General quotes from various sources

The World in your Head

Every time a man dies, a whole universe is destroyed.
-Josef Popper-Lynkeus (Popper & Eccles 1977 p. 3)

Im Inneren ist ein Universum auch.

Everything we see is inside our own heads.
Buckminster Fuller

For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go
- The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
- William Blake, Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 14.

You never identify yourself with the shadows cast by your body, or with its reflection, or with the body you see in a dream or in your imagination. Therefore you should not identify yourself with this living body either.
- Shankara (A.D. 788-820) Viveka Chudamani (Vedic scriptures)

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
-Albert Einstein

...As long as the brain is a mystery, the universe, the reflection of the structure of the brain, will also be a mystery"
Cajal (quoted by Penfield)

In God's name, how can you approach the great questions of the Cosmos, of the nature of Being and Reality if you haven't first formed a clear idea of what's inside and what's outside, and what part your own Brain plays in supporting your ruminations?
-Stephen Harrison, The Mind/Brain Problem

Each of us believes himself to live directly within the world that surrounds him, to sense its objects and events precisely, and to live in real and current time. I assert that these are perceptual illusions ... Each of us lives within the universe - the prison of his own brain.
Vernon Mountcastle; The View from Within. John Hopkins Med. Journal 136, p. 109.

How then, is it natural that the mind of man, being so small as contained in such narrow spaces as a brain or a heart, should have room for all the vastness of sky and Universe?
-Philo Judeus

The brain is wider than the sky
For put them side by side
The one the other will contain
With ease, and you besides

-Emily Dickenson

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: "The flag is moving." The other said: "Wind is moving." The Sixth Patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them: "Not the flag, not the wind; mind is moving.
From "The Gateless Gate" (A Collection of Zen Stories)

In the dream state where there is no object, mind on its own creates everything; and it also creates everything seen when awake as well. There is little difference between the two states. Everything we see is a creation of the mind.
-Eighth century Indian philosopher Samkara.

We see with our brains not eyes.
—Paul Bach-y-Rita

Think Different

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
- Winston Churchill

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats!
- Howard Aiken

When a thing is new, people say: "It is not true".
Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: "It's not important."
Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say "Anyway, it's not new"
-William James

If we continue to do things the way they have always been done, the most we can expect is what we already have.
- Dennis Bay

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.
- Samuel Johnson

The ignorant man marvels at the exceptional; the wise man marvels at the common.
- Jonathan Edwards

I begin to suspect that a man's bewilderment is the measure of his wisdom.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

A ship is safe in the port, but that is not what a ship is for.
- Unknown

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.
- Jonathan Winters

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
- Herman Melville

In any field, find the strangest thing and then explorre it.
- John Archibald Wheeler.

In science one is often forced to choose between providing precise answers to piffling questions (how many cones are there in a human eye) or vague answers to big questions (what is the self), but every now and then you come up with a precise answer to a big question (such as the link between deoxyribonucleic acid [DNA] and heredity) and you hit the jackpot.
- Ramachandran & Blakeslee (1988)

People in other fields of endeavor, hankering to turn their disciplines into exact sciences, beset by what has since been called physics envy, set about converting whatever they knew into numbers and thence into equations with predictive pretensions."
- Thomas (1984) "Thoughts", pp. 144-146.

All are sure in their days except the most wise ... He is the wisest philosopher who holds his theory with some doubt.
- Faraday (1910) Life and Letters. p. 179.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
-Max Planck, 1947 Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
- Albert Einstein

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein

The legions of the stupid are invincible and shall be with us for a long time, but the terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency.
- Albert Einstein

The highest form that intelligence takes is a recognition of its own limits and limitations. For in doing so, the intelligence conceptualizes something larger than itself.
- Steve Lehar

To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.
- Euripides

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5


My sense of God is my sense of wonder about the universe.
- Albert Einstein

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.
-Albert Einstein

Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.
-Lily Tomlin

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
-Albert Einstein

A scientist knows more and more about less and less till he knows everything about nothing, while a philosopher knows less and less about more and more till he knows nothing about everything.

The aim of philosophy is to start with something so obvious as to not be worth mentioning, and to end up with something so absurd that no one will believe it.
-Bertrand Russell

There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.
- William James, inspiration under Nitrous Oxide intoxication.

Those who have excessive faith in their ideas are not well fitted to make discoveries.
-Claude Bernard (Hadamard 1954 p. 48)

A proof is that which convinces a reasonable man; a rigorous proof is that which convinces an unreasonable man.
-Mark Kac (mathematician)

the men who render the best service in the idiom or paradigm into which they are born are the least able to imagine a totally different order of things.
- Stephen Harrison, The Mind/Brain Problem

Don't let school get in the way of your education.
- Mark Twain

What we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts.
- Thomas Henry Huxley

"Analgesic explanations" are those that "dull the ache of incomprehension without removing the cause."
- Peter Medawar

Don't believe the results of experiments until they're confirmed by theory.
- Sir Arthur Eddington

Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it.
- Stuart Sutherland

For humans, honesty is a matter of degree. Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.
-Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle

...By a 'silly' theory I mean one which may be held at the time when one is talking or writing professionally, but which only an inmate of a lunatic asylum would think of carrying into daily life. ... It must not be supposed that the men who maintain these theories and beliefs are 'silly' people. Only very acute and learned men could have thought of anything so odd or defended anything so preposterous against the continual protests of common sense.
-C. D. Broad; Mind and its Place in Nature

I suspect that there is a class of positions that are wrong but not refutable ... (like, e.g. solipsism)
-Sigmund Koch

The person who doubts there is an external world does not need proof: he needs a cure.
-Fichte, quoted by Aiken

Naive realism leads to physics, and physics, if true, shows that naive realism is false. Therefore naive realism, if true, is false; therefore it is false.
-Bertrand Russell (1940) An Enquiry Into Meaning and Truth

Analysis and synthesis are both as necessary to the thinking spirit as inspiration and expiration to the organism.

Consciousness is a word worn smooth by a million tongues.
-George Miller (1987) Psychology: The Science of Mental Life.

"The need to produce" is as deadly to pure science as it is to poetry.
-J. James (1993) The Music of the Spheres.

Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
-Kahlil Gibran- The Prophet.

The "dirty secret of contemporary neuroscience": we have no idea what the correct level of analysis is, because there is no universally accepted theory of how the brain codes information.
-Searle (1997) The Mystery of Consciousness.

[Gestalt Theory] is not so much a finished theory as a broad way of looking at the facts of perception and behavior. It is a systematic orientation to psychology having a strong philosophical note and a set of apt and coherent formulations, rather than a basic explanation established by reference to a rigorously tested and proven model.
-Allport (1955) Theories of Perception and the Concept of Structure.

Bertrand Russell ... was giving a lesson on solipsism to a lay audience, and a woman got up and said she was delighted to hear Bertrand Russell say he was a solipsist; she was one too, and she wished there were more of us.
-W. H. Thorpe: Beyond Reductionism

Rubbish is rubbish. But the history of rubbish is scholarship.

You're crazy if you think you're not insane!
—Dan Cruthirds

The Glory of Intoxication

Alcohol und Nikotine
Rafft die Halbe Menschheit hin
Ohne Alkohol und Rauch
Stirbt die andere Hälfte auch

Der grösste Feind der Menschheit wohl
Das ist und bleibt der Alcohol
Doch in der Bibel steht geschrieben
Du sollst auch deine Feinde lieben

If its good for ancient Druids
Running nekkid through the wuids
Drinking strange fermented fluids
Then its good enough for me!

Fill with mingled cream and amber
I will drain that glass again
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain
Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away
What care I how time advances
I am drinking ale today

-Edgar Allen Poe

This is grain ... which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about BEER!
-Friar Tuck, in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world!
-Oscar Wilde, on consumption of Absinthe