slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.
--Etienne de la Boetie, The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

They know your name, address, telephone number, credit card numbers, who ELSE is driving the car
"for insurance", ... your driver's license number. In the state of Massachusetts, this is the same number as that
used for Social Security, unless you object to such use. In THAT case, you are ASSIGNED a number and you reside
forever more on the list of "weird people who don't give out their Social Security Number in Massachusetts."
--Arthur Miller

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed;
if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly;
you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against
you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight
when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
--Winston Churchill

If I instituted drug testing at Cypress, I would get a brick through my windshield, and I would deserve it.
--T.J. Rogers, President, Cypress Semiconductor

Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free;
so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free,
you will have a hundred lawyers proving that "freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license";
and they will define and define freedom out of existence.
--Voltarine de Cleyre

By far the most numerous and most flagrant violations of personal liberty and
individual rights are performed by governments ... The major crimes throughout history,
the ones executed on the largest scale, have been committed not by individuals or
bands of individuals but by governments, as a deliberate policy of those governments
...that is, by the official representatives of governments, acting in their official capacity.
--John Hospers


We can have justice whenever those who have not been injured
by injustice are as outraged by it as those who have been.
--Solon (594 B.C.)

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their choice,
if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they
cannot be understood; if they... undergo such incessant changes that no man
who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow
-- James Madison, Federalist Number 62.

Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction...
if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty
they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.
-- Alexander Hamilton, 1804

If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then the juror has accepted
the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered
a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty.
-- Justice Theophilus Parsons, 1788

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which
a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1789

It is not only the juror's right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best
understanding, judgement and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.
--John Adams, 1771

There has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law than that, in criminal cases,
it is not only the power and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what is the
moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their power, and their primary and paramount duty,
to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive,
and find all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws."
-- Lysander Spooner, 1852


Stop tolerating in your leaders what you would not tolerate in your friends.
-- Michael Ventura

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever,
in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself.
Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
--Thomas Jefferson

...unfortunately, we can't control the actions of everyone.
--Bill Clinton, April 20, 1993

The very first woman to run for the presidency of the United States was
Victoria Claflin Woodhull in 1872. She ran on a platform of free love, women's suffrage,
short skirts, legalized prostitution and the right of women to orgasm. She was arrested
and jailed on obscenity charges the day before the election. She lost the election to Ulysses S. Grant.

Most of these guys who aided the killings were pencil pushers like you and me.
Auschwitz is unique on the face of the earth, not because 1.5 million people
died because of hatred, not because it is the largest graveyard in the world.
It is unique because the people were killed by a dispassionate bureaucracy.
-- Jerry Markle, WMU Sociology professor

Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon 'B', 'A' is most likely a scoundrel.
-- H. L. Mencken

They know how to think. From the Arabs I have learned one thing:
if you are led by Authority, that means you are led by a halter.
-- Adelard, circa 1100 A.D.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.
As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow,
and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices
of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed.
I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.
-- Abraham Lincoln, In a letter written to William Elkin less than five months before he was assassinated.


Everyone should know of all information that others have deemed unfit for public knowledge.
--Author Unknown

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let people have guns ...why should we let them have ideas?
--Joseph Stalin

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
--John 8:32 - Inscribed on the wall of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia

Imagination is more important than intelligence.
-- Albert Einstein


The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by
the Prohibition law, for nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.
--Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A, 1921

"I wish Bill Gates the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow.
He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger."
-- Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Computers, 1997

Our current drug crisis is a tragedy born of a phony system of classification. For reasons that are little more than accidents of history,
we have divided a group of nonfood substances into two categories: items purchasable for supposed pleasure (such as alcohol),
and illicit drugs. The categories were once reversed. Opiates were legal in America before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914,
and members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, who campaigned against alcohol during the day, drank their valued
"women's tonics" at night, products laced with laudanum (tincture of opium).

I could abide---though I would still oppose---our current intransigence if we applied the principle of total interdiction to all harmful drugs.
But how can we possibly defend our current policy based on a dichotomy that encourages us to view one class of substances
as a preeminent scourge while the two most dangerous and life-destroying substances by far, alcohol and tobacco, form a second class
advertised in neon on every street corner of urban America? And why, moreover, should heroin be viewed with horror while
chemical cognates that are no different from heroin than lemonade is from iced tea perform work of enormous compassion
by relieving the pain of terminal cancer patients in their last days?
-- Stephen J. Gould, evolutionary biologist, Taxonomy as Politics, Dissent, winter 1990, p73


In my opinion, astrology is the only system that can successfully predict both the content
and the timing of experiences encountered in psychotherapy.
--Stanislov Grof

One can expect with considerable assurance, that a given well-defined psychological situation
will be accompanied by an analogous astrological configuration.
--C. G. Jung

The horoscope is a field of imagination and reflection not only through which we see ourselves,
but by which we see through ourselves to the archetypal ground that has created this dance we call life.
--Charles Ponce


I want you to be the good news to those around you.
I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor.
Do you know your next door neighbor?
-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
--Richard Bach, _Illusions_


Neither the trappings of robes, nor temples of stone, nor a fixed liturgy,
nor an extensive literature or history is required to meet the test of beliefs
cognizable under the Constitution as religious. So far as our law is concerned,
one person's religious beliefs held for one day are presumptively entitled to the
same protection as the beliefs of millions which have been shared for thousands of years.
-- Judge Jack Weinstein, New York State, 1977


Only a life lived for others is a life worth while .

I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious .

I want to know God's thoughts... all the rest are details.

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.

It's not that I'm so smart , it's just that I stay with problems longer.

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it .

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds .

Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people .

Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts .

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge .

Two things inspire me to awe -- the starry heavens above and the moral universe within .

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty .

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of others .

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has , of course , powerful muscles , but no personality.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.


Einstein Quotes
Liberty and Tyranny