It's very difficult to inform

No they're not doing all they could, because if they stopped working on the science altogether and spent all their time trying to inform people what they just finished doing, then, of course, they would do more. Don't forget that they have a profession. Furthermore, that they went into this with the reason that they're interested in nature, and not in informing people. A lot of scientists have gone into science because they're not too interested in the relations of human beings. That is, that's not their central interest, so it becomes work to a certain extent to inform.

Don't pay attention to authorities

Don't pay attention to "authorities," think for yourself.

—Richard Feynman. "Letter to Mark Minguillon, 23 April 1976." Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track.

Worthwhile problems

It seems that the influence of your teacher has been to give you a false idea of what are the worthwhile problems. The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. A problem is grand in science if it lies before us unsolved and we see some way for us to make a little headway into it.

—Richard Feynman. "Letter to Koichi Mano, 3 Feb 1966." Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track.

A blank spot on the map

Man always kills the thing he loves, and so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?

—Aldo Leopold. "The Green Lagoons." Collected in A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation.

The few real hours of life

By trusting your own heart, you shall gain more confidence in other men. For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we inly were.


Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson. "An Address." Collected in The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

To build a road

To build a road is so much simpler than to think of what the country really needs.

—Aldo Leopold. "Marshland Elegy." Collected in A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation.


One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain't nothing can beat teamwork.

—Edward Abbey. The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Theirs for the asking

Lecturers traveled all over Northern Europe with such pictures in olden times. With assistants to unroll one end and roll up the other, they urged all ambitious and able persons to abandon tired old Europe and lay claim to rich and beautiful properties in the Promised Land, which were practically theirs for the asking.

Why should a real man stay home when he could be raping a virgin continent?

—Kurt Vonnegut. Bluebeard.

My soul knows my meat is doing bad things

"I can't help it," I said. "My soul knows my meat is doing bad things, and is embarrassed. But my meat keeps right on doing bad, dumb things."

—Kurt Vonnegut. Bluebeard.


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