• Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

  • My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

    – Thomas Paine. The Rights of Man, 1791

  • The question (determining whether animals deserve ethical consideration) is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’

    – Jeremy Bentham. 1789.

  • The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. […] The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

    – Richard Dawkins. 1995, “River Out of Eden,” pp. 131-33.

  • Money is the unit of caring.

    – Eliezer Yudkowsky. Money: The Unit of Caring.

  • What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    – Christopher Hitchens (Hitchen’s razor). 2003.

  • He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

    – John McCarthy. Progress and its sustainability.

  • The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

    – Attributed to Alan Kay.

  • Sure the deck is stacked. But it is the only game in town. If you don’t play then you can’t win.

    – Attributed to Heinlein by Samantha Atkins.

  • Life is good. More is better.

    – Ralph Merkle. Ralph Merkle’s homepage.

  • There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘Not today’.

    – Syrio Forel. Game of Thrones.

  • I wanna live. I don’t wanna die. That’s the whole meaning of life: Not dying! I figured that shit out by myself in the third grade.

    – George Carlin. Memorable Quotes.

  • If you push for all or nothing, what you get is nothing.

    – Henry Spira. Mark Harris, “The Threat From Within,” Vegetarian Times, February 1995, at 70 (quoting Henry Spira).

  • Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception.

    – Carl Sagan. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (2006).

  • A bet is a tax on bullshit.

    – Alex Tabarrok.

  • Put your money where your mouth is.

  • You only cry for help if you believe there’s help to cry for.

    – Wentworth Miller.

  • We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.

    – Bob Ross.

  • As a cryptography and computer security expert, I have never understood the current fuss about the open source software movement. In the cryptography world, we consider open source necessary for good security; we have for decades. Public security is always more secure than proprietary security. It’s true for cryptographic algorithms, security protocols, and security source code. For us, open source isn’t just a business model; it’s smart engineering practice.

    – Bruce Schneier. Crypto-Gram. September 15, 1999.

  • I would like to be a vegetarian. I would like everybody to be a vegetarian… In 100 or 200 years time, we may look back on the way we treated animals today as something like we today look back on the way our forefathers treated slaves.

    – Richard Dawkins. During Q&A on Sept 29, 2013 in Washington, DC at GW’s Lisner Auditorium. Video.

  • What do you call it when engineers do philosophy? Science.

  • The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

    – (Several). Entry at Quote Investigator

  • I am addicted to “viewquakes”, insights which dramatically change my world view.

    – Robin Hanson. Robin Hanson’s Home Page

  • The roots of heaven and hell lie deep within the limbic system.

    – David Pearce. The Naturalisation of Heaven - The Lotus Eaters - Happiness & Motivation

  • If men cease to believe that they will one day become gods then they will surely become worms.

    – Henry Miller. The Colossus of Maroussi (1941)

  • Think of a time in the last six months when you tried and failed.

    If you’re having trouble thinking of anything, you are seriously, seriously, seriously not trying ambitious-enough tasks and projects, and playing far, far, far beneath your potential level. This is the most important Umeshism.

    – Eliezer Yudkowsky. Facebook status.

  • My goal is to understand the nature of existence, and to engineer improvements thereupon.

    – Ed Boyden. Research Positions in the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, MIT.

  • I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.

    – Nikola Tesla. Quoted in Marconi and Tesla: Pioneers of Radio Communication (2008) by Tim O’Shei, ISBN 159845076X, p. 5.

  • The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.

    – Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man (1871).

  • The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning… Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.

    – Carl Sagan. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994.

  • Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.

    – Bertrand Russell. Unpopular Essays, 1950.

  • If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.

    – John von Neumann. Remark made by von Neumann as keynote speaker at the first national meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1947, as mentioned by Franz L. Alt at the end of “Archaeology of computers: Reminiscences, 1945–1947”, Communications of the ACM, volume 15, issue 7, July 1972, special issue: Twenty-fifth anniversary of the Association for Computing Machinery, p. 694.

  • [When asked why are numbers beautiful?] It’s like asking why is Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.

    – Paul Erdős. Frequent remark, as quoted in My Brain Is Open : The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos (1998) by Bruce Schechter, p. 14.

  • He who would travel happily must travel light.

    – Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

  • I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.

    – William Thomson (Lord Kelvin). Lecture on “Electrical Units of Measurement” (3 May 1883), published in Popular Lectures Vol. I, p. 73.

  • Chance favors the prepared mind.

    – Louis Pasteur.

  • We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.

    – William Ralph Inge. The Idea of Progress, Romanes Lecture (27 May 1920), reprinted in Outspoken Essays: Second Series (1922)

  • The universe has a surprising ability to stab you through the heart from somewhere you weren’t looking.

    – Eliezer Yudkowsky. Yehuda Yudkowsky

  • It’s tempting to suppose that purely “psychological” pain - loneliness, rejection, existential angst, grief, anxiety, depression - can’t be as atrocious as extreme physical pain; yet the reason over 800,000 people in the world take their own lives every year is mainly psychological distress.

    – David Pearce. The Abolitionist Project

  • If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes ‘more’.

    – Ryan Holiday.

  • The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.

    – George Bernard Shaw. Anthony Anderson, Act II of The Devil’s Disciple.

  • Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented

    – Elie Wiesel. Nobel acceptance speech (1986).

  • An individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’

    – Martin Luther King, Jr.. As quoted in The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Coretta Scott King, Second Edition (2011), Ch. “Community of Man”, p. 3.

  • If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

  • Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

    – Michael Shermer. Why People Believe Weird Things

  • Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

    – Plato.

  • We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.

    – Jeff Bezos.

  • Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

  • Cryonics is an experiment. So far the control group isn’t doing very well.

    – Ralph Merkle.

  • We live during the hinge of history. Given the scientific and technological discoveries of the last two centuries, the world has never changed as fast. We shall soon have even greater powers to transform, not only our surroundings, but ourselves and our successors. If we act wisely in the next few centuries, humanity will survive its most dangerous and decisive period. Our descendants could, if necessary, go elsewhere, spreading through this galaxy.

    – Derek Parfit. On What Matters, vol. 2, Oxford, 2011, p. 616

  • You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with

    – Jim Rohn.

  • People who think deeply feel themselves to be comedians in their relationship with others because they first have to simulate a surface in order to be understood.

    – Nietzsche, quoted by Lou. (HATH, II, 232; N. p.11)

  • Man is after all a finite being in capacities and powers of doing actual work. But when it comes to planning, one mind can in a few hours think out enough work to keep a thousand men employed for years.

    – Washington Roebling. Attributed by Scott Berkun

  • Pay attention to what people are not saying more than what they are saying because those tend to be the most important things.

    – Aubrey de Grey’s godfather. Attributed by Aubrey de Grey in interview by London Real

  • It’s often safer to be in chains than to be free

    – Franz Kafka.

  • Here we all are, at the edge of the world, at the same moment, heading in the same direction for the same reason.

    – Beric Dondarrion. Game of Thrones. Eastwatch.

    • Jon Snow: So what are you fighting for?
    • Beric Dondarrion: Life. Death is the enemy. The first enemy, and the last.
    • Jon: But we all die.
    • Beric: The enemy always wins. And we stil need to fight him. That’s all I know.

    – Beric Dondarrion. Game of Thrones. Beyond the wall.

  • I do like finding out where the line is drawn, deliberately crossing it, bringing some of them with me across the line, and having them be happy that I did.

    – George Carlin. The Aristrocrats (2005)

  • It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.

    – Noam Chomsky. The Responsibility of Intellectuals (1967)

  • Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming.

    – Brian Kernighan. Software Tools (1976), p. 319

  • The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

    – Confucius.

  • I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs, a very endearing sight, I’m sure you’ll agree. And even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters, who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.

    – Terry Pratchett. Unseen Academicals (2009)