God created the world out of nothing, but the nothingness still shows through.
— Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
— Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
— Horace Walpole (1717-1797)
If other worlds are inhabited, this world must be their lunatic asylum.
— George Bernard Shaw (1871-1922)
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
— Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), Alice In Wonderland
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Creativity and weirdness

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or exist in extreme boredom... Make no mistake — all intellectuals are deviants in the U.S.
— William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), Yage Letters
The chief enemy of creativity is "good" taste.
— Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.
— Jodie Foster (1962-)
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
— Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
Two roads diverged in the wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost (1874-1963)
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
— Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) "Walden", 1854
The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.
— Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) "An Enemy of the People", 1882


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
— Aristotle (384-322 BC)
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed.
— R.S. Ingersoll
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
— Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)


For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
— Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood of ideas in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
— John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
The American government is premised on the theory that if the individual man is to be free, his ideas, his beliefs, his ideology, his philosophy, must be placed beyond the reach of government.
— Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980)
Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.
— Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)
Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but unlike charity, it should end there.
— Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987)
The fantastic advances in the field of communication constitute a greater danger to the privacy of the individual.
— Earl Warren (1891-1974)
It's almost a suicidal technique. You can't lie to kids. Drug education is a uniformed policeman coming into the first grade and telling all these fucking lies [about marijuana] so that by the time [the kids are] in junior high and they've tried it, they know you're full of shit. Marijuana is a gateway drug — it teaches you disrespect for authority.
— Timothy Leary (1920-1996)
Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act.
— The Talmud (Sabbath, 54 b.)
The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine.
— George Washington (1732-1799)
Our liberty depends upon the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
— George Carlin (1937-2008)
Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
— Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980)
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
— George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
— William Pitt (1756-1806) in speech on the India Bill, November 18, 1783
In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me — and by that time no one was left to speak up.
— Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)
The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
— Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980)
Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.
— Harry S Truman (1884-1972)
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
— Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled.
— William Blake (1757-1827)
Too much of a good thing is WONDERFUL.
— Mae West (1893-1980)
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)
If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there.
— Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Government and politics

The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives.
— Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC (106-43 BC)
This country can claim to have no distinctive criminal class except, of course, Congress.
— Mark Twain (1835-1910)
A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants.
— Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956), U. S. Vice President, 1949-1953
The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it will force those who fear it to imitate it.
— Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
— Frank Zappa (1940-1993)
Americans like to talk about (or be told about) democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an "inconvenience." We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.
— Frank Zappa (1940-1993)
An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
— Plutarch (46-ca. 119)
In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.
— Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
— Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)
What luck for the rulers that men do not think.
— Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Naturally the common people don't want war...but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
— Hermann Göring, 1936 (1893-1946)
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
A statesman is a politician who's been dead 10 or 15 years.
— Harry S Truman (1884-1872)
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
— Plato (427?-348? BC)
A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who has never learned to walk.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)
A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.
— Leo C. Rosten (1908-1997)
A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
— Robert Frost (1874-1963)


If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people?
— unknown
When people have trouble communicating, the least they can do is to shut up.
— Tom Lehrer (1928-)
It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
— Abraham Lincoln (1812-1865)
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
— P. J. O'Rourke (1947-2022)
The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
Stupidity has a certain charm — ignorance does not.
— Frank Zappa (1940-1993)
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
— Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Life and existence

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The best theology is probably no theology; just love one another.
— Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000)
Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
In the long run, we are all dead.
— John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you get rained out.
— Satchel Paige (1906-1982)
Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Traveling [in the middle of the road] was really boring so I headed for the ditch. It was a rough ride but I met more interesting people there.
— Neil Young (1945-)
Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules. The fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools.
— King Crimson "Epitaph", 1969
Vivere est cogitare. (To think is to live.)
— Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
Without music life would be a mistake.
— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
When you don't have any money, the problem is food. When you have money, it's sex. When you have both it's health, you worry about getting rupture or something. If everything is simply jake then you're frightened of death.
— James Patrick Donleavy (1926-2017)
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
— Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) in 1934 sermon
Death is the best part of life. That's why they save it for last.
— Solomon Short
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
— Bob Dylan (1941-)
There is much pleasure to be gained in useless knowledge.
— Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
Dying is easy, it's living that scares me to death.
— Annie Lennox (1954-)
Two babies were born on the same day at the same hospital. They lay there and looked at each other. Their families came and took them away. Eighty years later, by a bizarre coincidence, they lay in the same hospital, on their deathbeds, next to each other. One of them looked at the other and said, "So. What did you think?"
— Steven Wright (1955-)

Love and sex

Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.
— Mark Twain (1835-1910)
It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.
— Voltaire (1694-1778)
Sex: the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.
— John Barrymore (1882-1942)
Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.
— Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)
A promiscuous person is someone who is getting more sex than you are.
— Victor Lownes
Women's liberation will not be achieved until a woman can become paunchy and bald and still think that she's attractive to the opposite sex.
— Earl Wilson
It is better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
The only difference between sex and death is, with death you can do it alone and nobody's going to make fun of you.
— Woody Allen (1935-)
Love is what we call the situation which occurs when two people who are sexually compatible discover that they can also tolerate one another in various other circumstances.
— Marc Maihueird
It's not that I don't enjoy it, but it's kind of like a trip to Disneyland. You get so excited about a ride on the Matterhorn, and then when it's over, you realize you wasted all that time in line for a minute and a half upside down and the chance to throw up.
— Murphy Brown, on "The Sex Thing"
Love is a dirty trick played on us to achieve the continuation of the species.
— William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.
— Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)


Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
— Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
What difference does it make to the dead ... whether the mad destruction [of war] is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
— Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
Men often bear little grievances with less courage than they do large misfortunes.
— Aesop (620-560 BC)
People that are really weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.
— J. Danforth Quayle (1947-)
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when asked to describe radio
Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
— W.C. Fields (1880-1946)
There are experiences that most people avoid talking about because they do not fit into the reality of everyday life and defy rational explanation.
— Dr. Albert Hofmann (1906-2008), discoverer of LSD
Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system.
— P.J. O'Rourke (1947-2022)
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), first inaugural address, March 4, 1933
The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
— Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.... Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.
— George Santayana (1863-1952), The Life of Reason
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
— George Orwell (1903-1950), in 1984
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero! (Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!)
— Horace (65-8 BC)
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
— Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)
We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.
— Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)


The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
— William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.
— Robert Benchley (1889-1945)


I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
— Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
Television: chewing gum for the eyes.
— Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)
Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
— Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)