Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nonsense

"To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life." - Frank Gelett Burgess

"The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"He is no true man who ever treats women with anything but the profoundest respect. She is no true woman who cannot inspire and does not take care to enforce this. Any real rivalry of the sexes is the sheerest folly and most unnatural nonsense." - Alphonse de Lamartine, fully Alphonse Marie Louis de Lamartine

"Without our faith in free will the earth would be the scene not only of the most horrible nonsense but also of the most intolerable boredom." - Arthur Schnitzler

"A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself." - Tom Stoppard, fully Sir Tom Stoppard, born Tomáš Straüssler

"There is no inherent authority of `truth’ to any concept except for the subjective value ascribed to it. Credibility is a subjective decision and purely experiential and indefinable. What is convincing to one person may be dismissed as nonsense by another. The realization and knowingness of God is radically and purely subjective. There is not even the hypothetical possibility that reason could arrive at Truth. Truth is knowable only by virtue of the identity of being it." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"We live in a world of many illusions and much of human belief is ritualized nonsense." - Wes Nisker, fully Wes "Scoop" Nisker

"A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men." - Willy Wonka

"Human reason exhausts itself ceaselessly to explain the inexplicable. Explanation itself is high comedy, as preposterous as trying to see the back of one's own head, but the vanity of the ego is boundless, and it becomes even more overblown by this very attempt to make sense of nonsense. The mind, in its identity with the ego, cannot by definition, comprehend reality; if it could, it would instantly dissolve itself upon recognizing its own illusory nature. It's only beyond the paradox of mind transcending ego that what Is stands forth, self-evident and dazzling in its infinite Absoluteness. And then all of these words are useless." -

"Truth is a qualification which applies to appearance alone. Reality is just itself, and it is nonsense to ask whether it be true or false. Truth is the conformation of appearance to reality." - Alfred North Whitehead

"More pernicious nonsense was never devised by man than treaties of commerce." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities." - Dr. Seuss, pen name for Theodore Seuss Geisel

"How hard it is to confess that we have spoken without thinking, that we have talked nonsense. How many a man says a thing in haste and heat, without fully understanding or half meaning it, and then, because he has said it, holds fast to it, and tries to defend it as if it were true! But how much wiser, how much more admirable and attractive it is when a man has the grace to perceive and acknowledge his mistakes! It gives us assurance that he is capable of learning, of growing, of improving, so that his future will be better than his past." - Henry Van Dyke

"There are great depths and obscurities, greater intricacies and perplexities, in an elaborate and well-written piece of nonsense, than in the most abstruse and profound tract of school divinity." - Joseph Addison

"It is nonsense to say there is not enough time to be fully informed.. Time given to thought is the greatest time saver of all." - Norman Cousins

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you will begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered by your old nonsense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and some absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"As a result of all his education, from everything he hears and sees around him, the child absorbs such a lot of lies and foolish nonsense, mixed in with essential truths, that the first duty of the adolescent who wants to be a healthy man is to disgorge it all." - Romain Rolland

"This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but to say that it is the worst is mere petulant nonsense." - Thomas Henry Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog

"From the earliest times the old have rubbed it into the young that they are wise than they, and before the young had discovered what nonsense this was they were old too, and it profited them to carry on the imposture." - W. Somerset Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

"Human reason exhausts itself ceaselessly to explain the inexplicable. Explanation itself is high comedy, as preposterous as trying to see the back of one's own head, but the vanity of the ego is boundless, and it becomes even more overblown by this very attempt to make sense of nonsense. The mind, in its identity with the ego, cannot by definition, comprehend reality; if it could, it would instantly dissolve itself upon recognizing its own illusory nature. It's only beyond the paradox of mind transcending ego that what IS stands forth, self-evident and dazzling in its infinite Absoluteness. And then all of these words are useless." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"Nonsense is that which does not fit into the prearranged patterns which we have superimposed on reality...Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense." - Gary Zukav

"I am not proud of the part I played in it. I did it because it was necessary for the safety of this country. That's why I am such a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war. Unfortunately limits — attempts to limit war have always failed. The lesson of history is when a war starts every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available. ... Therefore, we must expect that if another war — a serious war — breaks out, we will use nuclear energy in some form." - Hyman George Rickover

"That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts." - Jeremy Bentham

"Idealism and metaphysics are the easiest things in the world, because people can talk as much nonsense as they like without basing it on objective reality or having it tested against reality. Materialism and dialectics, on the other hand, need effort. They must be based on and tested by objective reality. Unless one makes the effort one is liable to slip into idealism and metaphysics." - Mao Tse-tung, alternatively Zedong, Ze dong, aka Chairman Mao

"We must keep in mind the story of the statistician who drowned while trying to wade across a river with an average depth of four feet. That is to say, in a culture that reveres statistics, we can never be sure what sort of nonsense will lodge in people's heads." - Neil Postman

"I think progress in religion is actually great idea and I think if ever there is a time we need progress, it is now. Religion isn't going to go away, whatever Richard Dawkins says. People aren't just going to be persuaded that religion is all nonsense so we'll just drop it. People, even atheists, have what (evolutionary theologian) John F. Haught calls 'a God-shaped hole in their hearts.' Everyone has some sort of spiritual yearning and we need to recognize that human dimension. It may not be the whole story but I think scientists should be sensitive to the fact that people have those genuine needs." - Paul Davies

"True wisdom knows it must comprise some nonsense as a compromise, lest fools should fail to find it wise. " - Piet Hein

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. " - Albert Einstein

"Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!" - Albert Einstein

"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor... This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!" - Albert Einstein

"Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end." - Richard Dawkins

"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity." - Robertson Davies

"And force them, though it was in spite Of Nature and their stars, to write." - Samuel Butler

"It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"Evolution has encountered no intellectual trouble; no new arguments have been offered. Creationism is a home-grown phenomenon of American sociocultural history-- a splinter movement . . . who believe that every word in the Bible must be literally true, whatever such a claim might mean." - Stephan Jay Gould

"No one should feel at all offended or threatened by the obvious fact that we are not all born entirely blank, or entirely the same, in our mixture of the broad behavioral propensities defining what we call temperament." - Stephan Jay Gould

"This essay treats the most celebrated story in the extreme simplification in an adult parasite - in the interests of illuminating, reconciling, and, perhaps, even resolving two major biases that have so hindered our understanding of natural history: the misequation of evolution with progress, and the undervaluing of an organism by considering only its adult form and not the entire life cycle." - Stephan Jay Gould

"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind." - Thomas Jefferson

"Build your house on granite. By granite I mean your nature that you are torturing to death, the love in your child's body, your wife's dream of love, your own dream of life when you were sixteen. Exchange your illusions for a bit of truth. Throw out your politicians and diplomats! Take your destiny into your own hands and build your life on rock. Forget about your neighbor and look inside yourself! Your neighbor, too, will be grateful. Tell you're fellow workers all over the world that you're no longer willing to work for death but only for life. Instead of flocking to executions and shouting hurrah, hurrah, make a law for the protection of human life and its blessings. Such a law will be part of the granite foundation your house rests on. Protect your small children's love against the assaults of lascivious, frustrated men and women. Stop the mouth of the malignant old maid; expose her publicly or send her to a reform school instead of young people who are longing for love. Don;t try to outdo your exploiter in exploitation if you have a chance to become a boss. Throw away your swallowtails and top hat, and stop applying for a license to embrace your woman. Join forces with your kind in all countries; they are like you, for better or worse. Let your child grow up as nature (or 'God') intended. Don't try to improve on nature. Learn to understand it and protect it. Go to the library instead of the prize fight, go to foreign countries rather than to Coney Island. And first and foremost, think straight, trust the quiet inner voice inside you that tells you what to do. You hold your life in your hands, don't entrust it to anyone else, least of all to your chosen leaders. BE YOURSELF! Any number of great men have told you that." - Wilhelm Reich

"Poetry exceeding music must take the place of empty heaven and its hymns." - Wallace Stevens

"Political institutions are a superstructure resting on an economic foundation." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Being a murderer with a sensational but incomplete and unorthodox memory, I cannot tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the exact day which I first knew with certainty that the red convertible was following us." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Math anxiety: an intense lifelong fear of two trains approaching each other at speeds of 60 and 80 MPH." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"With twice his wits, she had to see things through his eyes -- one of the tragedies of married life." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf