11
Apr 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Carl Sagan

(typographic design by Jennifer Pelham)

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A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.

--Mark Twain

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 Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand the point of view of others, and not just those in power; to contemplate--with the best teachers--the insights, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history. They allow people long dead to talk inside our heads. Books can accompany us everywhere. Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses. Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society. 

--Carl Sagan

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Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grand children's time ... when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstitions and darkness.

--Carl Sagan

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 The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.

--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind."

--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

--Henry David Thoreau

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 What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?

--Henry David Thoreau

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 A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
--Groucho Marx
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Will the future ever arrive? Should we continue to look upwards?Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depth, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.

--Victor Hugo
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Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.
--Stephen Jay Gould
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Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
--H.G. Wells
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It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.
--Margaret Mead
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The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next.

--Helen Keller

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Dulce et Decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

--Wilfred Owen, 1917