Intelligence Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Intelligence. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
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Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Stories)
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If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
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Albert Einstein
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Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
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Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden)
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Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself.
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John Green
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Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment)
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The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
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Charles Bukowski
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He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.
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Bessie Anderson Stanley (More Heart Throbs Volume Two in Prose and Verse Dear to the American People And by them contributed as a Supplement to the original $10,000 Prize Book HEART THROBS)
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Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so muchβ€”the wheel, New York, wars and so onβ€”whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than manβ€”for precisely the same reasons.
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Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
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The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
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Albert Einstein
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Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
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George Orwell
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I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here.
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Arthur C. Clarke
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Creativity is intelligence having fun.
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Albert Einstein
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I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself
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Simone de Beauvoir
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I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.
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Maya Angelou
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Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?
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John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
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Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?
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John Keats (Letters of John Keats)
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It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment)
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The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
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Friedrich Nietzsche
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The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
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Bertrand Russell
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Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.
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Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
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Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.
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Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
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It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
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Albert Einstein
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You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.
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Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1))
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Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.
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Walter Cronkite
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People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
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SΓΈren Kierkegaard
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Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.
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Oscar Wilde
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The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
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Bill Watterson
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The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.
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J. Krishnamurti
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Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.
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Aristotle
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If I play a stupid girl and ask a stupid question, I've got to follow it through, what am I supposed to do, look intelligent?
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Marilyn Monroe
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You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
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Harlan Ellison
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An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. "Can they be brought together?" This is a practical question. We must get down to it. "I despise intelligence" really means: "I cannot bear my doubts.
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Albert Camus
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Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.
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Isaac Asimov
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There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun
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Pablo Picasso
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Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a treeful of monkeys on nitrous oxide.
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Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
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No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it
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Fernando Pessoa
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As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.
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Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
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Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.
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Edgar Allan Poe (Complete Tales and Poems)
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Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius β€” and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
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Ernst F. Schumacher
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Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
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Winston S. Churchill
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A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.
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Nelson Mandela
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The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
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NiccolΓ² Machiavelli (The Prince)
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Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment)
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Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.
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Victor Hugo
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belief is the death of intelligence.
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Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger: Die letzten Geheimnisse der Illuminaten oder An den Grenzen des erweiterten Bewusstseins)
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A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.
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Friedrich Nietzsche
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You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
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Rosemarie Urquico
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When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.
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Maya Angelou
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I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.
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Jim Morrison
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He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.
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P.G. Wodehouse
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Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.
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Edgar Allan Poe
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Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.
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Stefan Zweig (The Burning Secret and other stories)
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The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.
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Philip K. Dick
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The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
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C.G. Jung
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Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
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Stephen Hawking
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An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
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Ernest Hemingway
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True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.
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Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
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I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
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Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
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All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.
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Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
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If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.
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Susan Sontag
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i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful before i’ve called them intelligent or brave i am sorry i made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is all you have to be proud of when you have broken mountains with your wit from now on i will say things like you are resilient, or you are extraordinary not because i don’t think you’re beautiful but because i need you to know you are more than that
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Rupi Kaur
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It is one thing to be clever and another to be wise.
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George R.R. Martin
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I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.
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Antonio Gramsci (Antonio Gramsci: Prison Letters)
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The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.
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Terry Pratchett (Jingo (Discworld, #21; City Watch, #4))
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Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment
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Lao Tzu
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People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.
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Emma Goldman
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Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.
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Henry Ford
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It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
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Leon C. Megginson
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I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.
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Woodrow Wilson
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Education is no substitute for intelligence.
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Frank Herbert
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To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.
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Friedrich Nietzsche
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It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.
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Leon C. Megginson
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An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
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Victor Hugo (Ninety-Three)
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Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
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Marie Curie
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I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being--forgive me--rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.
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J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
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Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn't understood.
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Wei Hui
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Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.
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Walter H. Cottingham
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The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
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Albert Einstein
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Coach: "All right, Patch. let's say you're at a party. the room is full of girls of all shapes and sizes. You see blondes, brunettes, redheads, a few girl with black hair. Some are talkive, while other appear shy. You've one girl who fits your profile - attractive, intelligent and vulnerable. Dow do you let her know you're interested?" Patch: "Single her out. Talk to her." Coach: "Good. Now for the big question - how do you know if she's game or if she wants you to move on?" Patch: "I study her. I figure out what she's thinking and feeling. She's not gonig to come right out and tell me, which is why i have to pay attention. Does she turn her body toward mine? Does she hold me eyes, then look away? Does she bite her lip and play with her hair, the way Nora is doing right now?
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Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
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We shouldn’t,” protested Isabelle. β€œThe Clave has a plan.” β€œThe Clave has the collective intelligence of a pineapple,” said Jace. Alec blinked up at them. β€œJace is right.” Isabelle turned on her brother. β€œWhat do you know? You weren’t even paying attention.” β€œI was,” Alec said, injured. β€œI said Jace was right.” β€œYeah, but there’s like a 90% chance of me being right most of the time, so that’s not proof you were listening,” said Jace. β€œThat’s just a good guess.
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Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
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A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
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Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy)
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The more stupid one is, the closer one is to reality. The more stupid one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence squirms and hides itself. Intelligence is unprincipled, but stupidity is honest and straightforward.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
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Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
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Michael Jordan
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...at the time, King Herbert felt that to remain safe, the kingdom needed an effective intelligence force." "An intelligent force?" said Will. "Not intelligent. Intelligence. Although it does help if your intelligence force was also intelligent.
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John Flanagan (The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1))
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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
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Saul Bellow (To Jerusalem and Back)
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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)
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When a child first catches adults out -- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just -- his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child's world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.
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John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
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[In the Universe it may be that] Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.
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Stephen Hawking
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I can normally tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.
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H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
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My favourite definition of an intellectual: 'Someone who has been educated beyond his/her intelligence. [Sources and Acknowledgements: Chapter 19]
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Arthur C. Clarke (3001: The Final Odyssey)
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For if the modern mind is whimsical and discursive, the classical mind is narrow, unhesitating, relentless. It is not a quality of intelligence that one encounters frequently these days. But though I can digress with the best of them, I am nothing in my soul if not obsessive.
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Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
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When in doubt, look intelligent.
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Garrison Keillor
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I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.
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Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian)
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Intelligence is dangerous. Intelligence means you will start thinking on your own; you will start looking around on your own. You will not believe in the scriptures; you will believe only in your own experience.
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Osho
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Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.
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Zig Ziglar
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I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.
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William F. Buckley Jr.
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I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.
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Blaise Pascal
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Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood forβ€”YOU.
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Shannon L. Alder
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It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
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Albert Camus (Neither Victims Nor Executioners)
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Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety.
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Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
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Intelligence is an accident of evolution, and not necessarily an advantage.
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Isaac Asimov
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Studies show that intelligent girls are more depressed because they know the world.
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Emilie Autumn
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Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.
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Alan W. Watts
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A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.
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G.K. Chesterton
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Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.
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Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White)
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Your hypocrisy insults my intelligence.
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Toba Beta
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Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.
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Ludwig Wittgenstein
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It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty...
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Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
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The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.
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George Lucas
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An intelligent person can rationalize anything, a wise person doesn't try.
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Jen Knox (Dandelion Ghosts: and other stories)
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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Crack-Up)
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You sick piece of shit," Adam says to him, his voice low, measured. "Such unfortunate language." Warner shakes his head. "Only those who cannot express themselves intelligently would resort to such crude substitutions in vocabulary.
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Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
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What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?
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George Orwell (1984)
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Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
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Groucho Marx
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Reading is an intelligent way of not having to think.
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Walter Moers (The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonia, #4))
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I don't know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn't make you happy.
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J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
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Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.
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Edgar Allan Poe
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How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibilty, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyesβ€”how such people think nothing of abusing a man with low intelligence.
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Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
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Love is by definition an unmerited gift; being loved without meriting it is the very proof of real love. If a woman tells me: I love you because you're intelligent, because you're decent, because you buy me gifts, because you don't chase women, because you do the dishes, then I'm disappointed; such love seems a rather self-interested business. How much finer it is to hear: I'm crazy about you even though you're neither intelligent nor decent, even though you're a liar, an egotist, a bastard.
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Milan Kundera (Slowness)
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Beauty is a sign of intelligence.
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Andy Warhol
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We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.
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Alain de Botton (On Love)
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Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
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Studies show: Intelligent girls are more depressed Because they know What the world is really like Don't think for a beat it makes it better When you sit her down and tell her Everything gonna be all right She knows in society she either is A devil or an angel with no in between She speaks in the third person So she can forget that she's me
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Emilie Autumn
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But even though she was attractive, there was something else about her that caught his eye. She was intelligent, he could sense that right away, and confident, too, as if she were able to move through life on her own terms. To him, these were the things that really mattered. Without them, beauty was nothing.
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Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
β€œ
Solitude is indeed dangerous for a working intelligence. We need to have around us people who think and speak. When we are alone for a long time we people the void with phantoms
”
”
Guy de Maupassant (Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques (Classiques hachette))
β€œ
I used to think she was quite intelligent , in my stupidity. The reason I did was because she knew quite a lot about the theater and plays and literature and all that stuff. If somebody knows quite a lot about all those things, it takes you quite a while to find out whether they're really stupid or not.
”
”
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
β€œ
Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.
”
”
Aldous Huxley
β€œ
Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.
”
”
Warren Buffett
β€œ
For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody.
”
”
Aldous Huxley
β€œ
I'm a quirky, intelligent, dark haired chick! Β  Me, me, me, pick me! Β  And who the hell keeps whining and ruining my perfect moment? Β  I will cut a bitch.
”
”
Tara Sivec (Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers, #1))
β€œ
A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.
”
”
James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
β€œ
We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. With out them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to constantly be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence.
”
”
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
β€œ
I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.
”
”
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
β€œ
...the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.
”
”
Dale Carnegie (How to Stop Worrying and Start Living)
β€œ
The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one'.... (The man who first said that) was probably a coward.... He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them.
”
”
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
β€œ
It's Simon. He's missing." "Ah," said Magnus, delicately, "missing what, exactly?" "Missing," Jace repeated, "as in gone, absent, notable for his lack of presence, disappeared." "Maybe he's gone and hidden under something," Magnus suggested. "It can't be easy getting used to being a rat, especially for someone so dim-witted in the first place." "Simon's not dim-witted," Clary protested angrily. "It's true," Jace agreed. "He just looks dim-witted. Really his intelligence is quite average.
”
”
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
β€œ
Beauty fades, dumb is forever.
”
”
Judy Sheindlin (Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever (4918, Unabridged, Library Edition))
β€œ
Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.
”
”
Susan Sontag
β€œ
A dozen more questions occurred to me. Not to mention twenty-two possible solutions to each one, sixteen resulting hypotheses and counter-theorems, eight abstract speculations, a quadrilateral equation, two axioms, and a limerick. That's raw intelligence for you.
”
”
Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus, #3))
β€œ
Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.
”
”
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
β€œ
I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.
”
”
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
β€œ
[I]f we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex.
”
”
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman)
β€œ
I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.
”
”
Jane Wagner (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe)
β€œ
Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.
”
”
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Crack-Up)
β€œ
Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.
”
”
Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)
β€œ
Barrons was powerful, broodingly good-looking, insanely wealthy, frighteningly intelligent, and had exquisite taste, not to mention a hard body that emitted some kind of constant low-level charge. Bottom line: He was the stuff of heroes. And psychotic killers.
”
”
Karen Marie Moning (Faefever (Fever, #3))
β€œ
When all by myself, I can think of all kinds of clever remarks, quick comebacks to what no one said, and flashes of witty sociability with nobody. But all of this vanishes when I face someone in the flesh: I lose my intelligence, I can no longer speak, and after half an hour I just feel tired. Talking to people makes me feel like sleeping. Only my ghostly and imaginary friends, only the conversations I have in my dreams, are genuinely real and substantial.
”
”
Fernando Pessoa
β€œ
I decided a long time ago I would feed on the vultures until a dove came along. A pigeon. The kind of soul that didn't impede on anyone; just walked around worrying about its own business, trying to get through life without pulling everyone else down. With its own needs and selfish habits. Brave. A communicator. Intelligent. Beautiful. Soft-spoken. A creature that mates for life. Unattainable until she has a reason to trust you.
”
”
Jamie McGuire (Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2))
β€œ
I think I only appear smart by staying quiet as often as possible.
”
”
Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends)
β€œ
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I knowβ€”and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help meβ€”has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
”
”
H.L. Mencken (Notes on Democracy)
β€œ
It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.
”
”
Andrew Jackson
β€œ
Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion. Intelligent people all notice this sooner or later, and they conclude that the entire one hundred percent is bullshit, which is why atheism is connected with being intelligent in people's minds.
”
”
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
β€œ
Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.
”
”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (Autocrat of the Breakfast Table)
β€œ
The advancement of science and the diffusion of information [is] the best aliment to true liberty.
”
”
James Madison
β€œ
Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a 'hot mess' or having 'too many issues' are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.
”
”
Anthon St. Maarten
β€œ
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.
”
”
Hippolyte Taine
β€œ
Men know that women are an overmatch for them, and therefore they choose the weakest or the most ignorant. If they did not think so, they never could be afraid of women knowing as much as themselves.
”
”
Samuel Johnson (A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides)
β€œ
Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.
”
”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
Ms. Wormwood: Calvin, can you tell us what Lewis and Clark did? Calvin: No, but I can recite the secret superhero origin of each member of Captain Napalm's Thermonuclear League of Liberty. Ms. Wormwood: See me after class, Calvin. Calvin: [retrospectively] I'm not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.
”
”
Bill Watterson
β€œ
No one is like you, Alex." I grinned. "I'll take that as a compliment." "It is." He nudged me again, and my grin gew into another ludicrous smile- the kind Caleb gave Olivia when they weren't tearing each other's heads off. "You're incredibly intelligent, Alex. Funny and..." "Pretty?" "No, not pretty." "Cute?" "No." I frowned. "Well, then." Aiden's laugh sent shivers through me. "I was going to say 'stunning.' You're stunningly beautiful.
”
”
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Pure (Covenant, #2))
β€œ
This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.
”
”
Bill Hicks
β€œ
What is success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!
”
”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
β€œ
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.
”
”
Isaac Newton
β€œ
Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.
”
”
NiccolΓ² Machiavelli (The Prince)
β€œ
Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
”
”
Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
β€œ
He looked at her. She was pretty still, with thick hair and soft eyes, and she moved so gracefully that it almost seemed as though she were gliding. He'd seen beautiful women before, though, women who caught his eye, but to his mind, they usually lacked the traits he found most desirable. Traits like intelligence, confidence, strength of spirit, passion, traits that inspired others to greatness, traits he aspired to himself.
”
”
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
β€œ
On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth.
”
”
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
β€œ
We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as beautiful, intelligent, and witty as we are ugly, stupid, and dull. But what if such a perfect being should one day turn around and decide they will love us back? We can only be somewhat shocked-how can they be as wonderful as we had hoped when they have the bad taste to approve of someone like us?
”
”
Alain de Botton (On Love)
β€œ
I used to think that finding the right one was about the man having a list of certain qualities. If he has them, we'd be compatible and happy. Sort of a checkmark system that was a complete failure. But I found out that a healthy relationship isn't so much about sense of humor or intelligence or attractive. It's about avoiding partners with harmful traits and personality types. And then it's about being with a good person. A good person on his own, and a good person with you. Where the space between you feels uncomplicated and happy. A good relationship is where things just work. They work because, whatever the list of qualities, whatever the reason, you happen to be really, really good together.
”
”
Deb Caletti (The Secret Life of Prince Charming)
β€œ
Man is a genius when he is dreaming.
”
”
Akira Kurosawa
β€œ
Jasnah had once defined a fool as a person who ignored information because it disagreed with desired results.
”
”
Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2))
β€œ
It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?
”
”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
β€œ
Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful...and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichΓ©s, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.
”
”
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
β€œ
Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
”
”
Horace Mann
β€œ
In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart.
”
”
John Williams (Stoner)
β€œ
And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers--perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.
”
”
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
β€œ
The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer … They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven and the round face of the earth … [Then the Creator said]: 'They know all … what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!… Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?
”
”
Anonymous (Popol Vuh)
β€œ
People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.
”
”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
β€œ
Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.
”
”
Bertrand Russell (Why Men Fight)
β€œ
I would have thought even a certified idiot like Gabriel here would have taken account of it and notified someone." "Notified who?" asked Jem, not unreasonably. He had moved closer to Tessa as the conversation had continued. As they stood side by side, the backs of their hands brushed. "The Clave. The postman. Us. Anyone," said Will, shooting an irritated look at Gabriel, who was starting to get some color back and looked furious. "I am not a certified idiotβ€”" "Lack of certification hardly proves intelligence," Will muttered.
”
”
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
β€œ
You have killed my love. You used to stir my imagination. Now you don't even stir my curiosity. You simply produce no effect. I loved you because you were marvelous, because you had genius and intellect, because you realized the dreams of great poets and gave shape and substance to the shadows of art. You have thrown it all away. You are shallow and stupid.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons,and to make weapons - a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
”
”
Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
β€œ
I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.
”
”
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
β€œ
THAT crazed girl improvising her music. Her poetry, dancing upon the shore, Her soul in division from itself Climbing, falling She knew not where, Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship, Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing Heroically lost, heroically found. No matter what disaster occurred She stood in desperate music wound, Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph Where the bales and the baskets lay No common intelligible sound But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea
”
”
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
β€œ
Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty: he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware: to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.
”
”
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
β€œ
This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in β€” an interesting hole I find myself in β€” fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.
”
”
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
β€œ
MAKING THE LIE MAKE SENSE: When denial (his or ours) can no longer hold and we finally have to admit to ourselves that we’ve been lied to, we search frantically for ways to keep it from disrupting our lives. So we rationalize. We find β€œgood reasons” to justify his lying, just as he almost always accompanies his confessions with β€œgood reasons” for his lies. He tells us he only lied because…. We tell ourselves he only lied because…. We make excuses for him: The lying wasn’t significant/Everybody lies/He’s only human/I have no right to judge him. Allowing the lies to register in our consciousness means having to make room for any number of frightening possibilities: β€’ He’s not the man I thought he was. β€’ The relationship has spun out of control and I don’t know what to do β€’ The relationship may be over. Most women will do almost anything to avoid having to face these truths. Even if we yell and scream at him when we discover that he’s lied to us, once the dust settles, most of us will opt for the comforting territory of rationalization. In fact, many of us are willing to rewire our senses, short-circuit our instincts and intelligence, and accept the seductive comfort of self-delusion.
”
”
Susan Forward (When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal)
β€œ
I made up my mind I was going to find someone who would love me unconditionally three hundred and sixty five days a year, I was still in elementary school at the time - fifth or sixth grade - but I made up my mind once and for all.” β€œWow,” I said. β€œDid the search pay off?” β€œThat’s the hard part,” said Midori. She watched the rising smoke for a while, thinking. β€œI guess I’ve been waiting so long I’m looking for perfection. That makes it tough.” β€œWaiting for the perfect love?” β€œNo, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortcake. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortcake out to me. And I say I don’t want it anymore and throw it out the window. That’s what I’m looking for.” β€œI’m not sure that has anything to do with love,” I said with some amazement. β€œIt does,” she said. β€œYou just don’t know it. There are time in a girl’s life when things like that are incredibly important.” β€œThings like throwing strawberry shortcake out the window?” β€œExactly. And when I do it, I want the man to apologize to me. β€œNow I see, Midori. What a fool I have been! I should have known that you would lose your desire for strawberry shortcake. I have all the intelligence and sensitivity of a piece of donkey shit. To make it up to you, I’ll go out and buy you something else. What would you like? Chocolate Mousse? Cheesecake?” β€œSo then what?” β€œSo then I’d give him all the love he deserves for what he’s done.” β€œSounds crazy to me.” β€œWell, to me, that’s what love is…
”
”
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
β€œ
One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn’t understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid. He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was soβ€”but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence, the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous.
”
”
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
β€œ
You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don't know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn't find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn't answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is. I think that will be enough, won't it?
”
”
J. Krishnamurti
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The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty. The more indifferent people are to politics, to the interests of others, the more obsessed they become with their own faces. The individualism of our time. Not being able to fall asleep and not allowing oneself to move: the marital bed. If high culture is coming to an end, it is also the end of you and your paradoxical ideas, because paradox as such belongs to high culture and not to childish prattle. You remind me of the young men who supported the Nazis or communists not out of cowardice or out of opportunism but out of an excess of intelligence. For nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought… You are the brilliant ally of your own gravediggers. In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty. How to live in a world with which you disagree? How to live with people when you neither share their suffering nor their joys? When you know that you don’t belong among them?... our century refuses to acknowledge anyone’s right to disagree with the world…All that remains of such a place is the memory, the ideal of a cloister, the dream of a cloister… Humor can only exist when people are still capable of recognizing some border between the important and the unimportant. And nowadays this border has become unrecognizable. The majority of people lead their existence within a small idyllic circle bounded by their family, their home, and their work... They live in a secure realm somewhere between good and evil. They are sincerely horrified by the sight of a killer. And yet all you have to do is remove them from this peaceful circle and they, too, turn into murderers, without quite knowing how it happened. The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order. Or to put it the other way around: the desire for order is a virtuous pretext, an excuse for virulent misanthropy. A long time a go a certain Cynic philosopher proudly paraded around Athens in a moth-eaten coat, hoping that everyone would admire his contempt for convention. When Socrates met him, he said: Through the hole in your coat I see your vanity. Your dirt, too, dear sir, is self-indulgent and your self-indulgence is dirty. You are always living below the level of true existence, you bitter weed, you anthropomorphized vat of vinegar! You’re full of acid, which bubbles inside you like an alchemist’s brew. Your highest wish is to be able to see all around you the same ugliness as you carry inside yourself. That’s the only way you can feel for a few moments some kind of peace between yourself and the world. That’s because the world, which is beautiful, seems horrible to you, torments you and excludes you. If the novel is successful, it must necessarily be wiser than its author. This is why many excellent French intellectuals write mediocre novels. They are always more intelligent than their books. By a certain age, coincidences lose their magic, no longer surprise, become run-of-the-mill. Any new possibility that existence acquires, even the least likely, transforms everything about existence.
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Milan Kundera
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Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt NjΓ‘l 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. NiccolΓ² Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. FranΓ§ois Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. RenΓ© Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. MoliΓ¨re – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
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Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)