Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Cause and Effect

The understanding of cause and effect, karma, may be one of the strongest links connecting Buddhism and science. The Buddhist teachings say, “Even the Buddha cannot change the law of karma.” This undermines superstitious views and creates a fertile ground for the scientific method. Going beyond the scientific, physical dimension, the scope of karmic consequence includes the psychological, social, political, ethical, and religious realms. The foundational attitude beneath most crime, selfish action, and cruelty seems to be a belief that we can get away with something, create harm externally without suffering any consequences. Although the Tao Te Ching seems to be mainly about freedom, letting go of all concepts and social restraints; a major theme is understanding consequences, karma. The sum of all karmic consequences—genetic and environmental, personal and cultural—create the present moment as well as a strong momentum pushing us in a particular direction. We can become aware of these influences and consciously shift this direction but that only creates more imprisoning, habitual momentum. Awareness deeply influences this momentum as well but without the imprisoning aftereffects.

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Quotes (135)

“No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come.”

Vyasa व्यास 1 via Bhagavad Gita
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

“Who is the wise man? He who sees what’s going to be born.”

King David 1000 – 920 BCE
"The baffled king composing Hallelujah!"
from Book of Psalms

“Justice, even if slow, is sure.”

Solon 638 – 558 BCE via Plutarch
Founder of Athenian democracy

“You may blame Aphrodite soft as she is, she has almost killed me with love for that boy”

Sappho 612 – 570 BCE
“The Poetess” and most famous Greek woman

“The vanity of success only brings to harvest a crop of calamities.”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Shan Dao
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought… if we speak or act with a pure thought, happiness follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth
from Dhammapada धम्मपद

“What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

64. Ordinary Mind

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

“When ten to one, surround them.
when five to one, attack them.
When two to one, do battle with them.
When matched, then divide them.
When fewer, then defend against them.
When inadequate, then avoid them.”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

“The force of necessity is irresistible.”

Aeschylus Αἰσχύλος 525 – 455 BCE
The Father of Tragedy
from Prometheus Vinctus

“But dwelling with the glorious gods in ease
A tearless life they pass,
Whose joy on earth it was
To keep their plighted word.”

Pindar Πίνδαρος 522 – 443 BCE
Archetype of poetry

“Cultivating shoots of goodness gives form to truthfulness that then burns bright influencing and transforming the people.”

Zisi 子思 481 – 402 BCE via Daniel K. Gardner, Shan Dao
(Kong Ji or Tzu-Ssu)
Confucius' grandson and early influence on Neo-Confucianism
from Doctrine of the Mean, Maintaining Perfect Balance, Zhongyong 中庸

“just because a man happens to be rich and eminent or pleasant-featured and attractive, he will not necessarily turn out to be wise and alert when placed in office... this will lead to ruin.”

Mozi 墨子 470 – 391 BCE via Burton Watson
Chinese personification of Newton, da Vinci, and Jesus
from Honoring the Worthy

“The man who is wronged suffers injury in body or in external things, while the man who does wrong injures his own soul.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE via Mortimer J. Adler
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

“With anything young and tender, the most important time is the beginning because that is the time when character is formed.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

52. Cultivating the Changeless

“That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill.”

Aristotle Ἀριστοτέλης 382 – 322 BCE
from Politics

“Do not let finely meshed nets be cast in ponds and lakes and the fish and turtles will be more than can be consumed; let axes enter the mountain groves only at the appropriate time and the timber will be more than can be used.”

Mencius 孟子 372 – 289 BCE via Daniel K. Gardner
from Book of Mencius 孟子

“To solve a problem, you need to remove the cause, not the symptom.”

Lie Yukou 列圄寇/列禦寇/列子 1 via Eva Wong
(Liè Yǔkòu, Liezi)
from Liezi "True Classic of Simplicity and Perfect Emptiness”

“The Tao gives birth to the beginning. One gives birth to yin and yang. Yin and yang give birth to the breath between them,the mixture of clear and turbid. These three breaths divide themselves into Heaven, Earth, and Humankind and together give birth to the ten thousand things.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

42. Children of the Way

“Good luck changes into bad and bad luck changes into good. The workings of events are beyond comprehension.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Lin Yutang
from Huainanzi

“If you seek what you don’t have, what you do have will be lost. If you cultivate what you already have, then what you want comes about.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
from Huainanzi

75. Greed

“I have examined the deeds and events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure, their rise and decay. I wished to examine into all that concerns heaven and man, to penetrate the changes of the past and present, completing all as the work of one family.”

Sima Qian 司馬遷 145 – 86 BCE via Burton Watson
(Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
Father of Chinese historians
from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

“He who exposes the faults of others endangers himself.”

Sima Qian 司馬遷 145 – 86 BCE via Burton Watson
(Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
Father of Chinese historians
from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

“Violence and injury enclose in their net all that do such things, and generally return upon him who began.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“what is created gives rise to it’s own function… Sight does not exist before the birth of the eyes, nor speech before the creation of the tongue.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE via Dryden
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“Happy the man, who, studying nature's laws,
Thro' known effects can trace the secret cause.”

Virgil 70 – 19 BCE via John Dryden
(Publius Vergilius Maro)
from Georgics (29 BC)

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Seneca ˈsɛnɪkə 4 BCE – 65 CE
(Lucius Annaeus)

“Return your sword to its place, for all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Saint Matthew
from New Testament Διαθήκη

“Purify your own hearts, and the world will become pure.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Didymos Thomas
from Gospel According to Thomas

28. Turning Back

“A man reaps what he sows.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Galatians 6:7 (tr: Saint Paul)
from New Testament Διαθήκη

“If you live with a lame man, you will learn to limp.”

Plutarch 46 – 120 CE
(Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“What hurts a person is not the occurrence itself—for another person might not feel oppressed by the situation at all. What hurts a person is the response they have uncritically adopted.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE via Sharon Lebell, Shan Dao

“I knew that good like bad becomes a routine, that the temporary tends to endure, that what is external permeates to the inside, and that the mask, given time, comes to be the face itself.”

Hadrian 76 – 180 CE

“Every disorder in the soul is its own punishment.”

Augustine ɔːɡəstiːn 354 – 430 CE
(Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Augustine of Hippo)

“Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.”

Jianzhi Sengcan 鑑智僧璨 529 – 606 CE
(Jiànzhì Sēngcàn)

80. A Golden Age

“When fools are in charge, wise men make no predictions.”

Hilda of Whitby 614 – 680 CE

“To live in nothingness is to ignore cause and effect; this chaos leads only to disaster.”

Yòngjiā Xuānjué 永嘉玄覺 665 – 713 CE
(Yung-chia Ta-shih; Yōka Genkaku; "The Overnight Guest")
from Song of Enlightenment 证道歌

“Those desiring to escape suffering hasten right toward it. With the very desire for happiness, out of delusion they destroy their own happiness as if it were an enemy.”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།། 685 – 763 CE via Alan Wallace
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)

“Following the meandering course of a thought can lead to madness; resist and karma is restrained.”

Udhilipa ཨུ་དྷི་ལི་པ། 1 via Keith Dowman
The Bird-Man
from Masters of Enchantment

“Without farming, harvests are difficult, without exertion, accomplishing a goal is difficult.”

Gesar of Ling གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ། 1 via Robin Kornman
from Gesar of Ling Epic

“No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come”

Su Shi 苏轼 1037 – 1101 CE
(Dongpo, Su Tungpo)
"pre-eminent personality of 11th century China"

“The heat of a candle flame can’t compete with the heat of the sun… When you grasp this, then all things will be your teacher.”

Yuanwu Keqin 圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135 CE via Thomas Cleary
(Yuánwù Kèqín)
from Zen Letters

34. An Unmoored Boat

“If those above take too much, those below will be impoverished. If those above use too much force, those below will rebel.”

Li Xizhai 1 via Red Pine
(Li Hsi-Chai)
from Tao-te-chen-ching yi-chieh

75. Greed

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will ever hear.”

Francis of Assisi 1181 – 1226 CE

70. Inscrutable

“The wise carefully contemplate before taking action; fools quickly act before thinking.”

Sakya Pandita ས་སྐྱ་པཎྜ་ཏ་ཀུན་དགའ་རྒྱལ་མཚན། 1182 – 1251 CE via John T. Davenport, Shan Dao #27
(Kunga Gyeltsen)
from Ordinary Wisdom, Sakya Legshe (Jewel Treasury of Good Advice)

“Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always.”

Dante 1265 – 1321 CE
(Durante degli Alighieri)

“Kissed lips don’t lose their fortune; but, on the contrary, like the moon, quickly renew themselves.”

Giovanni Boccaccio dʒoˈvanni bokˈkattʃo 1313 – 1375 CE via Shan Dao

“I punish them in order to make manifest the consequences of good and evil actions.”

Ming Taizu 明太祖 1328 – 1398 CE
(The Hongwu Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhan)
One of the most influential emperors in all of Chinese history

“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past. Human events always resemble those of earlier times because human nature doesn't change, people are always animated by the same passions and so produce the same results.”

Machiavelli 1469 – 1527 CE via Will Durant, Shan Dao
(Niccolò Machiavelli)
from The Prince

“Intemperance is naturally punished with disease, injustice with the violence of enemies, cowardice with oppression”

Thomas Hobbes 1588 – 1679 CE

“Better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about worrying them afterwards. Most think less of consequences than of excuses.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, Han Shan, chapter #151

“Leave your luck while still winning. A fine retreat is as good as a gallant attack…The higher the heap of luck, the greater the risk of a slip…Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, chapter #38

9. Know When to Stop

“Clear are the workings of cause and effect. You become deluded, but don't know it's something that you've done yourself... what's called self-centeredness.”

Bankei 盤珪永琢 1622 – 1693 CE
(Bankei Yōtaku)

“Careless handling of one item might bring harm to the whole world, a moment's carelessness damage all future generations.”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE via Jonathan D. Spence
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

“As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE
from Philosophical Dictionary

“I never doubted… that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteem’d the essentials of every religion.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

54. Planting Well

“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

“The same motives always produce the same actions; the same events follow from the same causes”

David Hume 1711 – 1776 CE
"One of the most important philosophers"
from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

“From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.”

Diderot 1713 – 1784 CE
from Encyclopédie

“There is absolutely not a single unavoidable reason why somebody else's action or some circumstance should produce a negative emotion in me. It is only my weakness.”

Diderot 1713 – 1784 CE

“Avarice and injustice are always shortsighted, and they did not foresee how much this regulation must obstruct improvement, and thereby hurt in the long-run the real interest of the landlord.”

Adam Smith 1723 – 1790 CE
''The Father of Economic Capitalism"
from Wealth of Nations

“The first step toward wisdom is to question everything - and the last is to accept everything.”

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742 – 1799 CE via Shan Dao
One of history’s best aphorists

“If you treat someone as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE

17. True Leaders

“The mystery of existence is the connection between our faults and our misfortunes.”

Madame de Staël 1766 – 1817 CE
(Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein)
"The greatest woman of her time"

“What a man is and has in himself is the only immediate and direct factor in his happiness and welfare.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE
from Wisdom of Life

“a man's deeds are merely the constantly repeated expression, somewhat varied in form, of his intelligible character”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE
from Works of Schopenhauer

“I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.”

Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882 CE

“it is in these acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made and say the earth bears no harvest of sweetness—calling their denial knowledge.”

George Eliot 1819 – 1880 CE
(Mary Anne Evans)
Pioneering literary outsider

from Middlemarch

“The actions of individuals are greatly affected by their moral feelings and passions; but these being antagonistic to the passions and feelings of other individuals, are balanced by them, so that their effect is, in the great average of human affairs, nowhere to be seen, and the total actions of mankind, considered as a whole, are left to be regulated by the total knowledge of which mankind is possessed.”

Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 – 1862 CE
from History of Civilization

“a hen is just an egg's way of making another egg”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

“The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.”

Ramakrishna 1836 – 1886 CE

“Free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. 1841 – 1935 CE
Game-changing Supreme Court Justice

“It has so little bond with externals... the ground of a man's joy is often hard to hit.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”
from Talks to Teachers on Psychology, 1899

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

“Words have a magical power capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men's actions. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE

“All wrong recoils upon the doer, and the man who makes wrong statements about others is himself to be pitied, not the man he vilifies.”

Elbert Hubbard 1856 – 1915 CE
from A Thousand and One Epigrams

“We are what we are because we have been what we have been.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE

“In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.”

Henri-Louis Bergson 1859 – 1941 CE

“The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.”

Henri-Louis Bergson 1859 – 1941 CE

“There are no rewards or punishments - only consequences.”

Dean Inge 1860 – 1954 CE
Christian mystic and philosopher

“Wisdom comes from disillusionment.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet
from Reason in Common Sense

“Suffering raises up truly great souls; it is only small souls that it makes mean-spirited.”

Alexandra David-Néel 1868 – 1969 CE

“If we take care of the means, we are bound to reach the end sooner or later. When once we have grasped this point, final victory is beyond question.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

“We tend to believe the premises because we can see that their consequences are true, instead of believing the consequences because we know the premises to be true.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

“Hitler is an outcome of Rousseau.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

“as in the past, so in the future, the wrong we have done, thought, or intended will wreak its vengeance on our souls.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“I began to think of reincarnation as a manifestation of stability amidst flux, of continuity in tradition, of intellectual life, of individual life that transcends time”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE

“You always know what results will come from one or another of your actions; but in a strange way you want to do one thing and get the result that could only come from another”

Ouspensky Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский 1878 – 1947 CE
(Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii)

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 CE

“In each of us, the entire history of the world is reflected. And however autonomous our soul, it is indebted to an inheritance worked upon it from all sides—before it came into being—by the totality of the earth's energies.”

Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955 CE via Bernard Wall, Shan Dao
from Divine Milieu

“Miracle butts against reality, makes a hole, and enters.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE via P. A. Bien
from Report to Greco

“If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE

74. The Great Executioner

“If a man have not order within him, he can not spread order about him”

Ezra Pound 1885 – 1972 CE
from Cantos

“In some existing tribes and probably in the earliest human groups, the physiological role of the male in reproduction appears to have escaped notice quite as completely as among animals who rut and mate and breed with happy unconsciousness of cause and effect.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Our Oriental Heritage

“In the end, nothing is lost. Every event, for good or evil, has effects forever.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE

80. A Golden Age

“history as man's rise from savagery to civilization—history as the record of the lasting contributions made to man's knowledge, wisdom, arts, morals, manners, skills—history as a laboratory rich in a hundred thousand experiments—history as our roots and our illumination, as the road by which we came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide us into the future... your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Fallen Leaves

“The Civil War is not ended: I question whether any serious civil war ever does end.”

T. S. Eliot 1888 – 1965 CE
from Milton (1947)

“You are looking for a cure while I am concerned with prevention. As long as their are causes, there must also be results... If you want peace and harmony in the world, you must first have peace and harmony in your hearts and minds.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj 1897 – 1981 CE
Householder guru of non-duality
from I Am That

“Nothing in the world has only one cause. When we speak of causality, we arbitrarily select one of the many causes namely the one which is the most obvious or nearest in time... the Buddha's conception was more profound and based on a reality far beyond the one-sided perspective assumed by our illusory ego.”

Anagarika​ (Lama) Govinda 1898 – 1985 CE via Shan Dao
(Ernst Hoffmann)
Pioneer of Tibetan Buddhism to the West

from Inner Structure of the I Ching

“Adam Smith was the first to perceive that we have stumbled upon methods of ordering human economic cooperation that exceed the limits of our knowledge and perception... We are led—for example by the pricing system in market exchange—to do things by circumstances of which we are largely unaware and which produce results that we do not intend.”

Friedrich Hayek 1899 – 1992 CE
from The Fatal Conceit (1988)

“We can never speak of cause and effect in an absolute way, but that an event is a cause of another event which is its effect, relative to some universal law. However, these universal laws are very often so trivial that as a rule we take them for granted instead of making conscious use of them.”

Karl Popper 1902 – 1994 CE
Major Philosopher of Science
from The Open Society and its Enemies

“The stages of developing awareness begin with blaming and then expand to a discovery that the transgressions were only a response to what others have done”

Gregory Bateson 1904 – 1980 CE

“Logic is a poor model of cause and effect.”

Gregory Bateson 1904 – 1980 CE
from Mind and nature: a necessary unity (1988)​

“Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover; we would remain the victims of its consequences forever.”

Hannah Arendt 1906 – 1975 CE
Fearless researcher into the darker reaches of the human psyche

“How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it everyday.Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I'm going to be inferior tomorrow, it's that simple.”

Jack LaLanne 1914 – 2011 CE

“The test of liberation is not whether it issues in good works; the test of good works is whether they issue in liberation.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE
from Psychotherapy East and West

“Mankind must put an end to war—or war will put an end to mankind.”

John Kennedy 1917 – 1963 CE
Modern America's most popular president

“...the only thing that continues is the consequences of our action.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

“When people don't understand that the government doesn't have their interests in mind, they're more susceptible to go to war.”

Howard Zinn 1922 – 2010 CE
Historian of the oppressed and defeated

“The latent function of schooling, the hidden curriculum, forms individuals into needy people... Our society doesn't only produce artifact things, but artifact people...How did it come about that such a crazy process like schooling would become necessary?... The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.”

Ivan Illich 1926 – 2002 CE
"an archaeologist of ideas"

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

“‘common sense’ is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of ghosts from the past.”

Robert M. Pirsig 1928 – 2017 CE
from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“We can only control the end by making a choice at each step—obscure admixtures, blends with no proper tool by which to untangle the components—… and we cannot do it all at once; it is a sequence, an unfolding process.”

Philip K. Dick 1928 – 1982 CE
Legendary consciousness provocateur
from Man in the High Castle,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 CE

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Martin Luther King Jr. 1929 – 1968 CE
Leading world influence for equality, peace, non-violence, and poverty alleviation

“In a matter of months we can cut down a rain forest that took tens of thousands of years to grow, but we are helpless in repulsing the desert that takes its place.”

James P. Carse 1932 – 2020 CE
Thought-proving, influential, deep thinker
from Finite and Infinite Games

“Did slavery in the world end because of people’s sense of injustice or only because it stopped being economically profitable? As technology evolves, unskilled labor becomes both less necessary and less valuable. As physical slavery organically ended in the world, mental slavery, true-believership, and wage slavery are rapidly ending now.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

Jane Goodall 1934 CE –

“If you live on the railroad tracks the train's going to hit you.”

Jim Harrison 1937 – 2016 CE
"untrammeled renegade genius”

“We can't expect a golden age... if we have a long period of time without a war, everyone will be effected by a depression; if we have a long period of economic high, everyone will just abuse themselves completely.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from A Buddhist Approach to Politics

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...”

Paul McCartney 1942 CE – via The End
(Sir James Paul McCartney)
from Abbey Road

“Probably the most visible example of unintended consequences, is what happens every time humans try to change the natural ecology of a place.”

Meg Wheatley 1944 CE –
Bringing ancient wisdom into the modern world.

“There is nothing more unstable than clinging to stability”

Paulo Lugari 1944 CE – via Alan Weisman

“You don't have to be stupid to marry the wrong man... Isn't that what love is—losing your mind? You don't see your beloved's faults... [but] when the anesthesia of love wears off, there is always the pain of consequences.”

Amy Tan 1952 CE –
Rock and roll singer, bartender, and insightfully talented author
from Saving Fish From Drowning

“Humans had made wolves more human, and thus dogs, and in that same time period wolves had made humans more wolfish, by teaching them pack behaviors.”

Kim Stanley Robinson 1952 CE –

“serial monogamy, de facto polygyny… the sort of country we already live in… is, in an important sense, the worst of all worlds… inequality among males is more socially destructive than inequality among women.”

Robert Wright 1957 CE –
from Moral Animal — Why we are the Way we Are

“Human beings are prediction machines... Our lives are permeated by decision-making that requires projecting our minds forward in time and considering the consequence of our actions.”

Roman Krznaric 1
Practical, popular, modern philosopher

from Carpe Diem Regained (2017)

“I used to think you became a star by having hits... No—you are a star first, therefore you have the hits.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –
from Utopia Avenue

“Everyone returns us to a different sense of ourselves, for we become a little of who they think we are.”

Alain de Botton 1969 CE –
Philosophic link between ancient wisdom and modern challenge
from On Love

“Aspects of our past are carried forth into each new moment. This is the nature of karma... Our activities today tend to conform to our ideas of who we think we were yesterday.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

from In Love with the World

“Why does all the bad stuff taste so good? Our bodies think we're still living in the Stone Age, and back then it made perfect sense to binge on sweet and fatty food.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Unstoppable Us (2022)

“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Sapiens

“If you enter Korea to avoid another China, and enter Vietnam to avoid another Korea, and enter Cambodia to avoid another Vietnam—at what point do you begin to worry that you are drawing lessons and inspiration from too shallow a pool of historical events?”

Deepak Malhotra 1
"Professor of the Year"

from Peacemaker's Code

“if we are serious about protecting the planet's resources, it is indispensable that we find it in ourselves to change our feelings toward and our habits of consumption.”

Karmapa XVII ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗ 1985 CE –
(Orgyen Thrinlay Dorje)
from Interconnected (2017)

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