The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class -- whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
To be a god can ultimately become boring and degrading. There'd be reason enough for the invention of free will! A god might wish to escape into sleep and be alive only in the unconscious projections of his dream-creatures.
Irreverence is a most necessary ingredient of religion. Not to speak of its importance in philosophy. Irreverence is the only way left to us for testing our universe.
My father once told me that respect for truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. 'Something cannot emerge from nothing,' he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable 'the truth' can be.
The flesh surrenders itself. Eternity takes back its own. Our bodies stirred these waters briefly, danced with a certain intoxication before the love of life and self, dealt with a few strange ideas, then submitted to the instruments of Time. What can we say of this? I occurred. I am not...yet, I occurred.
Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.
To Suspect your Own Mortality is to Know the Beginning of Terror, To Learn Irrefutably that you are mortal is to Know the End of Terror.
When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it's too late.
They are not mad. They're trained to believe, not to know. Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.
Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, 'I am not the kind of person I want to be.' It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.
In 1054, the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope excommunicated each other. That was the end of holiness for both churches.
Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness.
One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.
Proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you have always known.
Ready comprehension is often a knee-jerk response and the most dangerous form of understanding. It blinks an opaque screen over your ability to learn. Be warned. Understand nothing. All comprehension is temporary.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
motivating people, forcing them to your will, gives you a cynical attitude toward humanity. It degrades everything it touches.
Military foolishness is ultimately suicidal. They believe that by risking death they pay the price of any violent behavior against enemies of their own choosing. They have the invader mentality, that false sense of freedom from responsibility for your own actions.