Words put into the correct context can have a profound effect, as they can influence you, guide you, change an opinion, give advice, motivate you and offer wisdom. A good quote can leave a lasting impact on the world, long after the person has left us. So I’ve decided to compile some of what I consider words of wisdom.
(1835 – 1910),
or more commonly known to the world as Mark Twain was an American author, a humorist, journalist and inventor. His most famous works are the novels ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)’, which amused both children and adults alike, and they were heavily influenced by his early life beside the Mississippi, and his brief career as a riverboat pilot. His legacy lives on 110 years after his death, and he remains one of America’s most loved authors and thinkers.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
(1872 – 1970),
was born into British aristocracy, and became a social and political commentator, mathematician, philosopher, historian and a sceptical liberal. He was honoured as a Nobel Laureate in 1950 for literature, and is regarded as one of the most important and influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He’s credited with the mathematical ‘Russell’s paradox.’
“Russell’s paradox is based on examples like this: Consider a group of barbers who shave only those men who do not shave themselves. Suppose there is a barber in this collection who does not shave himself; then by the definition of the collection, he must shave himself. But no barber in the collection can shave himself. (If so, he would be a man who does shave men who shave themselves.)” – Source
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
“Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.”
“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
(1920 – 1992),
was an author and a professor of biochemistry who worked at the university of Boston. He wrote a great deal of science fiction stories, as well as non-fiction science educational books. In his science fiction novels he created the ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ which heavily influenced future writers and movie makers, and he received multiple Hugo awards throughout his career, and a number of his books appeared as movies on the big screen.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
“I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”
“Science is uncertain. Theories are subject to revision; observations are open to a variety of interpretations, and scientists quarrel amongst themselves. This is disillusioning for those untrained in the scientific method, who thus turn to the rigid certainty of the Bible instead. There is something comfortable about a view that allows for no deviation and that spares you the painful necessity of having to think.”
(1879 – 1955),
was a German born theoretical physicist who’s most famous for his pioneering theory of relativity, and like Bertrand Russell, he too was a Nobel Laureate in 1921, for his input towards the development of the theory of quantum physics. ‘E = mc^2‘ remains one of the most famous equations even for people who have no idea what it means. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared in case you’re wondering. Both he and Bertrand Russell, and 11 other scientists signed the ‘Russell–Einstein Manifesto‘, during the Cold War, warning and highlighting the dangers of nuclear weaponry and that alternative measures must be used in the case of conflict.
“Harvey’s 1985 study authors reported that Einstein’s brain had a higher number of glial cells (those that support and insulate the nervous system) per neurons (nerve cells) than other brains they examined. They concluded that it might indicate the neurons had a higher metabolic need — in other words, Einstein’s brain cells needed and used more energy, which could have been why he had such advanced thinking abilities and conceptual skills.” – Source
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
(1694 – 1778),
was best known as ‘Voltaire‘. He was alive during the ‘Age of Enlightenment‘, and he was a French National. He was renowned for being extremely critical of Christianity, and was a strong advocate for secularism. He was a writer, a philosopher and a historian. He was strongly against brutality and oppression which he used his literary wit to criticise. He studied at a Jesuit school, and this is where his scepticism of organised religion was born.
“Common sense is not so common.”
“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
“Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.”