Too often, in this social media-happy, twitter-drowning, sound-byte-bit world of ours, we use quotes like a dopamine hit: to make us feel just slightly better, but not to go deeper, to slow down, to breathe deeply. Too often, we use quotes to enable our stress and haste.
But some quotes stop us in our tracks.
Some quotes, however brief, do slow us down or…so rare in this age of Opinion…give us pause, and inspire us to change our minds, if only a little bit. Here’s 20:
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back everything is different.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Mister Fred Rogers
“If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.” ~ carved on the walls of a concentration camp cell during WWII by a Jewish prisoner.
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss
“Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.” ~ Oscar Wilde
“Airports see more sincere kisses than wedding halls. The walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches.”
“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” ~ Walter Payton
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.” ~ J. Robert Oppenheimer, after a nuclear test at Los Alamos.
>>> “Now we have weapons over 1000 times more powerful. So powerful in fact, that they use fission bombs, what he created, as a detonator.”
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“I loved her, and sometimes, she loved me too.” ~ Pablo Neruda’s The Saddest Poem.
“Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.” ~ Serbian proverb
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~ Admiral Grace Hopper
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree. “I wish I could give you something…but I have nothing left.”
“Nuclear warfare is like two men standing in a pool of gasoline, one with five matches, the other with two.” ~ Carl Sagan
“Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier
“Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself.” ~ Rumi
“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world.”
~ Written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby
“Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America nor, for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship… [V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. 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 way in any country.” ~ Hermann Göring
From a Vietnam soldier’s lighter:
“We the unwilling led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate die for the ungrateful.”
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-
“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” ~ Prophecy of the Cree Native American Tribe
Chills. “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” ~ Voltaire
Just a little bit more: