Every time a man dies, a whole universe is destroyed.
-Josef Popper-Lynkeus (Popper & Eccles 1977 p. 3)
Im Inneren ist ein Universum auch.
Everything we see is inside our own heads.
For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go
- The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to
man as it is, infinite.
- William Blake, Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 14.
You never identify yourself with the shadows cast by your body, or
with its reflection, or with the body you see in a dream or in your
imagination. Therefore you should not identify yourself with this
living body either.
- Shankara (A.D. 788-820) Viveka Chudamani (Vedic scriptures)
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
...As long as the brain is a mystery, the universe, the reflection of
the structure of the brain, will also be a mystery"
Cajal (quoted by Penfield)
In God's name, how can you approach the great questions of the
Cosmos, of the nature of Being and Reality if you haven't first formed
a clear idea of what's inside and what's outside, and what part your
own Brain plays in supporting your ruminations?
-Stephen Harrison, The Mind/Brain Problem
Each of us believes himself to live directly within the world that
surrounds him, to sense its objects and events precisely, and to live
in real and current time. I assert that these are perceptual illusions
... Each of us lives within the universe - the prison of his own
Vernon Mountcastle; The View from Within. John Hopkins Med. Journal 136, p. 109.
How then, is it natural that the mind of man, being so small as
contained in such narrow spaces as a brain or a heart, should have
room for all the vastness of sky and Universe?
The brain is wider than the sky
For put them side by side
The one the other will contain
With ease, and you besides
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: "The flag is moving."
The other said: "Wind is moving." The Sixth Patriarch happened to be
passing by. He told them: "Not the flag, not the wind; mind is moving.
From "The Gateless Gate" (A Collection of Zen Stories)
In the dream state where there is no object, mind on its own creates
everything; and it also creates everything seen when awake as
well. There is little difference between the two states. Everything we
see is a creation of the mind.
-Eighth century Indian philosopher Samkara.
We see with our brains not eyes.
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will
pick himself up and continue on.
- Winston Churchill
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any
good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats!
- Howard Aiken
When a thing is new, people say: "It is not true".
Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: "It's not important."
Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say "Anyway, it's not new"
If we continue to do things the way they have always been done, the most we
can expect is what we already have.
- Dennis Bay
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first
- Samuel Johnson
The ignorant man marvels at the exceptional; the wise man marvels at the
- Jonathan Edwards
I begin to suspect that a man's bewilderment is the measure of his wisdom.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
A ship is safe in the port, but that is not what a ship is for.
I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.
- Jonathan Winters
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
- Herman Melville
In any field, find the strangest thing and then explorre it.
- John Archibald Wheeler.
In science one is often forced to choose between providing precise
answers to piffling questions (how many cones are there in a human
eye) or vague answers to big questions (what is the self), but every
now and then you come up with a precise answer to a big question (such
as the link between deoxyribonucleic acid [DNA] and heredity) and you
hit the jackpot.
- Ramachandran & Blakeslee (1988)
People in other fields of endeavor, hankering to turn their
disciplines into exact sciences, beset by what has since been called
physics envy, set about converting whatever they knew
into numbers and thence into equations with predictive
- Thomas (1984) "Thoughts", pp. 144-146.
All are sure in their days except the most wise ... He
is the wisest philosopher who holds his theory with some doubt.
- Faraday (1910) Life and Letters. p. 179.
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
-Max Planck, 1947 Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers.
The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is
- Albert Einstein
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from
- Albert Einstein
The legions of the stupid are invincible and shall be with us for a
long time, but the terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack
- Albert Einstein
The highest form that intelligence takes is a recognition of its own
limits and limitations. For in doing so, the intelligence
conceptualizes something larger than itself.
- Steve Lehar
To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of
in your philosophy.
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5
My sense of God is my sense of wonder about the universe.
- Albert Einstein
Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living
Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
A scientist knows more and more about less and less till he knows
everything about nothing, while a philosopher knows less and less
about more and more till he knows nothing about everything.
The aim of philosophy is to start with something so obvious as to not
be worth mentioning, and to end up with something so absurd that no
one will believe it.
There are no differences but differences of degree between different
degrees of difference and no difference.
- William James, inspiration under Nitrous Oxide intoxication.
Those who have excessive faith in their ideas are not well fitted to
-Claude Bernard (Hadamard 1954 p. 48)
A proof is that which convinces a reasonable man; a rigorous proof is
that which convinces an unreasonable man.
-Mark Kac (mathematician)
the men who render the best service in the idiom or paradigm into
which they are born are the least able to imagine a totally different
order of things.
- Stephen Harrison, The Mind/Brain Problem
Don't let school get in the way of your education.
- Mark Twain
What we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely
irrational attempts to justify our instincts.
- Thomas Henry Huxley
"Analgesic explanations" are those that "dull the ache of
incomprehension without removing the cause."
- Peter Medawar
Don't believe the results of experiments until they're confirmed by
- Sir Arthur Eddington
Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is
impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it
evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it.
- Stuart Sutherland
For humans, honesty is a matter of degree. Engineers are always honest
in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a
good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests,
and other people who can't handle the truth.
-Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle
...By a 'silly' theory I mean one which may be held at the time when
one is talking or writing professionally, but which only an inmate of
a lunatic asylum would think of carrying into daily life. ... It must
not be supposed that the men who maintain these theories and beliefs
are 'silly' people. Only very acute and learned men could have thought
of anything so odd or defended anything so preposterous against the
continual protests of common sense.
-C. D. Broad; Mind and its Place in Nature
I suspect that there is a class of positions that are wrong but not
refutable ... (like, e.g. solipsism)
The person who doubts there is an external world does not need proof:
he needs a cure.
-Fichte, quoted by Aiken
Naive realism leads to physics, and physics, if true, shows that naive
realism is false. Therefore naive realism, if true, is false;
therefore it is false.
-Bertrand Russell (1940) An Enquiry Into Meaning and Truth
Analysis and synthesis are both as necessary to the thinking spirit as
inspiration and expiration to the organism.
Consciousness is a word worn smooth by a million tongues.
-George Miller (1987) Psychology: The Science of Mental Life.
"The need to produce" is as deadly to pure science as it is to
-J. James (1993) The Music of the Spheres.
Your children are not your children,
they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They
come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, they
belong not to you.
-Kahlil Gibran- The Prophet.
The "dirty secret of contemporary neuroscience": we have no idea what
the correct level of analysis is, because there is no universally
accepted theory of how the brain codes information.
-Searle (1997) The Mystery of Consciousness.
[Gestalt Theory] is not so much a finished theory as a broad way of
looking at the facts of perception and behavior. It is a systematic
orientation to psychology having a strong philosophical note and a set
of apt and coherent formulations, rather than a basic explanation
established by reference to a rigorously tested and proven model.
-Allport (1955) Theories of Perception and the Concept of Structure.
Bertrand Russell ... was giving a lesson on solipsism to a lay
audience, and a woman got up and said she was delighted to hear
Bertrand Russell say he was a solipsist; she was one too, and she
wished there were more of us.
-W. H. Thorpe: Beyond Reductionism
Rubbish is rubbish. But the history of rubbish is scholarship.
You're crazy if you think you're not insane!
Alcohol und Nikotine
Rafft die Halbe Menschheit hin
Ohne Alkohol und Rauch
Stirbt die andere Hälfte auch
Der grösste Feind der Menschheit wohl
Das ist und bleibt der Alcohol
Doch in der Bibel steht geschrieben
Du sollst auch deine Feinde lieben
If its good for ancient Druids
Running nekkid through the wuids
Drinking strange fermented fluids
Then its good enough for me!
Fill with mingled cream and amber
I will drain that glass again
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain
Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away
What care I how time advances
I am drinking ale today
-Edgar Allen Poe
This is grain ... which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord
intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our
Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about BEER!
-Friar Tuck, in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the
second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as
they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world!
-Oscar Wilde, on consumption of Absinthe