Ere you lie down to sleep in the night, sit still awhile, and nurse again to life your gentler self. Forget the restless, noisy spirit of the day, and encourage to speech the soft voices within you that timidly whisper of the peace of the quiet night; and occasionally look out at the quiet stars. The night will soothe you like a tender mother, folding you against her soft bosom, and hiding you from the harm of the world. Though denied and rejected by men in the light of day, the night will not reject you and in the still of her soft shadows you are free. After the day's struggle there is no freedom like unfettered thoughts, no sound like the music of silence. And though behind you lies a road of dust and heat and discouragement, and before you the challenge and uncertainty of untried paths, in this brief hour you are master of all highways, and the universe nestles in your soul.
In both social and natural sciences, the body of positive knowledge grows by the failure of a tentative hypothesis to predict phenomena the hypothesis professes to explain; by the patching up of that hypothesis until someone suggests a new hypothesis that more elegantly or simply embodies the troublesome phenomena, and so on ad infinitum. In both, experiment is sometimes possible, sometimes not (witness meteorology). In both, no experiment is ever completely controlled, and experience often offers evidence that is the equivalent of controlled experiment. In both, there is no way to have a self-contained closed system or to avoid interaction between the observer and the observed. The Gödel theorem in mathematics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in physics, the self-fulfilling or self-defeating prophecy in the social sciences all exemplify these limitations.
The difference between theism and non-theism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. . . Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us… Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves.
The basic fault lines today are not between people with different beliefs but between people who hold these beliefs with an element of uncertainty and people who hold these beliefs with a pretense of certitude.
Ought a man to be confident that he deserves his good fortune, and think much of himself when he has overcome a nation, or city, or empire; or does fortune give this as an example to the victor also of the uncertainty of human affairs, which never continue in one stay? For what time can there be for us mortals to feel confident, when our victories over others especially compel us to dread fortune, and while we are exulting, the reflection that the fatal day comes now to one, now to another, in regular succession, dashes our joy.
In their new personal development the girl and the woman will only be for a short time imitations of the good and bad manners of man and reiterations of man's professions. After the uncertainty of this transition it will appear that women have passed through those many, often ridiculous, changes of disguise, only to free themselves from the disturbing influence of the other sex. For women, in whom life tarries and dwells in a more incommunicable, fruitful and confident form, must at bottom have become richer beings, more ideally human beings than fundamentally easy-going man, who is not drawn down beneath the surface of life by the difficulty of bearing bodily fruit, and who arrogantly and hastily undervalues what he means to love. When this humanity of woman, borne to the full in pain and humiliation, has stripped off in the course of the changes of its outward position the old convention of simple feminine weakness, it will come to light, and man, who cannot yet feel it coming, will be surprised and smitten by it. One day
So we have arrived at the following paradox. If a theory of the origin of life is sufficiently 'plausible' to satisfy our subjective judgment of plausibility, it is then too 'plausible' to account for the paucity of life in the universe as we observe it. According to this argument, the theory we are looking for has got to be the kind of theory that seems implausible to our limited, Earth-bound, decade-bound imaginations. Seen in this light, both Cairns-Smith's theory and the primeval-soup theory seem if anything in danger of erring on the side of being too plausible! Having said all this I must confess that, because there is so much uncertainty in the calculations, if a chemist did succeed in creating spontaneous life I would not actually be disconcerted!
In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.
It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.
The glorious uncertainty of the law was a thing well known and complained of, by all ignorant people, but all learned gentleman considered it as its greatest excellency.
Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.
As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth. As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change... There’s a realization that we are changing our climate for the worse. That would have catastrophic effects. Although the threat is not as dire as that of nuclear weapons right now, in the long term we are looking at a serious threat.
People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Perhaps the belief in God is the belief that the universe is intelligible, but not to us.
One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings is, that Nature disapproves it; otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass in place of a lion.
In universities, those who were in pursuit of truth have to a significant extent been followed by those in pursuit of research grants, or of promotions. Truth itself, as the proclaimed goal of a university, has largely been reduced from something that we serve to something that serves us; from something to which we aspire to something that we construct. The academic enterprise then becomes the knowledge industry: the instrument by which a society turns out knowledge as it turns out motor cars, for consumption and for our own profit or pleasure or aggrandizement. Socrates’s ‘knowledge is virtue’ has been widely replaced by Bacon’s ‘knowledge is power’. Rationalism in the sense of a disciplined subservient dedication of oneself to the rule of transcendent Reason, has been largely replaced by a new rationalism that is concerned rather and only with the appropriateness of instrumental means to unscrutinized ends. Classically, Europe had held that to seek what is not morally good is as irrational as to think what is not intellectually true.
Oh Me! Oh Life! of the questions recurring, Answer - That you are here - that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
The important thing is to keep playing, to play against weak opponents and to play for big stakes.
The only thing I need is freedom from myself.