Quotes I Read and Liked


"The cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me."

-Frederick Douglass, quoted by Booker T. WashingtonUp From Slavery

"No white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man's clothes, eats the white man's food, speaks the white man's language, and professes the white man's religion."

"I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed."

"The temptation often is to run each individual through a certain educational mould, regardless of the condition of the subject or the end to be accomplished."

"The reputation that I made as a speaker during this campaign induced a number of persons to make an earnest effort to get me to enter political life, but I refused, still believing that I could find other service which would prove of more permanent value to my race. Even then I had a strong feeling that what our people most needed was to get a foundation in education, industry, and property, and for this I felt that they could better afford to strive than for political preferment. As for my individual self, it appeared to me to be reasonably certain that I could succeed in political life, but I had a feeling that it would be a rather selfish kind of success—individual success at the cost of failing to do my duty in assisting in laying a foundation for the masses."

"How many times I wished then, and have often wished since, that by some power of magic I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil, upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start,—a start that at first may seem slow and toilsome, but one that is nevertheless real."

"Any other coarse my daily observation in the South convinces me, will be unjust to the Negro, unjust to the white man, and unfair to the rest of the states in the Union, and will be, like slavery, a sin that at some time we shall have to pay for."

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."

"I have great faith in the power and influence of facts. It is seldom that anything is permanently gained by holding back a fact."

-Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery

"Most societies create an 'image of the future,' an ideal state that serves as a goal and a goad, an incentive and a prod toward which to strive. These images of the future incorporate the dreams and visions, hopes and aspirations, of the collectivity. The state is the caretaker of the communal vision. Effective rule, in every society, depends on the ability of those in power to establish a compelling image of the future and then convince the people to sacrifice their time in hope of gaining access to the perfect kingdom that exists just beyond the time horizon."

- Jeremy Rifkin, Time Wars

"Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump."

"History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was plowing fields and carrying water buckets."

"Complex human societies seem to require imagines hierarchies and unjust discrimination. Most sociopolitical hierarchies lack a logical or biological basis — they are nothing but chance events supported by myths. That is one good reason to study history."

"Whatever is possible us by definition also natural."

"Some religions, such as Christianity and Nazism, have killed millions out of burning hatred. Capitalism has killed millions out of cold indifference coupled with greed."

- Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens

"Identity politics are a moral and intellectual dead end."

"A label is an intellectually lazy way to assert that you know more than you actually do."

"Freedom of speech is the only value that allows us to reliably correct our errors — both intellectually and ethically."

"Dogma are doctrines people demand people to align to without justification."

- Sam Harris, Waking Up With Sam Harris Podcast

"Someone who doesn't respect your body cannot respect your mind."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, The Mindfulness Survival Kit: Five Essential Practices

"Know nature well. Don't try to run from it. Escapism never helps us. If we try to leave something now, we will have to face it in a more difficult form later on."

"A liberated person can come into the world and be useful to it but is not affected by it."

"We needn't each for who copies whom. Truth is the same always. Whoever ponders it will get the same answer. The Buddha got it. Patanjali got it. Lord Jesus got it. Prophet Muhammad got it. The answer is the same, but the method of working it out may vary this way or that."

"If we burn a finger, instead of saying, 'Oh I'm burning!' we should all ourselves, 'Who says I am burning? Who feels the burn?'"

"Our attitude should be constant. Either we are responsible for everything or God is."

"Symbols should be used to help you transcend them."

- Patanjali, The Sutras of Patanjali

"The most painful anguish that mortals suffer is to understand a great deal but to have no power at all."

- Thersandros of Persia, Herodotus' Histories

"Judgements too quickly formed are dangerous."

- Oedipus Rex

"Accepting the dominant belief system is not very interesting or intellectually problematic."

- Erich Ghoode, A Sociological Study of Paranormal Beliefs

"One can approach the truth only through a slow and careful ascent."

- Diotima, The Symposium

"One cannot realize the truth if he cannot see beyond the dualities of life: pleasure and pain, success and failure, even the heat and cold."

- The Bhagavad Gita

"A woman's issues of soul cannot be carved into a more acceptable form as defined by an unconscious culture, nor can she be bent into a more intellectually acceptable shape by those who claim to be the sole bearers of consciousness."

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who Run with Wolves

"Several of the stages of feminist grief: the shock of waking up to the fact that the world does not also belong to you; the shame at having been so naive as to have thought it did; the indignation, depression, and despair that follow this realization; and, finally, the marshaling of the handy coping mechanisms, compartmentalization, pragmatism, and diminished expectations."

- Carina Chocano, You Play the Girl