The Pine Tree Book of Quotations

Part Three

"The question of all questions for humanity, the problem which lies behind all others and is more interesting than any of them is that of the determination of man’s place in Nature and his relation to the Cosmos. Whence our race came, what sorts of limits are set to our power over Nature and to Nature’s power over us, to what goal we are striving, are the problems which present themselves afresh, with undiminished interest, to every human being born on earth."

T. H. Huxley,
English biologist and foremost scientific supporter of Charles Darwin

"The world is very old and human beings are very young. Significant events in our personal lives are measured in years or less; our lifetimes in decades; our family genealogies in centuries; and all of recorded history in millennia. But we have been preceded by an awesome vista of time, extending for prodigious periods into the past, about which we know little — both because there are no written records and because we have a real difficulty in grasping the immensity of the intervals involved."

Carl Sagan, Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University
From The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

"We are all afraid – for our confidence, for the future, for the world. That is the nature of the human imagination. Yet every man, every civilization, has gone forward because of its engagement with what it has set itself to do. The personal commitment of a man to his skill, the intellectual commitment and the emotional commitment working together as one, has made the Ascent of Man."

Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

Self-knowledge would certainly be maintained by me to be the very essence of knowledge, and in this I agree with him who dedicated the inscription "Know thyself!" at Delphi.

Ancient Greek Philosopher (c. 428 – c. 348 BC)
From his dialogue, Charmides

"The ascent of man is always teetering in the balance. There is always a sense of uncertainty, whether when man lifts his foot for the next step it is really going to come down pointing ahead. And what is ahead for us? At last the bringing together of all that we have learned, in physics and in biology, towards an understanding of where we have come: what man is."

Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

"Knowledge is not a loose-leaf notebook of facts. Above all, it is a responsibility for the integrity of what we are, primarily of what we are as ethical creatures. You cannot possibly maintain that informed integrity if you let other people run the world for you while you yourself continue to live out of a ragbag of morals that come from past beliefs. That is really crucial today. You can see it is pointless to advise people to learn differential equations, or to do a course in electronics or in computer programming. And yet, fifty years from now, if an understanding of man’s origins, his evolution, his history, his progress is not the commonplace of the schoolbooks, we shall not exist. The commonplace of the schoolbooks of tomorrow is the adventure of today, and that is what we are engaged in."

Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

"Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else’s traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man’s character is, the better it fits him."

Marcus Tullius Cicero,
Roman orator, statesman, and man of letters (106-43 BC)
From De Officiis (On Duty)

"The life which is unexamined is not worth living."

Ancient Greek Philosopher (c.428-348 BC)
From the dialogue, The Apology

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

William Shakespeare,
English playwright, poet and actor (1564-1616)
From Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii.

"Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing."

John Stuart Mill,
English philosopher and social reformer (1806-1873)
From his essay, On Liberty

"Experience must be consulted in order to learn from it under what circumstances arguments from it will be valid. We have no ulterior test to which we subject experience in general; but we make experience its own test."

John Stuart Mill,
English philosopher and social reformer (1806-1873)
From his essay, The System of Logic

"A favorite saying of the rabbis of Jabneh was:
I am a creature of God and my neighbor is also a creature of God.
I work in the city and he works in the country.
I rise early for my work and he rises early for his work.
Just as he cannot excel in my work, I cannot excel in his work.
Will you say that I do great things and he does small things?
We have learned that it does not matter whether a person does much or little,
as long as he directs his heart to heaven."

From the Babylonian Talmud,
A collection of Jewish law and tradition, compiled between 400 B.C. and 400 A.D.
Published in Babylon in the 5th Century A.D.

"In Germany they came first 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."

Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984).
German Lutheran Pastor and outspoken opponent of Hitler. He rose from midshipman to become one of Germany’s ace U-Boat commanders in World War I. He studied theology and was ordained in 1924. Because of his outspoken criticism of Hitler, he was confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau Concentration camps from 1937 to 1945.

"You should never have your best trousers on when you go out to fight for freedom and truth"

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906).
Norwegian Dramatist, known as the founder of modern prose drama.
From his play, An Enemy of the People, 1882

"Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind."

Leonardo da Vinci,
Italian painter, sculptor, architect and engineer (1452-1519)
From The Notebooks (1508-1518)

"Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax"

Ancient Greek dramatist (c.450-385 B.C.)
From his play, The Frogs.
Adapted as a cheer by Yale College in the early 1900’s

"Man is the measure of all things."

Ancient Greek philosopher and teacher (c.490-c.420 B.C.)

"If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it."

Classical Greek Historian (c.485-c.425 B.C.)
From, The Histories

"America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting around through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy."

Samuel Eliot Morison,
The Oxford History of the American People (1965)

"You don’t live in a world all alone. Your brothers are here too."

Albert Schweitzer,
Alsatian Missionary, theologian, musician, philosopher (1875-1965)
On Receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace

"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now — always."

Albert Schweitzer,
Alsatian Missionary, theologian, musician, philosopher (1875-1965)
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1952

"One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider our problem, can change our whole outlook on the world"

Dr. Elton Mayo

"Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live."

Albert Schweitzer,
Alsatian Missionary, theologian, musician, philosopher (1875-1965)
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1952
From Out of My Life and Thought

A Message for Youth

"Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can — every one — do our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and all frustrations and all disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art."

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)
American Philosopher; Professor of Ethics and Mysticism
at the Jewish Theological Seminary

"Speech is a joint game between the talker and the listener against the forces of confusion. Unless both make the effort, interpersonal communication is quite hopeless"

Norbert Weiner, "The Human Use of Human Beings"

"A man can sit for hours before an aquarium and stare into it as into the flames of an open fire or the rushing waters of a torrent. All conscious thought is happily lost in this state of apparent vacancy, and yet, in these hours of idleness, one learns the essential truth about the macrocosm and the microcosm."

Konrad Z. Lorenz (1903-1989)
Austrian ethologist (student of animal behavior) and author;
winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine (1973).

"Youth see too far to see how near it is to seeing farther."

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)
American Poet. From Tristram

"We are deluged with facts, but it is principles people are looking for … it is ideas, even ideals, that are sought. And what is required is the note of conviction and contagion of counsel that will turn anarchy into meaning, into order."

Irwin Edman (1896-1954)
Philosopher, poet and professor of philosophy at Columbia University

Two men were walking along a crowded sidewalk in a downtown business area. Suddenly one exclaimed, "Listen to the lovely sound of that cricket!" But the other could not hear. He asked his companion how he could detect the sound of a cricket amidst the din of people and traffic. The first man, who was a zoologist, had trained himself to listen to the voices of nature, but he did not explain. He simply took a coin out of his pocket and dropped it on the sidewalk, whereupon a dozen people began to look about them. "We hear," he said, "what we listen for."

Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, The Discipline of Transcendence

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So it is now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth, English Poet (1770-1850)

"O Youth: Do you know that yours is not the first generation to yearn for a life full of beauty and freedom? Do you know that all your ancestors felt as you do — and fell victim to trouble and hatred? Do you know also, that your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love and understanding of men, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain? Open your eyes, your heart, your hands, and avoid the poison your forebears so greedily sucked in from History. Then will all the earth be your fatherland, and all your work and effort spread forth blessings."

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Entry written in an album at Caputh, Germany, 1932

"There is no time like the old time, when you and I were young."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
American Physician and writer (1809-1894)
From his poem, "No Time Like the Old Time," 1865

"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Abraham Lincoln,
16th President of the United States (1809-1865)

"You must believe in yourself, my son, or no one else will believe in you. Be self-confident, self-reliant, and even if you don’t make it, you will know you have done your best. Now, go to it"

Mary Hardy MacArthur, advice to her son Douglas on the morning of his West Point entrance examination, quoted in Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences, 1964. MacArthur was admitted to West Point and graduated first in his class. He was later to become a five-star general, and one of America’s most famous military leaders.

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing,
while others judge us by what we have already done."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
American Poet (1807-1882)
From his poem, Kavanagh, 1865

"Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us,
as we grasp them by the blade or the handle."

James Russell Lowell,
American Poet, Essayist and Diplomat (1819-1891)
"Cambridge Thirty Years Ago," Fireside Travels, 1864

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Horace Mann (1796-1859)
American Educator, known as the "father of American public education."
From his Commencement Address at Antioch College, 1859

"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an Honest Man."

George Washington (1732-1799)
In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, August 28, 1788

"The prouder a man is, the more he thinks he deserves; and the more he thinks he deserves, the less he really does deserve"

Henry Ward Beecher,
American Congregationalist clergyman and writer (1813-1887)
An outspoken abolitionist, his congregation outfitted an entire Union regiment in the Civil War. He was the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a major abolitionist work.

The Pine Tree Book of Quotations (1997)

  Part One
  Part Two
  Part Three
  Part Four
  Part Five
  Appendix (Quotations added since 1997)

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Last Modified: 8:20 AM on May 10, 2010