Observation

Scientists look for four qualities in theory generally… parsimony: the fewer the units and process used to account for the phenomenon, the better… second, generality: the greater the range of phenomena covered by the model, the more likely it is to be true… Consilence: units and process of a discipline that conform with solidly verified knowledge in other disciplines have proven consistently superior in theory and practice to units and processes that do not conform… Predictiveness: those theories endure that are precise in the predictions they make across phenomena and whose predictions are easiest to test by observation and experiment.

An independent reality in the ordinary physical sense can neither be ascribed to the phenomenon nor to the agencies of observation.

It is a just observation that the people commonly intend the public good. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend that they always reason right about the means of promoting it. They known from experience that they sometimes err; and the wonder is that they so seldom err as they do, beset, as they continually are, by the wiles of parasites and sycophants, by the snares of the ambitious, the avaricious, the desperate, by the artifices of men who possess their confidence more then they deserve it, and of those who seek to possess rather than to deserve it.

Observation more than books, experience rather than persons, are the prime educators.

The soul is present with us as much while we are asleep as while we are awake; and, while waking resembles active observation, sleep resembles the implicit though not exercised possession of knowledge.

He that studies only men, will get the body of knowledge without the soul; and he that studies only books, the soul without the body. He that to what he sees, adds observation, and to what he reads, reflection, is on the right road to knowledge, provided that in scrutinizing the hearts of others, he neglects not his own.

Truth is strengthened by observation and time, pretenses by haste and uncertainty.

He is a truly virtuous man who wishes always to be open to the observation of honest men.

Nothing is so capable of diminishing self-love as the observation that we disapprove at one time what we approve at another.

It is for the most part in our skill in manners, and in the observation of time and place and of decency in general that what is called taste consists; and which is in reality no other that a more refined judgment. The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment.

Studies teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.

[Zen] is not a kind of “self-actualization,” an expansion of the limited, isolated Me, of the empirical ego. Neither is it a regression, a return into that vegetative ooze of Oneness, before we became aware of our differentiation as separate egos. On the contrary, the Zen experience is the overcoming of the hallucination that the Me is the valid center of observation of the universe. It is a momentary, radical turnabout, a direct perception of and insight into the presence, into the transiency, the finitude that I share with all beings.

The whole record of civilization is a record of the failure of money as a higher incentive. The enormous majority of men never make any serious effort to get rich. The few who are sordid enough to do so easily become millionaires with a little luck, and astonish the others by the contrast between their riches and their stupidity... The belief in money as an incentive is founded on the observation that people will do for money what they will not do for anything else.

If a man really knew himself he would utterly despise the ignorant notions others might form on a subject in which he had such matchless opportunities for observation.

The greater part of our daily actions are the result of hidden motives which escape our observation.

Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning, an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.

There are at bottom but two possible religions - that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.

There are at bottom but two possible religions – that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.

This is the tax a man must pay to his virtues - they hold up a torch to his vices, and render those frailties notorious in him which would have passed without observation in another.