While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. – Thoreau, Walden
If necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us.
– Thoreau, Walden
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
– Walden, Henry David Thoreau
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
– Thoreau, Walden
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. – The Buddha
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~Albert Einstein
There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.
It is better to follow one’s own dharma, no matter how imperfectly, than to follow that of another. – The Upanishads
(Dharma in this context means one’s true nature, one’s true path.)
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? 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, Walden
I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished with the help of my fellow man; you would have to put their minds through a kind of powerful vice first, to squeeze their olds ideas out of them. – Thoreau, Walden
Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living. – Thoreau, Walden
When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. – Thoreau, Walden
It is never too late to give up your prejudices. – Thoreau, Walden
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. – Thoreau, Walden
Life is rounded by a little sleep.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake. – Thoreau, Walden
I do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to find I had not lived.
– Thoreau, Walden
We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. – Thoreau
The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything it is very likely to my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? – Thoreau, Walden
In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident. – Thoreau
That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. – Thoreau
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. – Thoreau, Walden
Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself. If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity, then and there is silence. She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will we may always hearken to her admonitions. – Thoreau
The only Zen you find on the mountain top is the Zen you bring with you.
I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.
– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.
– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
The kingdom of heaven is within you.
– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not.
– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat. – Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
I have never met a man who was fully awake; if I did, how could I look him in the eye? – Thoreau, Walden
They are busy, as an old book says, laying up treasures that moths and rust will corrode, and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find out at the end of it, if not sooner. – Thoreau, Walden
Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify!
– Thoreau, Walden
Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. – Thoreau
Most men are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum, and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man’s nobler faculties. – Thoreau
How trivial and uninteresting and wearisome and unsatisfactory are all employments for which men will pay you money! – Thoreau
… I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me…. – Thoreau, Life Without Principle (LWP)
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. – Thoreau (LWP)
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. – Thoreau (LWP)
The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. – Thoreau (LWP)
If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. – Thoreau (LWP)
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual’s musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off. – Thoreau (LWP)
If a man has spent all his days about some business, by which he has merely got to be rich, as it is called, i.e., has got much money, many houses and barns and woodlots, then his life has been a failure, I think; but if he has been trying to better his condition in a higher sense than this, has been trying to invent something, to be somebody, – i.e., to invent and get a patent for himself – so that all may see his originality, though he should never get above board – and great inventors, you know, commonly die poor – I shall think him comparatively successful. – Thoreau
A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. – Thoreau, Walden
(TV is perhaps the most ugly, pathetic and vacuous example, next to heroine. – JTR)
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Thoreau, Walden
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. But it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things. – Thoreau, Walden
It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about?
– Thoreau, Walden
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Thoreau, Walden
Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
– Thoreau, Walden
No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. – Thoreau, Walden
Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion–what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. – Thoreau, Walden
The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. – Thoreau, Walden
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Thoreau, Walden
Ultimately, men hit only what they aim for; therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim high. – Thoreau, Walden
I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. – Martin Luther King Jr.
I have to believe the American people are the most systematically lied to people on earth – if I didn’t, I would believe they were the most evil.
– Former foreign minister for Nicaragua
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the media.
I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.
(The same could be said for the people of any of the “leading” industrial nations.)
I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
– Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience
Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience“
Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience“
The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience“
All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience“
The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer. – Henry A. Kissinger
Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. – Henry A. Kissinger (One of the 90%.)
“Quite generally, international affairs have more than a slight resemblance to the Mafia. The Godfather does not take it lightly when he is crossed, even by a small storekeeper.” – Noam Chomsky
“The Constitution is just a piece of paper” – G.W. Bush
“It is impossible to understand the current U.S. policy if the real scope of September 11 is underestimated. The attacks perpetrated at that moment were a coup d’état. The war on terror is based on a myth and has become a compulsory state religion since such developments took place. The only way to fight against neoconservatives is by destroying this myth.” – U.S. journalist Webster Tarpley
In many regions of the world, democracy, freedom and human rights are seen as cynical slogans, Orwellian double-speak, mouthed by those who want oil and other natural resources, and the strategic pathways, such as Afghanistan, that lead to these resources.
– James Laxer
The so-called war on terror is really a struggle in which the United States and its allies are attempting to impose their hegemony on a large part of the world.
– James Laxer
I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretense of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate…Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. – Thomas Jefferson, 1787
What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment, inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose. – Thomas Jefferson
I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson
This country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institution and monied incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816
The bank mania…is raising up a monied aristocracy in our country which has already set the government at defiance, and although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of their strength, their principles are unyielded and unyielding. These have taken deep roots in the heart of that class from which our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerebus from fable has become history. – Thomas Jefferson, 1817
Once a nation parts with control of its currency and credit…all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and democracy is idle and futile. – Mackenzie King, 1935
I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism
because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
– Benito Mussolini
“Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is only conceivable if the people have a sound idea of authority.”
– Adolph Hitler, speaking to a key meeting of Germany’s business elite, 1933.
The next election will be “the last one for the next 10 years, probably even for the next 100 years.” – Goering, following up on Hitler’s statement above, at the same meeting.
“We’re Philip Morris. We’ve got more money than God.”
– Guy Smith, Philip Morris executive.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism: ownership of a government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power.” – Pierre Elliot Trudeau
Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
– Mohandas Gandhi
Socialists think profits are a vice; I consider losses the real vice.
– Winston Churchill
If you take all these bills together, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that what we have here is a road map for, essentially, I am not exaggerating, a military junta, really in the hands of four cabinet ministers who can delegate right down to the ground. That what’s happening. If you look at, and there’s no argument against this if you look at the legislation, it is so offensive…The last point I want to make about this globalization and the militarization of that agenda is that if you look at the definition of terrorism, what they have done is very reptilian, very slippery…how broad the net has been cast.
– Canadian constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati on the post-9/11 “anti-terrorism” laws
The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other–instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals. – Edward Abbey
“It should not be denied any longer: America is hurtling along the road to full-fledged fascism. To recognize this is the necessary first step in deflecting the juggernaut and creating the possibility of more peaceful tomorrows. It is legitimate and also necessary to correctly employ the power of naming.” – Barry Zwicker
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. ~ James Madison
We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. (…)
In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
– Preeminent post-war long-term strategic planner for the U.S. National Security Council, George F. Kennan, from the formerly top-secret, now de-classified 1948 State Department Brief: NSC 68
“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.
“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….
“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
– Major-General Smedley Butler, 1933.
If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd American President
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
The future holds ominous portent, and signs of great hope. Which result ensues depends largely upon what we make of the opportunities.
– Noam Chomsky
It aint’ over `till it’s over.
– Yogi Beara
The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences… – Winston Churchill, on facing the threat of fascism (the first time)
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance of our neglect. “The moving finger write, and having writ moves on …”
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
— Martin Luther King, Jr, April 4, 1967
The coward will ask is it safe?…Vanity, is it politically expedient or popular? But conscience will always ask, is it right?
– Mahdi Bray
Those who would trade a little liberty for a little security, deserve neither. – Benjamin Franklin
Hope is not for wimps; it is for the strong-hearted who can recognize how bad things are and yet not be deterred, not be paralyzed. – Frances Moore Lappe
“Just because you bury your head in the sand doesn’t mean the headache will go away.”
– Italian saying
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson
“Liberty demands responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – GBS
There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
– Emma Goldman
Despite everything, I still believe people are basically good at heart.
– Anne Frank
The unity of the race of man, not only in its biology but also in its spiritual history…has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony, with its themes announced, developed, amplified and turned about, distorted, reasserted, and today, in a grand fortissimo of all sections sounding together, irresistibly advancing to some kind of mighty climax, out of which the next great movement will emerge.
– Joseph Campbell
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.
– Indian writer Arundhati Roy,
World Social Forum, 2003
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.