If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
I have found out everything. We have come to the wrong star… That is what makes life at once so splendid and so strange. We are in the wrong world. When I thought that was the right town it bored me; when I knew it was the wrong, I was happy. So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don’t fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way.
The Purple Cow
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one!
Ah yes, I wrote “The Purple Cow”
I’m Sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you Anyhow
I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.
– I am standing in the wings of a theatre waiting for my cue to go onstage. As I stand there I can hear the play proceeding, and suddenly it dawns on me that the lines I have learnt are not in this play at all, but belong to quite a different one. Panic seizes me; I wonder frenziedly what should I do. Then I get my cue. Stumbling, falling over the unfamiliar scenery, I make my way onto the stage, and then look for guidance to the prompter, whose head i can just see rising out of the floor-boards. Alas he only signals helplessly to me and I realise of course that his script is different from mine. I begin to speak my lines, but they are incomprehensible to the other actors and abhorrent to the audience, who begins to hiss and shout: “Get off the stage!”, “Let the play go on!”, “You’re interrupting!”. I am paralysed and can think of nothing to do but to go on standing there and speaking my lines that don’t fit. The only lines I know.
The United States, I believe are under the impression that they are twenty years ahead of this country[Great Britain], whilst as a matter of verifiable fact of course they are just six hours behind it.
Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers won’t drown.
Our belief in any particular natural law cannot have a safer basis than our unsuccessful critical attempts to refute it.
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.
Plurality should not be posited without necessity.
(Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate.)
Do not enjoy yourself. Enjoy dances and theatres and joy-rides and champagne and oysters; enjoy jazz and cocktails and night-clubs if you can enjoy nothing better; enjoy bigamy and burglary and any crime in the calendar, in preference to the other alternative; but never learn to enjoy yourself.
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’
Pussy said to the Owl,
‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.
‘So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.””I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
On Richard Feynman
The Feynman Problem-Solving Algorithm:
(1) write down the problem;
(2) think very hard;
(3) write down the answer.
A Mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
Epitaph (self written)
The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book its contents lost, torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke-stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.
Once exposed to a new idea a mans mind can never go back to its original dimensions.
From “Under Which Lyre”
Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon world affairs,
Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
with statisticians nor commit
A social science.
When we ask advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.
Chance favours a prepared mind.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …’
Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.
Lords and Commons of England – consider what nation it is whereof you are and which you are governors: a nation not slow and dull, but quick and ingenious and piercing spirit; acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point that human capacity can soar to.