logo Practical Dreamers

Quips and quotes  -  1

A simple solution
The only thing the world really needs is for every child to grow up in happiness.

Chief Dan George

Where love rules
Where love rules there is no will to power;  and where power predominates,  there love is lacking.   The one is the shadow of the other.

C.G. Jung

Be fruitful and multiply
The command  'be fruitful and multiply'  was promulgated,  according to our authorities,  when the population of the world consisted of two people.

Dean Inge

The squabbles of religion
When religious people quarrel about religion,  or hungry people about their victuals,  it looks as if they had not much of either about them.

Benjamin Franklin

There's a cost
If you want the rainbow,  you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

God made us,  not because he knew what we would do,  but to find out what we would do.

Damon Knight

The Latest Decalogue
Thou shalt have one God only;  who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven image may be
Worshipped,  except the currency.
Swear not at all;  for,  for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse.
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend.
Honour thy parents;  that is,  all
From whom advancement may befall.
Thou shalt not kill,  but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive.
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it.
Thou shalt not steal;  an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat.
Bear not false witness;  let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly.
Thou shalt not covet;  but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.
The sum of all is,  thou shalt love
If anybody,  God above:
At any rate shall never labour
More than thyself to love thy neighbour.

Arthur Hugh Clough

Unimpeachable authority?
Aristotle thought there were eight legs on a fly and wrote it down.   For centuries scholars were content to quote his authority.   Apparently not one of them was curious enough to impale a fly and count its six legs.

Stuart Chase,  quoted Jay Hanson

Your duty
You have a duty to perform.   Do anything else,  do any number of things,  occupy your time fully,  and yet,  if you do not do this task,  all your time will have been wasted.

Jalaludin Rumi

Is there any hope?
If there is any hope at all,  it is that people will come to understand the key systems in their world and then find the courage to make the hard decisions necessary for survival.   We must find political means to abandon the competitive,  consumptive social system  -  or we shall perish.

Jay Hanson

Moral leadership does not mean someone to tell us what to do.   It means someone to help us discover that we already know what to do,  someone who can recognize the smokescreens we all throw into ethical discussions to make us feel good about what we know we should feel bad about,  someone to keep reminding us that we are special and precious  -  all of us,  every one of us,  but none of us more special or precious than anyone else.

Donella H. Meadows

An unfortunate choice of teacher
A cat caught a scorpion,  which promised to pass on a secret if the cat would let it go.   The cat agreed.   The next time the cat was approached by its owner it made a backward spring and stuck its claws into the outstretched hand.   The man put the cat into a bag and dropped the bag into a river.

Sufi story

The power of prayer
Once there was a Drag Hunt Ball just outside Oxford,  to which I had unaccountably failed to be asked.   I asked God to do something about it,  and God recklessly killed poor King George VI,  as a result of which the Hunt Ball was cancelled.

Antonia Fraser,  UK writer

Recognize your limits
Teach your tongue to say  'I do not know'.

Maimonides,  C12 Jewish philosopher

Defining God
Whenever someone recognizes something in God and puts a name on it,  then it is not God.   God is higher than names or nature.

Meister Eckhart

Fifty Ways To Get Political
8.  Recycle
First reduce consumption, then re-use what you can,  then recycle everything possible of what's left.   Promote this practice in your community and workplace.   Besides voting,  recycling is currently one of the few ways we participate in public life on a mass scale voluntarily.
9.  Write letters to the editor
Published,  they can change minds,  and even unpublished,  they impact the newspaper.
11.  Learn about unions
If you don't belong to one,  get someone who does to explain their purpose,  history,  and current status.   Unions are where many of the most important political battles of our era were fought  -  and often won.
21.  Be eco-wise
Compost,  save water,  conserve energy,  car pool  -  all of these contribute to the public good,  model good behaviour,  and shift the political centre of gravity in a green direction.
23.  Join a study circle
Self-education is a fast track to political empowerment.   Pick an issue you care about,  hook up with some friends who feel likewise,  and start reading,  thinking,  and talking about it.   If you then come up with some better ideas than the people currently holding the levers of power and get your plans adopted,  it won't be the first time such things have happened.
25.  Adopt a creek  (or a tree or a hillside or ...)
Learn to care for it,  learn everything you can about it,  and we guarantee it will heighten your political sensibilities.
41.  Eat lower on the food chain
Food is the most under-recognized confluence of the personal and political.   Eating less meat will positively impact everything from your health to public land management.
45.  Get rid of your television set
Spend the time you save on political activities.   This is easily the most radical item on the list, as it involves permanently unplugging yourself from the national propaganda campaign we call advertising.
46.  Watch television  -  critically
If you don't want to pull the plug  (or want to plug back in),  tune in with discrimination.   You can learn wonderful things from TV and use it as a tool for political education,  or you can pollute your brain and get drowned in propaganda.   It's up to you.

IN CONTEXT  Fall/Winter 1991

I refuse to accept the view that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

Martin Luther King Jr.

False gods
It is because other so-called gods do not right the wrongs of this world that they expose themselves as not gods.

George Pixley

The vulnerability of children
All children are potential victims,  dependent on the world's goodwill.

Sally Kenton

Money before country
Merchants have no country.   The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.

Thomas Jefferson

Arrested development
The churches grow old but do not grow up.

Doris Langley Moore

Where the power is
It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.

Dean Inge

Modest desires
I have a most peaceable disposition.   My desires are for a modest hut,  a thatched roof,  but a good bed,  good food,  very fresh milk and butter,  flowers in front of my window and a few pretty trees by my door.   And should the good Lord wish to make me really happy,  he will allow me the pleasure of seeing about six or seven of my enemies hanged upon those trees.

Heinrich Heine

Different religions
The relative value of the various religions is a very difficult thing to discern.   It is almost impossible,  perhaps quite impossible.   For a religion is only known from inside.   Religion is a form of nourishment.   It is difficult to appreciate the flavour and food-value of something one has never eaten.

Simone Weil

The tyrants' Bible
When those who are opposed to all reforms can find no other argument,  their last resort is the Bible.   It has been interpreted to favour intemperance,  slavery,  capital punishment,  and the subjection of women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The pursuit of wealth
He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

Proverbs 28:20  (KJV)

Who is close to God?
An atheist and an  'infidel'  capable of pure compassion,  are as close to God as is a Christian,  and consequently know him equally well,  although their knowledge is expressed in other words,  or remains unspoken.   For  'God is love'.

Simone Weil

Growth for the sake of growth
"Growth for the sake of growth,"  notes environmental writer Edward Abbey,  "is the ideology of the cancer cell."   Just as a continuously growing cancer eventually destroys its life-support systems by destroying its host,  a continuously expanding global economy is slowly destroying its host  -  the Earth's ecosystem.

Worldwatch Institute

Personal salvation
It is even possible to doubt,  whether the anxiety for eternal safety,  which bids one neglect all social duty,  and concentrate all the strength and every moment of existence upon the state of one's own soul,  be anything better than a most insidious and most dangerous form of selfishness.

Charles Beard

The test of civilization
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.

Dr Johnson

Why economists disagree
There is self-interest,  something we all recognize and are usually too polite to mention.   Any economist who works for a large New York bank rarely comes up with a conclusion that is adverse to the interest of his bank as that is understood by his employers.   His public truth is what gains their approval.   There has always been in the United States a healthy suspicion of the views of the economics professor who has a remunerative consulting relationship with corporations.   Certainly his view will be different from that of an economist who is employed by a trade union.  . . .

There isn't much difficulty in telling who has an axe to grind;  our oldest instinct is to ask who is paying.

J.K. Galbraith

True faith is flexible
True faith is provisional,  flexible,  undogmatic,  open to doubt and reason.


There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys;  they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves.


In our era the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

Dag Hammarskjold

Politically unrealistic?
What the public wants is called  "politically unrealistic."   Translated into English,
that means power and privilege are opposed to it.

Noam Chomsky

A prayer
Dear Lord,
So far today I've done alright  . . .
I haven't gossiped,  lost my temper,
been greedy,  grumpy,  nasty,
selfish or over-indulgent.
I'm very thankful for that.

But in a few minutes,  Lord,
I'm going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
I'm going to need a lot more help.


Christians must change
Christians need a profound cultural revolution to transform them into a force that will subvert injustice and tyranny.   The weekly meetings of Christians provide an excellent opportunity for both inner personal growth and social commitment  -  if these meetings are courageously and wisely utilised.

Tissa Balasuriya

Born again
The popular poet Rod McKuen,  in a rare moment of non-sappiness,  once declared that it was clear to him that some people needed to be  "born again and again and again until they finally got it right."

Jan Nunley

Is this what Christian love means?
The Christian minister spoke with feeling at the interfaith dialogue:  "The only way I can love people of other faiths fully is to share with them the love of Jesus.   Letting people die unsaved is no kind of love.   I'm sorry if it seems I don't respect you."
    The Rabbi took a deep breath.   "I'm sorry if this sounds even less respectful.   But my people don't want that kind of love.   We've had it too often through the centuries.   We know what it leads to.   You start by loving us.   Then we don't convert and you get frustrated with us.   In the end,  what begins as love has often ended in death.   If that's Christian love,  we don't want it."

Diocese of Newark

Book review
A schoolgirl who was assigned to write a review of a book on penguins did it in just one sentence:  "This book told me more about penguins than I really wanted to know."
Hoping to goodness
Hoping to goodness is not theologically sound.


Doing good
He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars.   General good is the plea of the scoundrel,  hypocrite,  and flatterer.

William Blake

Seeing the good
In India we have a saying that the fly sits on the filth as well as the honey,  but the bee seeks only the honey and avoids the filth.   And so one of the first vows given to the religious aspirant is:  May I follow the example of the bee,  not that of the fly!   As we progress in the spiritual life,  we learn to see the good in everyone.


To change the world
Philosophers seek to understand the world;  the point,  however,  is to change it.

Karl Marx

Native American viewpoint
Why are white people so afraid of the homosexual?   In native American languages we don't even have a word for the homosexual.   In fact, it is well known among us that the most spiritual people are often homosexuals and these people have been counsellors to our greatest chiefs.

Jose Hobday

The Jesus movement
The Jesus movement in Palestine was a self-help community of poor Jews.   They tried in all ways to help each other,  shared the little food they had,  and cared for each others' health.   Those involved understood themselves as heirs of the religious tradition of Israel,  and their movement as the beginning of a bringing together of the entire people,  as a restoration of creation.

Luise Schottroff

You may find something to interest you in:
Conner's unfamiliar quotations




>>>   Home Page


>>>   Site Index