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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus [Marcus Annius Verus] (121-180)
Philosopher and emperor of Rome (161-180) who wrote Meditations, a classic work of stoicism.

Marcus AureliusFrom Apollonius I learned freedom of will and undeviating steadiness of purpose; and to look to nothing else, not even for a moment, except to reason.
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book One)

I cannot comprehend how any man can want anything but the truth.
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

There is but one thing of real value -- to cultivate truth and justice, and to live without anger in the midst of lying and unjust men.
-- Marcus Aurelius, from W E H Lecky, History of European Morals (Vol I p. 106); quoted from Joseph Lewis The Ten Commandments (p. 572)

Hast thou reason? I have. -- Why then dost not thou use it? For if this does its own work, what else dost thou wish?
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Four)

Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt return to thy principles and the worship of reason.
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Four)

Always run to the short way; and the short way is the natural: accordingly say and do everything in conformity with the soundest reason. For such a purpose frees a man from trouble, and warfare, and all artifice and ostentatious display.
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Four)

If souls continue to exist, how does the air contain them from eternity?
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Four)

Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. But to go away from among men, if there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve thee in evil; but if indeed they do not exist, or if they have no concern about human affairs, what is it to me to live in a universe devoid of gods or devoid of Providence?
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Two)

Though thou shouldst be going to live three thousand years, and as many times ten thousand years, still remember that no man loses any other life than this which he now lives, nor lives any other than this which he now loses.
-- Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Book Two)

Never value anything as profitable to thyself which shall compel thee to break thy promise, to lose thy self-respect, to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything which needs walls and curtains.
-- Marcus Aurelius (source unknown, contributed by Victor Gijsbers)

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Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
English dramatist, poet

Christopher MarloweReligion hides many mischiefs from suspicion.
-- Christopher Marlowe: quoted from James A Haught, "Honest Minds, Past and Present" talk for History of Freethought conference Sept. 20-21, 1997, Cincinnati, Ohio sponsored by Council for Secular Humanism and Free Inquiry Group

Religion! O Diabole!
Fie, I am asham'd, however that I seem,
To think a word of such simple sound,
Of such great matter should be made the ground.
     -- Christopher Marlowe: the Duke of Guise, commenting on the misuse of religion as a source of power, in The Massacre of Paris, quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 30

I count religion but a childish toy,
And hold there is no sin but innocence.
     -- Christopher Marlowe: Baraba, in The Jew of Malta, "Prologue," quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 30

Short Graphic Rule

"I count religion but a childish toy,
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
"
     -- Modernized Variation, meaning basically the same thing, but not the actual words of Marlowe, quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

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Mehitabel the HousecatDon Marquis
American journalist, humorist; creator of Mehitabel the housecat, and Archy, a poet who had died and been reincarnated as a cockroach

An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it.
-- Don Marquis, New York Sun (1918?), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

Old godheads sink in space and drown
Their arks like foundered galleons sucked down.
-- Don Marquis, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

i once heard the survivors of a colony of ants that had been partially obliterated by a cow's foot seriously debating the intention of the gods towards their civilization
-- Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy"

that stern and rockbound coast felt like an amateur when it saw how grim the puritans that landed on it were5
-- Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy"
fff

i do not see why men sheould be so proud insects have the more ancient lineage according to the scientists insects were insects when man was only a burbling whatisit
-- Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy"

just as soon as the uplifters get a country reformed it slips into a nose dive
-- Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy"

warty bliggens, the toad
i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him
 
do not tell me
said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose
in the universe
the thought is blasphemy
 
a little more
conversation revealed
that warty bliggens
considers himself to be
the center of the said
universe
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens
 
to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored
 
ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me
-- Don Marquis, from Archy & Mehitabel

Give up the dream that Love may trick the fates
To live again somewhere beyond the gleam
Of dying stars, or shatter the strong gates
Some god has builded high; give up the dream.
-- Don Marquis, "Transient," quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Emma Martin (1812-51)
Early British Freethought Pamphleteer

There is yet another consideration which is fatal to the Christian religion, and that is its persecuting spirit. It calls in the aid of the Ecclesiastical and civil laws, and the iron hand of custom to condemn, and if possible to punish those who may express different opinions to its own.... Perish the cause which has no more rational argument in its favor than that which the stake or prison can supply!
-- Emma Martin, "A Few Reasons for Renouncing Christianity and Professing and Disseminating Infidel Opinions," excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 93

It never occurred to my mind, nor did any controversy ever suggest the thought, that possibly the bible itself might not be what it appeared.
-- Emma Martin, "A Few Reasons for Renouncing Christianity and Professing and Disseminating Infidel Opinions," excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 93

Who could have palmed such an immense imposture upon mankind? ... Just think of my astonishment when I found its doctrines, its crucifixion, its sacraments, its holy-days, &c., had been in the world thousands of years before the Christian era.
-- Emma Martin, excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 93-4

Religion, with an upward glancing eye, asks what there is above. Philosophy looks around her and seeks to make a happy home of earth. Religion asks what God would have her do: -- Philosophy, what nature's laws advise. Religion has never given us laws in which cruelty and vice may not be seen, but philosophy's pure moral code may be thus briefly stated: -- "Happiness is the great object of human existence..."
-- Emma Martin, "A Few Reasons for Renouncing Christianity and Professing and Disseminating Infidel Opinions," excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 94

I have, sir, children, whose happiness is dearer to me than my own, for they have, I hope, a longer term of existence before them than I can look for; the possession, therefore, of principles which, if they are false, would be so detrimental to their interests, must have been to me a matter of deep solicitude, not only because they must necessarily share in any odium which attaches to the name of their mother, but also because their education must be erroneous, and eternal happiness be risked by unbelief. Allow me, then, to ask you whether I, who became an Infidel after twelve years of study and practice of Christian principles; after seriously investigating the internal and external evidences of Christianity; after searching, as I have done, into the origin and principles of all religions; after making public profession of my disbelief, having so important a thing at stake as the welfare and happiness of my children think you, sir, that [the religious tract] "The Sinner's Friend" can overthrow the reasoning of years...?
-- Emma Martin, reply to a clerical friend who had insulted her by mailing her a religious tract called "The Sinner's Friend," from Underwood, Heroines of Freethought, pp. 235-236, excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 94

The person much inclined to ask God's assistance, learns to repose on the hope of its obtainment, instead of actively seeking the good desired by his own labour.
-- Emma Martin, "Prayer: The Food of Priestcraft and Bane of Common Sense," excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 100

Christians! shake off the supineness which your priests have created in you; dare to think for yourselves, nor suppose your God can be pleased with the sacrifice of your reason. The bended knee is not the attitude for study. Read the Bible with the eye of criticism nor of faith. Suspend your devotions, and reflect on the reception of your past petitions. Ask no more till they are granted.
-- Emma Martin, "Prayer: The Food of Priestcraft and Bane of Common Sense," excerpted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 100

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Michael Martin
Professor of Philosophy, Boston University

Michael MartinIf you look up "atheism" in a dictionary, you will probably find it defined as the belief that there is no God. Certainly many people understand atheism in this way. Yet many atheists do not, and this is not what the term means if one consider it from the point of view of its Greek roots. In Greek "a" means "without" or "not" and "theos" means "god." From this standpoint an atheist would simply be someone without a belief in God, not necessarily someone who believes that God does not exist. According to its Greek roots, then, atheism is a negative view, characterized by the absence of belief in God.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 463 (1990), quoted from Austin Cline, "Defining Atheism: Contemporary Atheists"

A case can be made that religious language is unverifiable and hence factually meaningless when it is used in a sophisticated and nonanthropomorphic way.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 77 (1990), quoted from Cliff Walker, "Introduction To Activistic Atheism" (2000)

The thesis that the sentences "God exists" and "God does not exist" are factually meaningless is only prima facie justified. This is so because a commonly accepted and fully developed theory of meaning is not yet available. Until one is, we must rest content with a partial theory and a partial justification.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 77 (1990), quoted from Cliff Walker, "Introduction To Activistic Atheism" (2000)

Could it not be said that it is improbable that we would have a universe in which life arose anywhere? One answer that might be given is that we do not know whether it is improbable or not. Judgments about a priori probabilities in such cases are arbitrary, and we have no evidence in this case of any relevant empirical probabilities.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 132. (1990), quoted from Internet Infidels

Religious experiences are like those induced by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, and sleep deprivation: They tell no uniform or coherent story, and there is no plausible theory to account for discrepancies among them.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 159 (1990), quoted from Internet Infidels

Religious experiences in one culture often conflict with those in another. One cannot accept all of them as veridical, yet there does not seem to be any way to separate the veridical experiences from the rest.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 159 (1990), quoted from Internet Infidels

Since experiences of God are good grounds for the existence of God, are not experiences of the absence of God good grounds for the nonexistence of God? After all, many people have tried to experience God and have failed. Cannot these experiences of the absence of God be used by atheists to counter the theistic argument based on experience of the presence of God?
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 159 (1990), quoted from Internet Infidels

CS Lewis is certainly right to suppose that in considering the question of whether miracles exist there is a danger that one will appear to a priori arguments and assumptions. But the solution to this problem is not to decide on naturalism or supernaturalism beforehand. Rather, one must attempt to reject the a priori arguments and instead base one's position on inductive considerations. Lewis has not shown that this is impossible. Thus he has not shown that one must choose between naturalism and supernaturalism before investigating the possibility of miracles.
-- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 193 (1990), quoted from Internet Infidels

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Harriet Martineau (1802-76)
British author, philosopher, and the first sociologist: 'A free rover on the broad, bright breezy common of the universe'

Harriet MartineauAs the astronomer rejoices in new knowledge which compels him to give up the dignity of our globe as the centre, the pride, and even the final cause of the universe, so do those who have escaped from the Christian mythology enjoy their release from the superstition which fails to make them happy, fails to make them good, fails to make them wise, and has become as great an obstacle in the way of progress as the prior mythologies which it took the place of two thousand years ago.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. ii, p. 45-46, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 52-53

I would not exchange my freedom from old superstition, if I were to be burned at the stake next month, for all the peace and quiet of orthodoxy, if I must take the orthodoxy with peace and quiet.
-- Harriet Martineau, letter to Mr. Atkinson, February, 1848, from Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 47

I hope and believe my co-religionists understand and admit that I disclaim their theology in toto, and that by no twisting of language or darkening of its meanings can I be made to have any thing whatever in common with them about religious matters.... they must take my word for it that there is nothing in common between their theology and my philosophy.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, p. 16, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 47

Religion is a temper, not a pursuit.
-- Harriet Martineau, Society in America, vol. 3, "Women" (1837), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

The clergy complain of the enormous spread of bold books, from the infidel tract to the latest handling of the miracle question.
-- Harriet Martineau, revealing the popularity of "infidel tracts" and other Freethought literature, quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 16

My business in life has been to think and learn, and to speak out with absolute freedom what I have thought and learned. The freedom is itself a positive and never-failing enjoyment to me, after the bondage of my early life.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, pp. 101-102, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 48

There is no theory of a God, of an author of nature, of an origin of the Universe, which is not utterly repugnant to my facilities; which is not (to my feelings) so irrelevant as to make me blush; so misleading as to make me mourn.
-- Harriet Martineau, On the Laws of Man's Nature and Development (1846), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 48-49

I certainly had no idea how little faith Christians have in their own faith till I saw how ill their courage and temper can stand any attack on it.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, p. 16, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 49

The lesson taught us by these kindly commentators on my present experience is that dogmatic faith compels the best minds and hearts to narrowness and insolence.
-- Harriet Martineau, regarding a Christian who, upon hearing of her fatal disease, sent her a copy of the New Testament and had "the modesty to intimate that I ought not be happy," from Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, p. 16, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 49

My own feeling of concern arises from seeing how much moral injury and suffering is created by the superstitions of the Christian mythology.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. ii, p. 110, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 49

I certainly never believed, more or less, in the "essential doctrines" of Christianity, which represent God as the predestinator of men to sin and perdition, and Christ as their rescuer from that doom. I never was more or less behuiled by the trickery of language by which the perdition of man is made out to be justice, and his redemption to be mercy.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, pp. 30-31, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 50

It is clear however that a Christianity which never was received as a scheme of salvation, -- which never was regarded as essential to salvation, -- which might be treated, in respect to its records, at the will and pleasure of each believer, -- which is next declared to be independent of its external evidences, because those evidences are found to be untenable, -- and which is finally subjected in its doctrines, as in its letter, to the interpretation of each individual, -- must cease to be a faith, and become a matter of speculation, of spiritual convenience, and of intellectual and moral taste.... But at length I recognised the monstrous superstition in its true character of a great fact in the history of the race, and found myself, with the last link of my chan snapped, -- a free rover on the broad, bright breezy common of the universe.
-- Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. i, pp. 85-89, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 51-52

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Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-83)
German political theorist, social philosopher

Karl Marx[Excerpt]
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
-- Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Preface (1844)

[Passage]
For Germany, the criticism of religion has been essentially completed, and the criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticism.
     The profane existence of error is compromised as soon as its heavenly oratio pro aris et focis [“speech for the altars and hearths,” or, as English Speakers might say, “for God and country”] has been refuted. Man, who has found only the reflection of himself in the fantastic reality of heaven, where he sought a superman, will no longer feel disposed to find the mere appearance of himself, the non-man [Unmensch], where he seeks and must seek his true reality.
     The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
     Religious
suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. [1]
     The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
     Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.
     It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.
-- Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, (1844)

1. In the 19th century, opium was widely used for medical purposes as a painkiller, and did not connote a delusionary state of consciousness. Thus it is in the sense of making suffering bearable, not the sense of a drug-induced delusion that Marx uses the term here. Possible misunderstanding is promoted in some translations which render this phrase as the “opium for the people” rather than “of ” the people. — MIA editors.

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George Mason (1725-92)
American statesman

George MasonThat religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love, and charity towards each other.
-- George Mason, Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

[I]t is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join, and from which they can derive no benefit; for remedy whereof, and that equal liberty as well religious as civil, may be universally extended to all the good people of this commonwealth.
-- George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776; from Pamela Copeland and Richard MacMaster, The Five George Masons: Patriots and Planters of Virginia and Maryland, (1989), p. 176, quoted from Freethought Web, "The Words of Our American Founding Fathers"

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Jackie Mason
Jewish comic

Jackie MasonLife has no meaning beyond this reality. But people keep searching for excuses. First there was reincarnation. Then refabrication. Now there's theories of life after amoebas, after death, between death, around death. Now you come back as a shirt, as a pair of pants. If Shirley MacLaine tells some brilliant guy, "There's an ethereal planet that sits right next to a delicatessen in Ethiopia and if you go shop there twice a day, you'll live forever," this putz believes it because he needs an answer from somebody. People call it truth, religion; I call it insanity, the denial of death as the basic truth of life. "What is the meaning of life?" is a stupid question. Life just exists. You say to yourself, "I can't accept that I mean nothing so I have to find the meaning of life so that I shouldn't mean as little as I know I do." Subconsciously you know you're full of shit. I see life as a dance. Does a dance have to have a meaning? You're dancing because you enjoy it.
-- Jackie Mason, The Meaning of Life (1991)

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Thomas Gerald Massey (1828-1907)
Egyptologist

Gerald MasseyThey must find it difficult... Those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.
-- Gerald Massey, quoted from the film Zeitgeist (2007)

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Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950)
American lawyer-turned-poet and Constitutional scholar; anti-imperialist who even opposed the Spanish-American War, blamed our seizure of the Philippines for making it almost impossible to remain neutral during the First World War, and wrote the plays Maximilian (1902) and Manila (1930)

Edgar Lee MastersMany books have been written to show that Christianity has emasculated the world, that it shoved aside the enlightenment and wisdom of Hellas for a doctrine of superstition and ignorance.
-- Edgar Lee Masters, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

   The Typical American?
      He is sent to school
      Little or much, where he imbibes the rule
      Of safety first and comfort; in his youth
      He joins the church and ends the quest of truth.
        -- Edgar Lee Masters, The Great Valley (1916), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

Short Graphic Rule

Poem about Robert Green Ingersoll

    Poem for R G Ingersoll
       He stripped off the armor of
          institutional friendships
       To dedicate his soul
       To the terrible deities
          of Truth and Beauty.
            -- Edgar Lee Masters, quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

Short Graphic Rule

Poems about Clarence Darrow

    Clarence Darrow
       This is Darrow,
       Inadequately scrawled, with his young, old heart,
       And his drawl, and his infinite paradox
       And his sadness, and kindness,
       And his artist sense that drives him to shape his life
       To something harmonious, even against the schemes of God.
            -- Edgar Lee Masters (1922), quoted from The Clarence Darrow Home Page

    On a Bust
       A giant as we hoped, in truth, a dwarf;
       A barrel of slop that shines on Lethe's wharf',
       Which at first seemed a vessel with sweet wine
       For thirsty lips. So down the swift decline
       You went through sloven spirit, craven heart
       And cynic indolence. And here the art
       Of molding clay has caught you for the nonce
       And made your shame our shame -- Your head in bronze!
            -- Edgar Lee Masters (1916), quoted from The Clarence Darrow Home Page

    Darrow 2 (unpublished)
       This is a man with an old face, always old...
       There was pathos, in his face, and in his eyes.
       The early weariness; and sometimes tears in his eyes,
       Which he let slip unconsciously on his cheek,
       Or brushed away with an unconcerned hand.
       There were tears for human suffering, or for a glance
       Into the vast futility of life,
       Which he had seen from the first, being old
       When he was born.
            -- Edgar Lee Masters (1922), quoted from The Clarence Darrow Home Page

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William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
British novelist, short-story writer, playwright

Somerset MaughamNo egoism is so insufferable as that of the Christian with regard to his soul.
-- Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook (1949), entry for 1901, quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

I thought it was only in revealed religion that a mistranslation improved the sense.
-- Somerset Maugham, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

I cannot believe in a God that has neither honor nor common sense.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1938), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

The mystic sees the ineffable, and the psychopathologist the unspeakable.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (1919), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations

You know, of course, that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Bread-Winner (1930), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

What mean and cruel things men do for the love of God.
-- Somerset Maugham, A Writers Notebook, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, ch. 73 (1938), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Suffering did not ennoble; it degraded. It made men selfish, mean, petty and suspicious. It absorbed them in small things ... it made them less than men.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, ch. 19 (1938). Maugham was writing of his experiences as a medical student and the suffering he witnessed then. Quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations.

Somerset MaughamHypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practised at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.
-- Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale (1930), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

Tolerance is only another name for indifference.
-- Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook (1949), entry for 1896, quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

What does democracy come down to? The persuasive power of slogans invented by wily self-seeking politicians.
-- Somerset Maugham, Christmas Holiday (1939), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

Somerset MaughamThrough the history of the world there have always been exploiters and exploited. There always will be ... because the great mass of men are made by nature to be slaves, they are unfit to control themselves, and for their own good need masters.
-- Somerset Maugham, Christmas Holiday (1939), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

A dictator ... must fool all the people all the time and there's only one way to do that, he must also fool himself.
-- Somerset Maugham, "Stranger in Paris," quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

The artist can within limits make what he likes of his life.... It is only the artist, and maybe the criminal, who can make his own.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1938), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

Somerset Maugham The arguments for immortality, weak when you take them one by one, are no more cogent when you take them together.... For my part, I cannot see how consciousness can persist when its physical basis has been destroyed, and I am too sure of the interconnection of my body and my mind to think that any survival of my my consciousness apart from my body would be in any sense a survival of myself.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1925), p. 275, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Now the answer ... is plain, but it is so unpalatable that most men will not face it. There is no reason for life and life has no meaning.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1938), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

I am sick of this way of life. The weariness and sadness of old age make it intolerable. I have walked with death in hand, and death's own hand is warmer than my own. I don't wish to live any longer.
-- Somerset Maugham, quoted in, Familiar Medical Quotations (M B Strauss; 1964), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.
-- Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (1938), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

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Maximilian I (1459-1519)
Roman emperor and German king

Since Christendom comprehends only a small part of the globe, should not everyone who believes in God be saved by his own religion?
-- Maximilian I, letter to Abbot Tritemius (1508), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

The King of France is called the Most Christian King, but this does him an injustice, for he never did a Christian thing.... The Pope is called His Holiness but he is the biggest scoundrel on earth.
-- Maximilian I, letter to Henry VIII of England, according to Martin Luther, Table Talk (1542), quoted from George Seldes, editor, The Great Thoughts (1985)

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James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
British physicist who pioneered the the connection between light and electromagnetic waves

James Clerk MaxwellIf we are ever to discover the laws of nature, we must do so by obtaining the most accurate acquaintance with the facts of nature, and not by dressing up in philosophical language the loose opinions of men who had no knowledge of the facts which throw most light on these laws. And as for those who introduce ethereal or other media to account for these actions, without any direct evidence of the existence of such media, or any clear understanding of how the media do their work, and who fill all space three and four times over with aethers of different sorts, why the less these men talk about their philosophical scruples about admitting action at a distance the better.
-- James Clerk Maxwell, quoted from Victor J Stenger, Physics And Psychics

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Michael May
Texas journalist and social commentator

Unlike evolution, intelligent design can't be tested or demonstrated experimentally, because it presumes what it purports to prove -- so it's really no more scientific than its threadbare cousin, creationism.
-- Michael May, "Ignorant Design at the SBOE ([Texas] State Board of Education)" (The Austin, [Texas], Chronicle: July 18, 2003)

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Ernst Mayr (b. 1904)
Harvard science educator

Ernst MayrEvolution, as such, is no longer a theory for a modern author. It is as much a fact as that the earth revolves around the sun.
-- Ernst Mayr, quoted from the table of contents for Impact Press (December 1999-January 2000)

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The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea

Please Feel Free
to Grab a Quote
(or Maybe Three)

Grab some quotes to embellish your web site,
to use as filler for your group's newsletter,
or to add force to your Letters to the Editor.

Use them to introduce the chapters of a book or
accent the index or margins of a special project.

Poster your wall!    Graffiti your (own) fence.
Sticker your car!!
Poster your wall.    Graffiti your (own) fence!!!

That's what this list is for!
That's why I made it!

In using this resource, however, keep in mind that
it's someone's life's work, a hedge against old age.

If you decide to build your own online
collection, then find some new material!
Dig up quips that haven't yet been posted!

 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 
 

Biographical sketches, source citations, notes, critical editing, layout, and HTML formatting are copyright ©1995–2010, by Cliff Walker, except where noted.

 
 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 

There's something to be said
for doing your own work.

 

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