Quotes for All Moments
Accumulated at random by James Hayes-Bohanan
Updated November 30, 2008

Years ago, I started putting aphorisms about education, the environment, and life in general on my web site, in the form of a little program that would display one quote at a time, in a random order for each visitor. This program eventually became unreliable and a huge time sink, but I like the quotes. Simple is better, so here are some of my favorites. For a pithier selection, see my bumper sticker page.
Hall of Ideas
Quotes are always streaming in the Hall of Ideas at the Mary Baker Eddy library in Boston. Lunch at Quotes café features fair-trade organic coffee roasted in Vermont.

People are more alike than different.
    (Polus Center Principles)

The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

    (Marge Piercy, To be of use)

Wasting less is more patriotic than buying more.
    (Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, The True Patriot)

Our country, right or wrong ... when right to be kept right and when wrong to be put right.
(Sen. Carl Schurz, 1899)

In the end, we will conserve only what we love ..., we will love only what we understand ..., we will understand only what we are taught.
(Baba Dioum, Environmentalist from Dakar, Senegal)

… medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
(Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society. This line explains why I am a geographer -- geography is both a good way to make a living and a way to enjoy good living!)

The purpose of life is to be useful, responsible, honorable, and to be compassionate. It is above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to make some difference that you lived at all.
    (Leo Rosten)

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think."

What kills the skunk is the publicity it gives of itself.
    (Abraham Lincoln)

No one has a right to consume happiness without producing it.
    (Helen Keller)

You know, there are a lot of people who go straight from denial to despair, without pausing on the intermediate step of actually doing something about the problem [of global climate change].
    (Al Gore)

It is very difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
    (Upton Sinclair)

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom,
remove things every day.
    (Lao Tse)

People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.
    (Rebecca West)

Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: one is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell; the other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love."
    (Attributed to Butch Hancock, The Flatlanders; quoted in The Education of Shelby Knox)

We have religion when we have an abiding gratitude for all that we have received.
(Ralph Helverson, "Impassioned Clay," reprinted in Singing the Living Tradition)

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.
    (Hannah Moore)

Quality is the outside of an object, the inside of which is caring.
    (Paraphrased from Robert Pirsig)

Some men rob you with a six gun; others with a fountain pen.
    (Woody Guthrie)

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
    (William Butler Yeats)

This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no fooling around.
    (The Talking Heads)

Writing enables one to take ideas floating in the brain and give them a tangible existence.
    (Anonymous student)

Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read.
    (Abigail 'Dear Abby' Van Buren)

Good writing is the best evidence of clear thinking. Good writing is also hard work!
    (James Hayes-Bohanan)

The will to succeed is important, but what is more important is the will to prepare.
    (Bobby Knight)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
    (John Muir)

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

My favorite thing is to go where I have never gone.
    (Diane Arbus)

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.
    (Robert Louis Stevenson)

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
    (Henry David Thoreau)

Men have become the tools of their tools.
    (Henry David Thoreau)

Only the truly boring are ever bored.
    (Christopher Lydon, quoting his brother)

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
    (The Body Shop)

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
    (Earl Weaver, baseball manager)

The economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment.
    (Sen. Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day founder)

The best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them.
    (Gerald Belcher)

There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.
    (Ralph Nader)

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
    (William Henry Davies)

Follow your breathing, dwell mindfully on your steps, and soon you will find your balance.
    (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Good-bye, good luck, have fun, come back.
    (Pamela Hayes-Bohanan)

Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
    (George Burns)

Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
    (Arnold Toynbee)

..when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again.
    (William Beebe)

... one of the things the tyrant most cunningly engineers is the gross over-simplification of language, because propaganda requires that the minds of the collective respond primitively to slogans of incitement.
    (Geoffrey Hill, paraphrasing Theodor Haecker)

The most important thing to be said about awards is that Mozart never got one.

[For American consumer society], the country's reserves of ignorance constitute a natural resource as precious as the Mississippi River or the long-lost herds of buffalo.
    (Lewis H. Lapham)

There is a person you will not become if you do not take the next step.
    (BSC President Dr. Adrian Tinsley)

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
    (Albert Einstein)

Some people never learn anything because they understand everything too soon.
    (Alexander Pope)

Unless your professor has his or her name on the spine of the textbook, reading as a substitute for showing up for class is a losing proposition.
    (College Link)

Man's [sic] mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension.
    (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry. Two carefree days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday. ... and the other ... is Tomorrow.
    (Robert Jones Burdette)

We all get misinformation growing up about people who are different from ourselves.
    (Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum)

Not all who wander are lost.
    (J.R.R. Tolkien)

The bachelor's degree is not the end of the educational journey, but just another milestone.
    (Kenneth C Green)

Better to be hated for what one is, than loved for what one is not.
    (Andre Gide)

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs.
    (Elbert Hubbard)

What is man [sic] without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.
    (Chief Seathl, Duwamish Tribe -- though some dispute whether he ever actually said this)

Proposals that we should, as a species, switch to vegetarianism, stop riding in motor cars, or give up our television sets are greeted with horror equally by residents of Newton, Massachusetts, who live in ten-room houses and drive Jeep Cherokees, and by Pakistani farmers saving to buy their first motor bike.
    (Diana Muir, an author from Newton)

Thinking is a momentary dismissal of irrelevancies.
    (Buckminster Fuller)

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
    (Henry Miller)

Americans think nothing of criticizing other cultures and other societies for asking women to wear veils without a backward glance to those millions around the world who find capital punishment a lot more repugnant.
    (H.D.S. Greenway)

If there was no such thing as anything, what color was it?
    (Paloma Bohanan)

The conservation movement is a breeding ground of communists and other subversives. We intend to clean them out, even if it means rounding up every bird watcher in the country.
    (Former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell)

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
    (Niels Bohr)

I don't know if I want White America to remember or fortoget that Jesus Christ was the first non-violent revolutionary.
    (Niel Young)

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    (President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Education no doubt can be suggested in the classroom; but education happens in the library.
    (Princeton Professor John V. Fleming)

A man's library is a kind of harem.
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
    (Samuel Johnson)

Back to Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's Environmental Geography page.