Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Theoretical

"1) We talk about you. 2)We talk to you. 3)We talk with one another. And 4) We talk with one another about ourselves. When we are talking about one another, and when we are talking to (or at) one another there is no dialogue. The dialogue starts when we are at the place of talking with one another. Sometimes in the process of dialogue, we discover we have moved to the deeper, fourth stage. We are talking with one another about ourselves. " - Wilfred Cantwell Smith

"The laws of thermodynamics, as empirically determined, express the approximate and probable behavior of systems of a great number of particles, or, more precisely, they express the laws of mechanics for such systems as they appear to beings who have not the fineness of perception to enable them to appreciate quantities of the order of magnitude of those which relate to single particles, and who cannot repeat their experiments often enough to obtain any but the most probable results." - Willard Gibbs, fully Josiah Willard Gibbs

"It was about three o’clock at night when the final result of the calculation [which gave birth to quantum mechanics] lay before me ... At first I was deeply shaken ... I was so excited that I could not think of sleep. So I left the house ... and awaited the sunrise on top of a rock. Nature is made in such a way as to be able to be understood. Or perhaps I should put it—more correctly—the other way around, and say that we are made in such a way as to be able to understand Nature." - Werner Heisenberg, fully Werner Karl Heisenberg

"The exact sciences also start from the assumption that in the end it will always be possible to understand nature, even in every new field of experience, but that we may make no a priori assumptions about the meaning of the word understand." - Werner Heisenberg, fully Werner Karl Heisenberg

"The interest of research workers has frequently been focused on the phenomenon of regularly shaped crystals suddenly forming from a liquid, e.g. a supersaturated salt solution. According to the atomic theory the forming force in this process is to a certain extent the symmetry characteristic of the solution to Schrödinger's wave equation, and to that extent crystallization is explained by the atomic theory. Nevertheless this process retains a statistical and — one might almost say — historical element which cannot be further reduced: even when the state of the liquid is completely known before crystallization, the shape of the crystal is not determined by the laws of quantum mechanics. The formation of regular shapes is just far more probable than that of a shapeless lump. But the ultimate shape owes its genesis partly to an element of chance which in principle cannot be analysed further." - Werner Heisenberg, fully Werner Karl Heisenberg

"This has also appeared in the alternate form: What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg, fully Werner Karl Heisenberg

"It is a horrible fact that we can read in the daily paper, without interrupting our breakfast, numerical reckonings of death and destruction that ought to break our hearts or scare us out of our wits." - Wendell Berry

"This struggle must be organized, according to “all the rules of the art”, by people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity. The fact that the masses are spontaneously being drawn into the movement does not make the organization of this struggle less necessary. On the contrary, it makes it more necessary." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"When the Soviet government is experiencing a difficult period and plots are being hatched by bourgeois elements and when at a critical moment we manage to lay bare these plots — do they think they are discovered accidentally? Oh, no, not accidentally. They are discovered because the plotters live among the masses, because they cannot succeed in their plots without the workers and peasants and it is there that, in the long run, they run up against people who go to that badly organized, as they said here, Cheka and say that exploiters are gathered in a certain place." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Agricultural practice served Darwin as the material basis for the elaboration of his theory of Evolution, which explained the natural causation of the adaptation we see in the structure of the organic world. That was a great advance in the knowledge of living nature." - Trofim Lysenko, fully Trofim Denisovich Lysenko

"Darwin investigated the numerous facts obtained by naturalists in living nature and analysed them through the prism of practical experience." - Trofim Lysenko, fully Trofim Denisovich Lysenko

"To view attention as a special state of intelligence, and to distinguish it from consciousness, is utterly inept." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"The mere assemblage of peace loving people to interchange convincing reasons for their common faith, mere exhortation and argument to the public in favor of peace in general fall short of the mark." - Elihu Root

"There is a truly spiritual mode of communication from which nothing but good can come. It is this: Sit down quietly and remind yourself that the one God really is Omnipresent. Then reflect that your real self is in the Presence of God now, and that the real selves of others are also in the Presence of God. Do this for a few minutes every day, and sooner or later you will get a sense of communication." - Emmet Fox

"The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated." - Che Guevara, fully Ernesto “Che” Guevara

"But while all fanaticism shows intellectual weakness, a fanaticism about the means to be employed for reaching quite uncertain objectives is sheer feeble mindedness." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"Security is elusive. ItÂ’s impossible. We all die. We all get old. We all get sick. People leave us. People change us. Nothing is secure." -

"Where shall a man have a worse friend than he brings from home." -