Long Quotes: Stanislaw Lec

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 02010 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. A new series. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
– Stanislaw Lec

  • “It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.” – Stephen Hawking

    My first reaction upon seeing this quote was to think that it was a cynic's quote. But, upon further reflection, it has more value than that.

  • “What a long strange trip it's been.”
    — Jerry Garcia

  • “Time is this around the cause and dense around the effect.” – Nikolai Kozyrev

  • Here are my favorites. Apparently, I've been saving them up for just such an occasion. Each, in its own way, has contributed to my ideas about long-term thinking.

    An invention needs to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it was started. – Ray Kurzweil

    My undertaking is not difficult, essentially … I should only have to be immortal to carry it out. – Jorge Luis Borges

    The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. – Alfred North Whitehead

    If you have the same problem for a long time, maybe it's not a problem. Maybe it's a fact. – Itzhak Rabin

    Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. – Edsger Dijkstra

    The life so short, the craft so long to learn. – Hippocrates

    For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. – Richard Feynman

    We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims. – Buckminster Fuller

    Experience is a good school. But the fees are high. – Heinrich Heine

    The years teach much which the days never knew. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow. – Plutarch

    Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send. – Jon Postel

    Time is like the ocean: always there, always different. – Ogden Nash

    Anything worthwhile certainly takes a while. – Fred Rogers

    We not only have to survive, we have to deserve to survive. – Joss Whedon

    He who cannot draw on 3,000 years is living hand to mouth. – Goethe

    Deal with the great while it is yet small. – Lao Tzu

    Future, who won't wait for you? Everyone is going there. – Rilke

    The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. – Carl Sagan

    For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. – Vannevar Bush

    The past is a kind of future that has already happened. – Bruce Sterling

    Facts can't be destroyed; they can only cease to be used. – Jay Simms

    We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. – Carl Sagan

    Documentation scales better than our time. – Michael Lopp

    In the long run men hit only what they aim at. – Thoreau

    I intend to live forever. So far, so good. – Steven Wright

  • two sides: on one hand I shouldn't feel responsible for what happens on the other side of the world (or in the future) ; on the other hand I'm not a snowflake and I care about things that happen on the other side of the world (and in the future).

  • Tyler Emerson

    Awesome.

    Royce: Excellent list, especially like Whedon's.

  • Joeandjoan25

    IF YOU SPEAK….BEFORE YOU THINK…YOU FIND OUT WHAT'S REALLY ON YOUR MIND. (unknown)

  • John Davidson

    My field of study is intergenerational justice. A few favorites:

    “I set out on these grounds, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the Earth belongs IN USUFRUCT to the living generation” Thomas Jefferson

    'Usufruct' — A right to use another's property for a time without damaging or diminishing it.” Black's Law Dictionary (7th ed.)

    Edmund Burke: “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.”

    Edmund Burke: Society “is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society.”

    Edmund Burke: “. . . [O]ne of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated is, lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters, that they should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail or commit waste on the inheritance by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of society, hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin instead of a habitation – and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers. . . . Men would become little better than the flies of summer.”

    Edmund Burke: “with regard to futurity, we are to treat it like a ward. We are not so to attempt an improvement of his fortune, as to put the capital of his estate to any hazard”

    Tom Paine: “‘Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now. . . The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound will enlarge with the tree, and posterity read it in full grown characters.”

    Immanuel Kant: “human nature is such that it cannot be indifferent even to the most remote epoch which may eventually affect our species, so long as this epoch may be expected with certainty.”

    Plato: “neither you nor this property of yours belongs to yourselves, but to your whole clan, ancestors and descendants alike;

    The preservation of mankind is the “primary and fundamental law which is the standard and measure of all the other laws depending on it.” Locke, Essays on the Law of Nature

    Thomas Aquinas (citing Augustine): “Wherefore law should take account of many things, as to persons, as to [activities], and as to times; because the community of the state is composed of many persons and its good is procured by many actions; nor is it established to endure for only a short time, but to last for all time by the citizens succeeding one another”

    Isaiah 5:8 “Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.”

    Genesis 9: “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth…. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.””

    Leviticus 25:23 “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.”

  • MVL

    About the snowflake… what if it is concious, like us? Awareness of the individual is a pre-requisite to awareness of the whole.


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