appearance

Let us eat and drink neither forgetting death unduly nor remembering it. The Lord hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, etc., and the less we think about it the better.

We must judge men not so much by what they, as by what they make us feel that they have it in them to do. If a man has done enough in either painting, music, or the affairs of life, to make me feel that I might trust him in an emergency he has done enough

Work with some men is as besetting a sin as idleness.

Leisure and curiosity might soon make great advances in useful knowledge, were they not diverted by minute emulation and laborious trifles.

There is no observation more frequently made by such as employ themselves in surveying the conduct of mankind, than that marriage, though the dictate of nature, and the institution of Providence, is yet very often the cause of misery, and that those who enter into that state can seldom forbear to express their repentance, and their envy of those whom either chance or caution hath withheld from it.

Wisdom… was the first of the creation of God. The second word [i.e., commandment] intimated that men ought not to take and confer the august power of God (which is the name, for this alone were many even yet capable of learning), and transfer His title to things created and vain, which human artificers have made, among which 'He that is' is not ranked. For in His uncreated identity, 'He that is' is absolutely alone. So the best thing on earth is the most pious man; and the best thing in heaven, the nearer in place and purer, is an angel, the partaker of the eternal and blessed life.

Be careful and do not lightly condemn the actions of others. We must consider the intention of our neighbor, which is often good and pure, although the act itself seems blameworthy.

Before all else, let us list sincere thanksgiving first on the scroll of our prayer. On the second line, we should put confession and heartfelt contrition of soul. Then let us present our petition to the King of all. This is the best way of prayer, as it was shown to one of the monks...One word of the tax collector appeased God, and one cry of faith saved the thief.

I was lucky to wander into evolutionary theory, one of the most exciting and important of all scientific fields. I had never heard of it when I started at a rather tender age; I was simply awed by dinosaurs. I thought paleontologists spent their lives digging in up bones and putting them together, never venturing beyond the momentous issue of what connects to what. Then I discovered evolutionary theory. Ever since then, the duality of natural history — richness in particularities and potential union in underlying explanation — has propelled me.

Since the universe must contain millions of appropriate planets, consciousness in some form - but not with the paired eyes and limbs, and the brain built of neurons in the only example we know - may evolve frequently. But if only one origin of life in a million ever leads to consciousness, then Martian bacteria most emphatically do not imply Little Green Men.)

The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis.

True majorities, in a TV-dominated and anti-intellectual age, may need sound bites and flashing lights—and I am not against supplying such lures if they draw children into even a transient concern with science. But every classroom has one [Oliver] Sacks, one [Eric] Korn, or one [Jonathan] Miller, usually a lonely child with a passionate curiosity about nature, and a zeal that overcomes pressures for conformity. Do not the one in fifty deserve their institutions as well—magic places, like cabinet museums, that can spark the rare flames of genius?

The public, which has been wrong before and is wrong now, can accept only demons and angels on the stage

Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at mid-day.

By this (the work of the Spirit in our prayers) view he strikes us with holy dread and awe of the majesty of God, whereby is banished that lightness and vanity of heart, that makes such flaunting in the prayers of some.

O God, impress upon me the value of time, and give regulation to all my thoughts and to all my movements.

A star looks down at me, / And says: `Here I and you / Stand, each in our degree: / What do you mean to do?'

Only a man harrowing clods in a slow silent walk with an old horse that stumbles and nods, half asleep as they stalk.

Potent men digest hardly anything that setteth up a power to bridle their affections, and learned men anything that discovereth their errors and thereby lesseneth their authority. Whereas the common people's minds, unless they be tainted with dependence on the potent, or scribbled over with the opinions of their doctors, are like clean paper, fit to receive whatsoever by public authority shall be imprinted in them.

Any reductionist program has to be based on an analysis of what is to be reduced. If the analysis leaves something out, the problem will be falsely posed… As I have said, doubts about the reductionist account of life go against the dominant scientific consensus, but that consensus faces problems of probability that I believe are not taken seriously enough, both with respect to the evolution of life forms through accidental mutation and natural selection and with respect to the formation from dead matter of physical systems capable of such evolution. The more we learn about the intricacy of the genetic code and its control of these chemical processes of life, the harder these problems seem.