Searcher The Millennium Issue Volume 8, Number 1 • January 2000

Gems of Wisdom
Web-only supplement to The Millennium Issue


“Art is I; science is we.”
 Claude Bernard

“The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
 Thomas Huxley

“In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.”
 Mary McCarthy

"It occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made of this question [the origin of the species] by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it."
 Charles Darwin


“Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
Albert Einstein

“Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.”
Max Frisch

“Men have become the tools of their tools.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Any sufficiently advance technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

“Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable.”
Joseph Wood Krutch

“The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”
Marshall McLuhan

“It is a commonplace of modern technology that problems have solutions before there is knowledge of how they are to be solved.”
John Kenneth Galbraith

“We live in a time when automation is ushering in a second industrial revolution.”
Adlai Stevenson


“Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Never argue with people who buy ink by the gallon.”
Tommy Lasorda

“Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.”
Norman Mailer

“In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.”

“Publication is the auction of the Mind of Man.”
Emily Dickinson


“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth — anonymously and posthumously.”
Thomas Sowell

“My way of joking is to tell the truth.  It’s the funniest joke in the world.”
George Bernard Shaw

“If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library?”
Lily Tomlin

“If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.”
Billy Wilder

“It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
Rudyard Kipling

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
Gertrude Stein


“There is only one thing about which I am certain, and that is that there is very little about which one can be certain.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”
Thomas Alva Edison

“We are here and it is now.  Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.”
H.L. Mencken

“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
Howard Ruff

“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.”
George Bernard Shaw

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”
Barry LePatner

“It’s not what we don’t know that hurts, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”
Will Rogers

“No object is mysterious.  The mystery is your eye.”
Elizabeth Bowen

“Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times.  People have always been like this.”
Gustave Flaubert

“If politicians and scientists were lazier, how much happier we should all be.”
Evelyn Waugh

“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.”
Benjamin Disraeli

“Beware of the man of one book.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

“The saddest thing about anyman is that he be ignorant, and the most exciting thing is that he knows.”
King Alfred the Great (d. 899, England)


“The future is much like the present, only longer.”
Don Quisenberry

“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.”

“Today we are seeing remarkable things around us.  I would particularly enjoy mapping the basic existential grounds — not just for fear of the future, or fear of freedom, but we’re starting to see fear of our own past.”
Vaclav Havel

“In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.”
Carl Sandburg

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”
Hector Berlioz

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
George Orwell

“Keep in mind always the present you are constructing.  It should be the future you want.”
Alice Walker

“What the 21st century will be like depends on whether we learn the lessons of the 20th century and avoid repeating its worst mistakes....For example, it would be disastrous if we began to renew our entire system of social relations by acting like a bull in a china shop.”
Mikhail Gorbachev

“As for the Future, your task is not to foresee, but to enable it.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“When I look into the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes.”
Oprah Winfrey


“Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers.”
Pablo Picasso

“The computer is only a fast idiot, it has no imagination; it cannot originate action.  It is, and will remain, only a tool to man.”
American Library Association statement on Univac computer exhibited at New York World’s Fair, 1964

“Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.”
John F. Kennedy


“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”
Edward R. Murrow

“Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.”
Hermann Hesse

“Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.”
Marie Curie


“Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.”
Augustine Burrell

“Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“A library implies an act of faith.”
Victor Hugo

“My alma mater was books, a good library...I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.”
Malcolm X


“Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.”

“To be proud of knowledge is to be blind with light.
Benjamin Franklin

“An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Conclusive facts are inseparable from inconclusive except by a head that already understands and knows.”
Thomas Carlyle

“A closed mind is a dying mind.
Edna Ferber

“In leisure as in work I teach what I know, and learn what I do not know.”
Pope Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac)


“Ideas move fast when their time comes.”
Carolyn Heilbrun

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.”
Henry Miller

“Status quo.  Latin for the mess we’re in.”
Jeve Moorman

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
Mark Twain

“Every advance in civilization has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent.”
Bertrand Russell

“Things do not change, we do.”
Henry David Thoreau


“He that won’t be counselled can’t be helped.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
Erica Jong


“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.  They went out and happened to things.”
Elinor Smith

“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”
Edward Gibbon

“Ability is of little account without opportunity.”

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.”  We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”
Zora Neale Hurston

“The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool.”
William McFee

“Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.”
Samuel Johnson

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”
Beverly Sills

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done —  then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
Andre Gide

“You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.”
Henry J. Kaiser

“I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich.”
Gertrude Stein

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.”
Henry Ford

“When in doubt, duck.”
Malcolm Forbes


“If online is the answer, what is the question?”
Barbara Quint

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”
James Thurber

“There ain’t no answer.  There ain’t going to be any answer.  There never has been an answer.  That’s the answer.”
Gertrude Stein


“What ought to be done to the man who invented the celebrating of anniversaries?  Mere killing would be too light.”
Mark Twain
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