Connexions Quotations

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A teacher’s major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-student’s grandchild. A teacher, finally, has nothing to go on but faith, a student nothing to offer in return but testimony.
- Wendell Berry


The test of intelligence [is] not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do. Similarly, any situation, any activity, that puts before us real problems, that we have to solve for ourselves, problems for which there are no answers in any book, sharpens our intelligence.
- John Holt


That is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose – especially their lives.
- Eugene Debs


Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
- Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 19:21)


There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.
- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.
- Alfred North Whitehead


There are three classes of people, those who see, those who see when they are shown and those who do not see.
- Leonardo da Vinci


There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
- Albert Schweitzer


There can be no self-activity without freedom of thought and opinion, for self-activity manifests itself not only in initiative, action, and work, but in independent thought as well.
- Alexandra Kollontai


There has been a striking change in the behavior of the intellectual class in recent years. The left intellectuals who 60 years ago would have been teaching in working class schools, writing books like ‘mathematics for the millions’ (which made mathematics intelligible to millions of people), participating in and speaking for popular organizations, etc., are now largely disengaged from such activities, and although quick to tell us that they are far more radical than thou, are not to be found, it seems, when there is such an obvious and growing need and even explicit request for the work they could do out there in the world of people with live problems and concerns.
- Noam Chomsky


There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.
- Mario Savio


There is history that remembers and history that arises from a need to forget.
- Christopher Lasch


There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
- Bertrand Russell


There is no human institution that approaches totalitarianism as closely as a business corporation.
- Noam Chomsky


There is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace.
- Sherlock Holmes


There’s nothing under the ground that’s worth more than the little layer of topsoil sitting on top of it.
- Wendell Berry


There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all... What is it? Distrust.
- Demosthenes


There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery.
- Karl Marx


There will be no annexation of ourselves or our territory to an independent Quebec without our consent. There is an obvious and undeniable logic here: If Quebec has the right to leave Canada, then certainly the Cree people have the right to keep our territory in Canada, if that is our choice. We cannot simply be traded from country to country, as though we are livestock in a field... Consider this: Cree Territory is contiguous with the Northwest Territories, Ontario, and Labrador. It was added to Quebec only very late, only in 1912, and Quebec only began to administer the territory in 1963. In fact, in 1993 the Government of Quebec held a celebration called Thirty Years in the North.
- Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec


This is what’s called “increasing flexibility of the labor market.” Flexibility is a word like reform -- it’s supposed to be a good thing. Actually, flexibility means insecurity. It means you go to bed at night and don’t know if you’ll have a job in the morning. Any economist can explain that that’s a good thing for the economy – that is, for profit-making, not for the way people live.
- Noam Chomsky


Those who take the meat from the table
teach contentment
Those for whom the taxes are destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill
speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.
- Bertolt Brecht


Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?
- John Milton


Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?
- John Milton


Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.
- Bertrand Russell


Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to, and every song they created, and every poem that they laid down flows down to me – and if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to see, and if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world.
- Utah Phillips


To Every Complex Problem there is a Simple Answer:
Neat, Plausible, and Wrong.
- H.L. Mencken


To gaze into the glassy eyes of anyone 100 per cent certain of their special place in this world and the next isn’t a cheering experience. The closed mind, no matter what it is closed against, is as much a hazard to the planet as a nuclear stockpile and there are few things so thoroughly bolted and barred as the mind with a god locked inside – Houdini himself couldn’t get in or out. Doubt is anathema to it, yet doubt is the only truly human condition, our burden but also our glory, and to reject doubt’s saving grace turns us into so many robots with floppy discs where our brains should be.
- Jill Tweedie


To imply by the word “terrorism” that this sort of terror is the work exclusively of “terrorists” is misleading. The “legitimate” warfare of technologically advanced nations likewise is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against innocents.
- Wendell Berry


To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize
- Voltaire


To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and imposition on posterity.
- Thomas Paine
  Common Sense


Today, local economies are being destroyed by the ‘pluralistic,’ displaced, global economy, which has no respect for what works in a locality. The global economy is built on the principle that one place can be exploited, even destroyed, for the sake of another place.
- Wendell Berry


Too much consistency is as bad for the mind as it is for the body. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
- Aldous Huxley


Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
- Mae West


The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was "given" by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.
- Bertrand Russell


The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.
- Andre Gide


Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
- Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 25:40)


First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.
- Bertrand Russell


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