Click picture to ZOOM



see: "DELAY"
see: "NEGLECT"
see: "REST"
see: "WAITING"
see: "FAILURE" for other related links


If you are idle, you are on the road to ruin; and there are
few stopping-places upon it. It is rather a precipice than
a road.
--Henry Ward Beecher (1813—1887)
American Congregational minister;
[brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, son of Lyman Beecher.]
_Lectures To Young Men: on Various Important Subjects_ [1852]

I sometimes fancy that I enjoy ploughing and mowing more when
other people are engaged in them than if I were working myself.
Sweat away, my hearties, I say; I am in the shade of this tree
watching you, and enjoying the scene amazingly.
--Henry Ward Beecher (1813—1887)
American Congregational minister; brother of
Harriet Beecher Stowe, son of Lyman Beecher.
_Eyes and Ears_ [1863]


Oh! how I hate to get up in the morning,
Oh! how I'd love to remain in bed.
--Irving Berlin (1888—1989)
American songwriter.
"Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" [1918 song]

Be always asham'd to catch yourself idle.
--Benjamin Franklin (1706—1790)
American politician, inventor, and scientist.
_Poor Richard's Almanack_ [May 1741]

[T]he rule should be 'No labor, no meal.
--Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869—1948)
Indian statesman and leader of the nationalistic
movement against British rule.
In "Young India" [13 August 1925].

Ennui is the rust of the mind born of
idleness. It is unused tools that corrode.
--Delphine de Girardin (1804—1855)
French author.
Attributed in Maturin M. Ballou _Edge-Tools of Speech_, p. 130 [1886].

Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs, and ends in
iron chains. The more business a man has, the more he is able
to accomplish; for he learns to economize his time.
--Sir Matthew Hale (1609—1676)
Lord Chief Justice of England.
Quoted in Tryon Edwards _A Dictionary of Thoughts_, p. 242 [1908 ed.].

Idleness is a mother. She has a son,
robbery, and a daughter, hunger.
--Victor Hugo (1802—1885)
French poet, dramatist, and novelist.
_Les Miserables_ [1862], "Saint Denis"

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of
the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be
done if we are always doing.
--Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
American statesman and president [1801—1809].

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly
unless one has plenty of work to do.
--Jerome K Jerome (1859—1927)
English novelist and playwright.
"Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow" [1886]

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you
are solitary, be not idle.
--Samuel Johnson (1709—1784)
English poet, critic, and lexicographer.
Letter to Boswell [27 October 1779].

I am weary of swords and courts and kings
Let us go into the garden and watch the minister's bees.
--Mary Johnston (1870—1936)
American novelist.

Evil thoughts intrude in an unemployed mind, as naturally
as worms are generated in a stagnant pool.
--Latin proverb
Quoted in Louis Klopsch _Many Thoughts of Many Minds_, p. 139 [1896].

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon
in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned
how to live.
--Lin Yutang (1895—1976)
Chinese writer and philogist.

Nobody has worked harder at inactivity with such a
force of character, with such unremitting attention
to detail, with such conscientious devotion to the
--Walter Lippmann (1889—1974)
American journalist.
Obituary of Calvin Coolidge (1872—1933).

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the
trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or
watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means
waste of time.
--Sir John Lubbock (1834—1913)
The First Lord and Baron Avebury who was a
British banker, politician, and archaeologist.
_The Use of Life_, ch. IV "Recreation" [1894]

Lie down and listen to the crabgrass grow
The faucet leak, and learn to leave them so.
--Marya Mannes (1904—1990)
American writer and critic.
_But Will it Sell_ [1964]

Well, we can't stand around here doing
nothing, people will think we're workmen.
--Spike [Terence Alan] Milligan (1918—2002)
Irish novelist, poet, musician, and comedian.
"The Goon Show" (radio comedy)

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
--Dorothy Parker (1893—1967)
American critic and humorist.
"Inventory" [1926]

An idle brain is the Devil's workshop.
--William Perkins (1558—1602)
English clergyman.
_Works_ [1612—1613, 3 vols.]

First of all, then, Solon repealed all Draco's laws
because of their harshness and the excessively
heavy penalties they carried; the only exceptions
were the laws relating to homicide. Under the
Draconian code almost any offence was liable to
the death penalty, so that even those convicted
of idleness were executed, and those who stole
fruit or vegetables suffered the same punishment
as those who committed sacrilege or murder.
This is the reason why, in later times, Demades
became famous for his remark that Draco's code
was written not in ink but in blood. Draco himself,
when he was once asked why he had decreed the
death penalty for the great majority of offenses,
replied that he considered the minor ones deserved
it, and so for the major ones no heavier punishment
was left.
--Plutarch (A.D. 46?—119?)
Greek philosopher and biographer.
_Parallel Lives_ "Solon",
in M.J. Cohan and John Major {eds.} _History in Quotations_ [2004].

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the
saying 'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands
to do.'
--Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.
"In Praise of Idleness" [1932 essay]

If idleness does not produce vice or malevolence,
it commonly produces melancholy.
--Sydney Smith (1771—1845)
English clergyman and essayist.
Quoted in _The Review of Education_ v. 7 [June 1901. to May 1902 Inclusive]

Not only is he idle who is doing nothing, but
he that might be better employed.
--Socrates (470?—399 B.C.)
Greek philosopher.

Ay! idleness! the rich folks never fail
To find some reason why the poor deserve
Their miseries!
--Robert Southey (1774—1843)
English poet.
_English Eclogues_, VIII, "The Wedding" [1800]

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.
--Spanish proverb

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied
at the end. It is not a day when you lounge around
doing nothing: it's when you've had everything to
do, and you've done it.
--Margaret Thatcher (1925— )
British conservative stateswoman and Prime Minister [1979—1990].

I pity the man overwhelmed with the weight of his own leisure.
--Voltaire (Franηois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
Quoted in James Parton _Life of Voltaire_, p. 832 [6th ed. 1889]

In works of labour or of skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
--Isaac Watts (1674—1748)
English hymn writer.
"Against idleness and mischief" in
_Divine and Moral Songs for Children_
"Against Idleness and Mischief" l. 11 [1715]


gongoozler (noun) ['gahng-guz-lκ(r)]
An idle on-looker, a kibbitzer; someone
who stares protractedly at anything.



see: "DULL"
see: "FOOLS"
see: "FAILURE" for other related links
see: "THE MIND" for other related links

To be ignorant of one's ignorance
is the malady of the ignorant.
--[Amos] Bronson Alcott (1799—1888)
American philosopher, teacher, and reformer;
father of Louisa May Alcott.
_Table Talk_, ch. 6 "Discourse" [1877]

Philosophy, means, first, doubt; and afterwards the consciousness
of what knowledge means, the consciousness of uncertainty and
of ignorance, the consciousness of limit, shade, degree, possibility.
The ordinary man doubts nothing and suspects nothing.
--Henri Frιdιrick Amiel (1821—1881)
Swiss critic.

Where people wish to attach, they
should always be ignorant.
--Jane Austen (1775—1817)
English writer.
_Northanger Abbey_ [1818]

Positive in proportion to their ignorance.
--Maturin M. Ballou (1820—1895)
American writer and publisher.
_Aztec Land_ [1890]

Be ignorance thy choice, where knowledge leads to woe.
--James Beattie (1735—1803)
Scottish poet and essayist.
_The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius_, bk II, st. 30 [1771—1772]

The ignorant classes are the dangerous classes.
Ignorance is the womb of monsters.
--Henry Ward Beecher (1813—1887)
American Congregational minister; brother of
Harriet Beecher Stowe, son of Lyman Beecher.
_Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit_ [1870]

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in
ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
--Saul Bellow (1915—2005)
Canadian-born American novelist.
_To Jerusalem and Back_ [1976]

Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance
of the law is not punished.
--attributed to Jeremy Bentham (1748—1832)
English philosopher.

Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate
among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford
among its citizens.
--William Henry Beveridge (1879—1963)
British economist.
_Full Employment in a Free Society_ [1944]

However big the fool, there is always a
bigger fool to admire him.
--Nicolas Boileau-Desprιaux (1636—1711)
French critic and poet.
_L'art poιtique_ [1674], canto 1

If you think education is expensive — try ignorance.
--Derek C. Bok (1930— )
American lawyer and educator.
Attributed in Paul Dickson _The Official Rules_ [1978].

Ignorance is not innocence but sin.
--Robert Browning (1812—1889)
English poet.
_The Inn Album_[1875]


A man of piety complained to the Baalshem, saying:
'I have laboured hard and long in the service of the
Lord, and yet I have received no improvement. I am
stil an ordinary and ignorant person.'

The Baalshem answered: 'You have gained the
realisation that you are ordinary and ignorant, and
this in itself is a worthy accomplishment.'

--Hasidic story,
in Martin Buber _Tales of the Hasidim_.


The truest characters of ignorance
Are vanity, and pride, and annoyance.
--Samuel Butler (1612—1680)
English poet and satirist.
"Hudibras" [1663]

It is always dangerous to offend the
dignity of the ignorant.
--Renι Cailliι (1799—1838)
French explorer who was the first European
to visit Timbuktu and return.

The multitudes remained plunged in ignorance of the
simplest economic facts, and their leaders, seeking
their votes, did not dare to undeceive them.
--Winston Churchill (1874—1965)
British Conservative statesman and
Prime Minister [1940—1945, 1951—1955].
_The Gathering Storm: The Second World War_ [1948-1951]


It is with nations as with individuals, those who know the least
of others think the highest of themselves; for the whole family
of pride and ignorance are incestuous, and mutually beget each
--C.C. Colton (1780—1832)
English clergyman and writer.
_Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words; Addressed to Those Who Think_ [1820]

A man who knows the world will not only make the most of
everything he does know, but of many things that he does
not know; and will gain more credit by his adroit mode of
hiding his ignorance than the pedant by his awkward
attempt to exhibit his erudition.
--C.C. Colton (1780—1832)
English clergyman and writer.
_Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words;
Addressed to Those Who Think_ [1820]


Real knowledge is to know the extent
of one's ignorance.
--Confucius (551—479 B.C.)
K'ung Ch'iu, Chinese philosopher.
_The Confucian Analects_

I alone know that I know nothing.
--Democritus of Abdera (c. 460 B.C.—c. 370 B.C.)
Greek philosopher.

I seemed to have gained nothing in trying to educate myself
unless it was to discover more and more fully how ignorant I
--Renι Descartes (1596—1650)
French philosopher and mathematician.
_Discourse on Method and the Meditations_ [1637],
tr. Laurence J. Lafleur [1964].

Genuine ignorance is... profitable because it is
likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity,
and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat
catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions,
gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind
with varnish waterproof to new ideas.
--John Dewey (1859—1952)
American philosopher and educator.


To be conscious that you are ignorant
is a great step to knowledge.
--Benjamin Disraeli (1804—1881)
British Tory statesman, novelist, and
Prime Minister [1868, 1874—1880].
_Sybil_, bk. I, ch. 5 [1845]

Mr. Kremlin himself was distinguished for ignorance,
for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.
--Benjamin Disraeli (1804—1881)
British Tory statesman, novelist, and
Prime Minister [1868, 1874—1880].
_Sybil_, bk. IV, ch. 5 [1845]


He that knows least commonly presumes most.
--Thomas Fuller (1654—1734)
English writer and physician.
Comp., _Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs_ [1732]

I have never met a man so ignorant that
I couldn't learn something from him.
--Galileo Galilei (1564—1642)
Tuscan astronomer and physicist.

Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)
German poet, novelist, and playwright.
_Proverbs in Prose_ [1819]

Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise,
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
--Thomas Gray (1716—1771)
English poet.
"Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" [1747]

Not to know certain things is a great part of wisdom.
--Hugo Grotius (1583—1645)
Dutch philosopher. playwright, and poet.
In Edwin Rabbie (ed.) _The Poetry of Hugo
Grotius: Original Poetry 1604—1608_ [1992].

Knowing what
Thou knowest not
Is, in a sense
--Piet Hein (1905—1996)
Danish poet and mathematician.

Although it is better to hide our ignorance, this
is hard to do when we relax over wine.
--Heraclitus (c.535—475 B.C.)
Greek philosopher.

If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want
drillin' rights on that man's head.
--Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower
discussing President George Bush's [41] policies.

Far more crucial than what we know or do
not know is what we do not want to know.
--Eric Hoffer (1902—1983)
American longshoreman, philosopher, and author who
received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1982.
_The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms_ [1955]

The attacks upon the [Supreme] Court are merely an expression
of the unrest that seems to wonder vaguely whether law and
order pay. When the ignorant are taught to doubt, they do not
know what they safely may believe.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841—1935)
Justice of the United States Supreme Court,
legal historian, and philosopher.
_Law and the Court_ [1913]

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is a very simple
and effective one: be satisfied with your opinions
and content with your knowledge.
--Elbert Hubbard (1859—1915)
American editor, publisher, and author who
died in the sinking of the "Lusitania."

He does not weep who does not see.
--Victor Hugo (1802—1885)
French poet, dramatist, and novelist.
_Les Miserables_ [1862], "Jean Valjean"


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote
from the truth who believes nothing, than he who
believes what is wrong.
--Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
American statesman and president [1801—1809].
_Notes on the State of Virginia_ [1784], Query 6

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,
in a state of civilization, it expects what
never was and never will be.
--Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
American statesman and president [1801—1809].
Letter to Colonel Charles Yancy [6 January 1916].


It is worse still to be ignorant of
your ignorance.
--Saint Jerome (c.340—420?)
Translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin.
_Letter 53_

Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal, and a man may
be properly charged with that evil which he neglected or
refused to learn how to prevent.
--Samuel Johnson (1709—1784)
English poet, critic, and lexicographer.
_Rasselas_ [1759], ch. 30

The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917—1963)
American Democratic statesman, President of the U.S. [1961—1963].
Speech at Rice University [12 September 1962].

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere
ignorance and conscientious stupidity
--Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929—1968)
American civil rights leader.
_Strength to Love_ [1963]

An illusion of depth often occurs if a blockhead
is a muddlehead at the same time.
--Karl Kraus (1874—1936)
Austrian satirist.

Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without
discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable.
--Jean de La Fontaine (1621—1695)
French poet.
_Fables_, bk VIII, no. 10 [1668—1679]

His ignorance is encyclopedic.
--Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1909—1966)
Polish writer.
_Unkempt Thoughts_, tr. Jacek Galazka [1962]
(Also attributed to Abba Eban.)

A great part of mankind are . . . unavoidably given
over to invincible ignorance.
--John Locke (1632—1704)
English political and educational philosopher.
_An Essay concerning Human Understanding_ [1690]

It is a blind goose that cometh to the fox's sermon.
--John Lyly (1554?—1606)
English prose stylist and playwright.
Quoted in Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh _The English Novel_ [1894]

I count religion but a childish toy,
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
--Christopher Marlowe (1564—1593)
English dramatist and poet.
"The Jew of Malta" prologue [c. 1592]

An eagerness and zeal for dispute on every subject, and
with every one, shows great self-sufficiency, that never-
failing sign of great self-ignorance.
--Rev. John Mason III (1706—1763)
Presbyterian clergyman and hymn writer.
_A Treatise on Self-Knowledge_ [1803 ed.]

It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.
--Mignon McLaughlin (1913—1983)
American journalist and author.
_The Neurotic's Notebook_ [1963]

No one in this world, as far as I know.... has ever lost
money by underestimating the intelligence of the great
masses of the plain people.
--H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880—1956)
American journalist and literary critic.
"Notes on Journalism"
_Chicago Tribune_ [19 September 1926]

In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase
the horizon of ignorance.
--Henry Miller (1891—1980)
American novelist and essayist.
_The Wisdom of the Heart_ [1941]


Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man
can rest his head.
--Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533—1592)
French moralist and essayist.

Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy,
inquiry the process, ignorance the end.
--Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533—1592)
French moralist and essayist.


The greater the ignorance the greater
the dogmatism.
--Sir William Osler (1849—1919)
Canadian-born physician.
In the "Montreal Medical Journal" [1902].


It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked
bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they
make in pouring it out.
--Alexander Pope (1688—1744)
English poet.
_Miscellanies_ Vol 2 [1727]

There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal whatsoever,
in which the most ignorant were not the most violent.
--Alexander Pope (1688—1744)
English poet.



Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge but an active
aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know, issuing from
cowardice, pride, or laziness of mind.
--Karl Popper (1902—1994)
Austrian-born British philosopher of science.
As paraphrased by Ryszard Kapuscinski in
"The Philosopher as Giant-Slayer"
_New York Times Magazine_ [1 January 1995].

Our knowledge can only be finite, while our
ignorance must necessarily be infinite.
--Karl Popper (1902—1994)
Austrian-born British philosopher of science.
_In Search of a Better World_ (essays)
"On The So-Called Sources of Knowledge"[1992]


You know everybody is ignorant,
only on different subjects.
--Will Rogers [William Penn Adair Rogers] (1879—1935)
American humorist and actor.
In "New York Times" [31 August 1924].

A wise man in the company of those who are ignorant
has been compared by the sages to a beautiful girl in
the company of blind men.
--Sa'di [Muslih-uddin] (c. 1213—1292)
Iranian poet.
_The Gulistan, or Rose Garden_ [1258]

Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men
know the law, but because 'tis an excuse every man will
plead, and no man can tell how to confute him.
--John Selden (1584—1654)
English historian.
_Table Talk_ "Law" [1689]

If one does not know to which port one
is sailing, no wind is favorable.
--Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC—65 A.D.)
Roman philosopher and poet.
_Epistulae Morales_


...Accordingly I went to one [man] who had the reputation of
wisdom, and observed to him - his name I need not mention;
he was a politician whom I selected for examination - and the
result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could
not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was
thought wise by many, and wiser still by himself; and I went
and tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but
was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated
me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present
and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away:
Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything
really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is - for he
knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor
think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have
slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another, who had
still higher philosophical pretensions, and my conclusion was
exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of many
others besides him.
--Socrates (470?—399 B.C.)
Greek philosopher.
In Plato (427?—347 B.C.), _Apology_


A true and genuine Impudence is ever the Effect
of Ignorance, without the least Sense of it.
--Sir Richard Steele (1672—1729)
Irish-born essayist and dramatist.
[23 March 1711 edition of "The Spectator" [1711—1712]


There's none so blind as they that won't see.
--Jonathan Swift (1667—1745)
Anglo-Irish poet and satirist.
_A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation_ [1738]

It is very unfair in any writer to employ ignorance and
malice together, because it gives his answerer double
--Jonathan Swift (1667—1745)
Anglo-Irish poet and satirist.


It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance,
for it requires knowledge to perceive it; and, therefore, he
that can perceive it hath it not.
--Jeremy Taylor (1613—1667)
English Anglican clergyman and writer.
Quoted in Tryon Edwards _A Dictionary of Thoughts_, p. 244 [1908 ed.].

Ignorance is bold, and knowledge reserved.
--Thucydides (c.460—c.400 B.C.)
Greek historian of Athens.
Quoted in James Wood (ed.)
_Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and
Modern, English and Foreign Sources_, p. 178 [1899].

When [ignorance] does not know something, it says
that what it does not know is stupid.
--Leo Tolstoy (1828—1910)
Russian novelist.
_A Confession_ [1882], Chapter 7

That is just the way with some people. They get down
on a thing when they don't know nothing about it.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835—1910)
American humorist, novelist, journalist, and river pilot.
_The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ [1884]

We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance.
As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore
of our ignorance.
--John A. Wheeler (1911—2008)
American theoretical physicist.

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.
--Alfred North Whitehead (1861—1947)
British philosopher and mathematician.
Quoted in Warren W. Wiersbe _The Bible Exposition Commentary_ [2004].


hebetude [HEB-uh-tood-; -tyood], noun:
Mental dullness or sluggishness.
Ex.: While too many Americans slouch toward a terminal funk of
hebetude and sloth, Bendians race ahead with toned muscles,
wide eyes and brains perpetually wired on adrenaline.
--"Wild rides in the heart of central Oregon: Bent out of
shape in Bend,"
_Washington Times_ [11 August 2001]
The adjective is hebetudinous heb-uh-TOOD-n-us; -TYOOD-.

ignoramus [ig-nuh-RAY-mus], noun:
An ignorant person; a dunce.

nescient (adj.)
'ne-shent, 'ne-si-yκnt
Ignorant, lacking knowledge



see: "THE HUMAN RACE" for other related links

Illegal aliens have always been a problem
in the United States. Ask any Indian.
--attributed to Robert Orben (b. 1927)
American magician and comedy writer.



see: "HEALTH" for related links

All the crimes on earth do not destroy so many of the human
race, nor alienate so much property, as drunkenness.
--Francis Bacon (1561—1626)
English philosopher and essayist.
Attribute in _The European Magazine and London
Review_, vol. 72 [July-December 1817].

I've just learned about his illness.
Let's hope it's nothing trivial.
--attributed to Irvin S. Cobb (1876—1944)
American author and journalist.

My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I
drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless
--W. C. Fields [William Claude Dukenfield]
(1880—1946) American vaudeville star and film actor.

Illness can be cured by shining different coloured
lights on the afflicted parts of the body.
--Colonel Dinshah Ghadiali (1873—1966)
Indian-born American medical quack.


Of all workers, the intellectual worker has least
need of health or rest or favorable working
conditions. It is hard to imagine what Rembrandt
would have achieved had he been deprived of
canvas, or a Beethoven without musical instruments.

But for a long time Descartes was shut up in a smoky
room without books; Pascal did his best work when
he was an invalid and had to scribble on any paper
he had at hand.

And think of Marcel Proust, asthmatic and dying, who
could write well only when, bedridden, he lay half-
suffocating in a room hazy with inhalations, his
bedclothes serving as his desk.

You may well wonder about Proust and Pascal: Would
health have helped them as much as illness did?
The need to make every moment count, the anguish
of being perhaps unable to finish, the having to
break off, the forgetting, suffering, sudden
flashes of insight — all these accompaniments
to a physical ailment stimulated their minds.

Epicurus was an invalid, too, and sat in a rose-
laurel garden, only rising now and then to note
down some thought. Lucretius was undoubtedly
even more seriously ill. St. Paul wrote, ". . . we
are being hampered everywhere, yet still have
room to breathe, are hard put to it, but never
at a loss. . . ." (2 Corinthians 4:8). Nietzsche,
reflecting on the root of life, wondered about
the nature of illness, and came to see in it
a means to self-realization.

Must a person give up working when he is tired
or in pain — for example, in the lapses caused by
a minor illness? Obviously, severe illness or total
destitution makes it impossible to concentrate.
But the trials of life have their rhythms and
moments of surcease when you can find place
for nonphysical work, although it may not be
termed intellectual effort.

--Jean Guitton (1901—1999)
French Catholic philosopher and theologian.
_A Student's Guide to Intellectual Work_ [1951],
"Working While Tired Or Sick"


You eat us. You wear us. You sneak into the
fields and tip us over. Of course we're mad!
--Jerry Seinfeld (1954— )
American actor, writer, and comedian.
On Mad Cow.

Breast cancer and AIDS aren't among the leading killers. Among
diseases, breast cancer is ninth, AIDS 18th. Yet in 2001, AIDS
research got $4,439 per patient from NIH, breast cancer $290,
Parkinson's $175. Diabetes, which killed more people than AIDS
and breast cancer combined, got $41. Heart disease, the number
one killer, got just $58 per patient.
--John Stossel (b. 1947)
American television journalist and author.
_Give Me A Break_ [2005]

We achieve "active" mastery over illness and
death by delegating all responsibility for
their management to physicians, and by exiling
the sick and the dying to hospitals. But hospitals
serve the convenience of staff not patients: we
cannot be properly ill in a hospital, nor die in
one decently; we can do so only among those who
love and value us. The result is the institutionalized
dehumanization of the ill, characteristic of our age.
--Thomas Szasz (1920— )
American psychiatrist.
_The Second Sin_, "Personal Conduct" [1973]

Click picture to ZOOM


see: "ERROR"
see: "REALITY"
see: "DECEPTION" for other related links

What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists?
In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
--Woody Allen [Allen Stewart Konigsberg] (1935— )
American actor, screenwriter, and director.

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in
ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
--Saul Bellow (1915—2005)
Canadian-born American novelist.
_To Jerusalem and Back_ [1976]

A pleasant illusion is better than a harsh reality.
--Christian Nestell Bovee (1820—1904)
American writer.
_Intuitions and Summaries of Thought_ [1862]

As long as the heart preserves desire,
the mind preserves illusion.
--Franηois-Renι de Chateaubriand (1768—1848)
French writer and diplomat.
In _A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness_,
compiled by J. De Finod [1880], p. 153.

We do not like those who unmask our illusions.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882)
American philosopher and poet.
"Character" in _Lectures and Biographical Sketches_ [1883]

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to
enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when
they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to
--Sigmund Freud (1856—1939)
Austrian psychiatrist.
_Reflections on War and Death_ [1918]

The illusion that times that were are better than
those that are, has probably pervaded all ages.
--Horace Greeley (1811—1872)
American newspaper editor.
_The American Conflict_, ch. I [1864—1866]

The biggest lesson you can learn in life, or teach
your children, is that life is not castles in the
skies, happily ever after. . . . we're all built
with illusions. And they break.
--Goldie Hawn (1945— )
American actress.

Of all the illusions that beset mankind, none is quite so
curious as [the] tendency to suppose that we are mentally
and morally superior to those who differ from us in opinion.
--Elbert Hubbard (1859—1915)
American editor, publisher, and author who
died in the sinking of the "Lusitania."
Quoted in Laurence J. Peter _Peter's People_ [1979].

If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves,
it is because self-knowledge is painful and
we prefer the pleasures of illusion.
--Aldous Huxley (1894—1963)
English novelist (grandson of T.H. Huxley.)
_The Perennial Philosophy_ [1946], ch. 9

Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you
rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.
--Henrik Ibsen (1828—1906)
Norwegian playwright.
_The Wild Duck_, act V [1884]

An illusion of depth often occurs if a blockhead
is a muddlehead at the same time.
--Karl Kraus (1874—1936)
Austrian satirist.

The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside
from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify
error, if error seduce[s] them. Whoever can supply them
with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to
destroy their illusions is always their victim.
--Gustave Le Bon (1841—1931)
French social psychologist best known for his study
of the psychological characteristics of crowds.
_The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind_ [1895]

An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.
--Arthur Miller (1915—2005)
American dramatist.
"The Year It Came Apart"
in _New York_ (mag.) [30 Dec. 1974 - 6 Jan. 1975].

This world is all a fleeting show,
For man's illusion given;
The smiles of joy, the tears of woe,
Deceitful shine, deceitful flow,
There's nothing true but Heaven.
--Thomas Moore (1779—1852)
Irish poet, satirist, composer, and musician.
_This World Is All a Fleeting Show_

We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the
image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality,
against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment,
because it does not fit them.
--Anaοs Nin (1903—1977)
French-born American writer.
_The Diary of Anaοs Nin: 1955-1966_

Let her be robbed of everything rather than of her
illusions. This is the only loss from which we never
--Ouida [Maria Louise de la Ramιe] (1839—1908)
English novelist.
_Princess Napraxine_, ch. 36 [1884]

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone
you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835—1910)
American humorist, novelist, journalist, and river pilot.
_Following the Equator_ [1897], ch. 59 "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar"



see: "DREAMS"
see: "FANTASY"
see: "THE MIND"
see: "SUCCESS"
see: "WONDER"

A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps
from admiration to love, from love to matrimony
in a moment.
--Jane Austen (1775—1817)
English writer.
_Pride and Prejudice_ [1813], Chapter 6

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.
--Lauren Bacall [Betty Joan Perske] (1924— )
American actress.

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what
he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
--Variously attributed to Francis Bacon, Robert Walpole, and anon.

Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages to its present
state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America.
Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given
us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine and the
automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they
became realities. So I believe that dreams — day dreams, you know,
with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing — are
likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child
will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to
invent, and therefore to foster civilization.
--L. [Lyman] Frank Baum (1856—1919)
American writer.
_The Lost Princess of Oz_ [1917]

The soul without imagination is what an
observatory would be without a telescope.
--Henry Ward Beecher (1813—1887)
American Congregational minister;
[brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, son of Lyman Beecher.]
_Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit_ [1887]

What never has been cannot be imagined.
--Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875—1950)
American novelist.
_Thuvia, Maid Of Mars_ [1920]

To treat your facts with imagination is one thing,
to imagine your facts is another.
--John Burroughs (1837—1921)
American naturalist and writer.
"24 October 1907"
_The Heart of Burroughs's Journals_ [1928], ed. Clara Barrus


Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad,
and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom.

I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that
this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.

--G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874—1936)
English essayist, novelist, and poet.
_Orthodoxy_, ch. 2 [1908]


Imagination: The one weapon
in the war against reality.
--Jules de Gaultier (1858—1942)
French author and philosopher.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge
is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
--Albert Einstein (1879—1955)
German-American physicist who developed the
special and general theories of relativity.
"What Life Means to Einstein", an interview published in
_The Saturday Evening Post_ [29 October 1929].

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination
will take you everywhere.
--Albert Einstein (1879—1955)
German-American physicist who developed the
special and general theories of relativity.
Quoted in Andrew I Weeraratne
_Uncommon Commonsense Steps to Super Wealth_, p. 208 [2007].


Demons do not exist any more than gods do, being
only the products of the psychic activity of man.
--Sigmund Freud (1856—1939)
Austrian psychiatrist.
In _New York Times Magazine_ [6 May 1956].


And castels buylt above in lofty skies,
Which never yet had good foundation.
--George Gascoigne (c. 1535—1577)
English poet.
"Steele Glass" [1576]

& see:

How many [...] castles in the air do they build?
--Robert Burton (1577—1640)
English scholar, cleric, and author.
_The Anatomy of Melancholy_ [1621]

& see:

If you have built castles in the air, your work
need not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put foundations under them.
--Henry David Thoreau (1817—1862)
American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher.
"Conclusion" in _Walden_ [1854]


Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always
simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the
--Ernest Hemingway (1889—1961)
American novelist.
Introduction to _Men at War_ [1942].

His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich.
It enabled him to run, though not to soar.
--Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800—1859)
English politician and historian.
T.F. Ellis (ed.) _Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macauley_ [1860] "John Dryden" [1828]

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
--attributed to H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880—1956)
American journalist and literary critic.

Often it is just lack of imagination that keeps
a man from suffering very much.
--attributed to Marcel Proust (1871—1922)
French novelist.

Men speak from knowledge, women from imagination.
--Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778)
French philosopher and novelist.
Quoted in Maturin M. Ballou
_Notable Thoughts about Women_, p. 299 [1882].

The woman who appeals to a man's vanity may stimulate him;
the woman who appeals to his heart may attract him; but it's
the woman who appeals to his imagination who *gets* him.
--attributed to Helen Rowland (1875—1950)
American writer.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that
never were. But without it, we go nowhere.
--Carl Sagan (1934—1996)
American astronomer and author.
_Cosmos_ [1980]

There are more things, Lucilius, likely to frighten us than
there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination
than in reality.
--Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC—65 A.D.)
Roman philosopher and poet.
Epistle 13 "On Groundless Fears"

Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings.
--William Shakespeare (1564—1616)
English dramatist.
_Macbeth_, act I, sc. 3, l. 137 [1606]

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many
useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination
without skill gives us modern art.
--Tom Stoppard [Tomas Straussler] (b. 1937)
Czech-born British playwright.
"Artist Descending a Staircase" [1972]

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If
you can dream it, you can become it.
--William Arthur Ward (1921—1994)
American college administrator and author.

Television contracts the imagination and radio expands it.
--Terry Wogan (b. 1938)
Irish radio and television broadcaster.
In "Observer" (London) [December 1984].


chimerical [ky-MER-ih-kuhl; -MIR-; kih-], adjective:
1. Merely imaginary; produced by or as if by a wildly fanciful
imagination; fantastic; improbable or unrealistic.
2. Given to or indulging in unrealistic fantasies or fantastic
Ex.: Her name is Dulcinea; her country El Toboso, a village
in La Mancha; her degree at least that of Princess, for she
is my Queen and mistress; her beauty superhuman, for in
her are realized all the impossible and chimerical attributes
of beauty which poets give to their ladies.
--Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
Spanish novelist,
_Don Quixote de la Mancha_ [1605-1615]

Chimerical is ultimately derived from Greek khimaira,
"she-goat" or "chimera," which in Greek mythology was a
monster having the head of a lion, the body of a goat,
and the tail of a dragon.


Cockaigne [kah-KAYN], noun:
An imaginary land of ease and luxury.
Ety.: References to Cockaigne are prominent in medieval European
lore. George Ellis, in his Specimens of Early English Poets (1790),
printed an old French poem called "The Land of Cockaign" (13th
century) where "the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes,
the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods
for nothing."

fecund (adjective)
Marked by intellectual productivity.
Synonyms: prolific, fertile

phantasmagoria [fan-taz-muh-GOR-ee-uh], noun:
1. A shifting series or succession of things seen
or imagined, as in a dream.
2. Any constantly changing scene.




Children have never been very good at listening
to their elders, but they have never failed to
imitate them.
--James Baldwin (1924—1987)
American author and playwright.
_Nobody Knows My Name_ [1961], ch. 3

A man after his own heart.
"The First Book of Samuel" 13:14

The original writer is not he who refrains from
imitating others, but he who can be imitated
by none.
--Franηois-Renι de Chateaubriand (1768—1848)
French writer and diplomat.
_Le Gιnie du Christianisme_, pt. 2, bk. I, ch. 3 [1802]


Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.
--C.C. Colton (1780—1832)
English clergyman and writer.
_Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words;
Addressed to Those Who Think_ [1820],
Volume 1, Number 217

& note:

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form
of flattery. . . . If you want to influence someone,
listen to what he says.
--Dr. Joyce Brothers [Joyce Diane Bauer] (b. 1927)
American psychologist and advice columnist.
Attributed in William Safire, Leonard Safir (eds.)
_Words of Wisdom: More Good Advice_, p. 221 [1989]



My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."


Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"


I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."

And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.


--Harry Chapin (1942—1981)
American singer and songwriter.
_Cat's in the Cradle_ [1974]
(Lyrics by Harry and Sandra Chapin.)


The young always have the same
problem — how to rebel and conform
at the same time. They have now
solved this by defying their
parents and copying one another.
--Quentin Crisp [Denis Pratt] (1908—1999)
English writer.
_The Naked Civil Servant_, ch. 19 [1968]

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad
poets deface what they take, and good poets
make it into something better.
--T.S. Eliot (1888—1965)
Anglo-American poet, critic, and dramatist.
_The Sacred Wood_ [1920] "Philip Massinger"

Insist on yourself; never imitate.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882)
American philosopher and poet.
_Essays: First Series_ [1841], "Self-Reliance"

Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems
from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what
can and can not be done.
--James Fenton (1949— )
British poet and critic.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead
of a second-rate version of somebody else.
--Judy Garland [Frances Gumm] (1922—1969)
American motion-picture singer and actress.

When people are free to do as they please,
they usually imitate each other.
--Eric Hoffer (1902—1983)
American longshoreman, philosopher,
and author who received the Presidential
Medal of Freedom in 1982.
_The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms_ [1955]

We are all easily taught to imitate what is base and depraved.
--Juvenal (c. 55—130)
Roman satirist.
_Satires_, XIV. 40

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.
--Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742—1799)
German scientist and drama critic.
"Notebook E", Aphorism 11
_Aphorisms_, 1765—1799

Monkey see, monkey do.
--"Mansfield News" (Ohio) [4 January 1920]

To refrain from imitation is the best revenge.
--Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121—180)
Roman emperor [161—180] and Stoic philosopher.
_Meditations_ Book VI, Number 6

If you live with a cripple, you will learn to limp.
--Plutarch (A.D. 46?—119?)
Greek philosopher and biographer.
_Moralia_ [c. 100], "The Education of Children"

Do as I say, not as I do.
--John Selden (1584—1654)
English historian.
_Table Talk_ [1689]

Anything Sam Cooke did I would do . . . apart from
getting shot in a hotel room by a hooker.
--Rod Stewart (1945— )
English singer and songwriter.
(In Raymond Obstfeld's _Jabberrock_ [1997], "Friends and Enemies"

Paradox though it may seem — and paradoxes are always dangerous
things — it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art
imitates life.
--Oscar Wilde (1854—1900)
Anglo-Irish dramatist and poet.
"The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue" in
_The Twentieth Century, vol. XXV [January-June 1889]

If I try to be like him, who will be like me?
--Yiddish Proverb


emulate (verb) ['em-yuh-leyt]
To imitate, to try to equal or do better than someone or something.

epigone [EP-uh-gohn], noun:
epigonic: adjective.
An inferior imitator, especially of some distinguished
writer, artist, musician, or philosopher.
Ex.: No novelist is dearer to me than Robert Musil. He died
one morning while lifting weights. When I lift them myself,
I keep anxiously checking my pulse, and I am afraid of dropping
dead, for to die with a weight in my hand like my revered author
would make me an epigone so unbelievable, frenetic and fanatical
as immediately to assure me of ridiculous immortality."
--Milan Kundera,

ersatz [AIR-sahts; UR-sats], adjective:
Being a substitute or imitation, usually an inferior one.
Meanwhile, a poor copy was erected in the courtyard; many
an unsuspecting traveler paid homage to that ersatz
--Edith Pearlman, "Girl and Marble Boy,"
_The Atlantic,_ [29 December 1999]

mimetic [mim-ET-ik], adjective:
1. Apt to imitate; given to mimicry; imitative.
2. Characterized by mimicry.
Ex.: It is as preposterous to believe that all entertainment is
hypodermic, directly injecting bad ideas into the innocent
bloodstream of the passive masses, as it is to pretend that
all behavior is mimetic and that our only models are Eliot
Ness or Dirty Harry.
--John Leonard,
"Smoke and Mirrors"



see: "YOUTH"

What I look forward to is continued
immaturity followed by death.
--Dave Barry (1947— )
American humorist.

It's not that age brings childhood back again,
Age merely shows what children we remain.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)
German poet, novelist, and playwright.
_Faust_ [1808-1832], "Prelude in the Theater"

Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men.
--Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard (1868—1930)
American humorist.


callow (adj.) ['kζ-lo]
Immature, inexperienced, having not
reached adulthood, as a callow youth.

jejune [juh-JOON], adjective:
1. Lacking in nutritive value.
2. Displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity; childish.
3. Lacking interest or significance; dull; meager; dry.

mardy (adj.) ['mahr-dee]
(Dialectal, slang) Spoilt, sulky, whinging (['win-jing]-that's "whining" to
North Americans). In the northern counties and Midlands of Great Britain,
and in Australia and New Zealand, it is also used to refer to someone
who's easily scared or upset.

unfledged [uhn-FLEJD], adjective:
1. Lacking the feathers necessary for flight.
2. Not fully developed; immature.

puerile (adj.) ['pwe-rκl or 'pwe-rIl]
Related to early childhood; juvenile, childish, immature.

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