I’ve no responsibilities in the world except friends and students and cherishing the life of the world — and the belief that there is enough love to go round.


The Courage to Be

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

There is no wealth. All that we have are gifts from the past and loans from the future.

Three false perceptions from which our social and environmental problems stem: The perception that humankind is separate from nature, and that it must control, conquer or manipulate nature according to human desires. The perception that fellow humans are not our fellows; the tendency to focus on the differences between us rather than the common ground. The perception that happiness is dependent on gaining and keeping an abundance of material possessions.

Address to the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions

Greed kills as surely as hatred.


The kammic consequences of action based on greed are as devastating as those based on war and conflict. Greed is the urge to take more than one needs, an urge that rather than quelling desire propagates and increases it.


As people do better, they start voting like Republicans, unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.

Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.

You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young ones carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub.

I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.

Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.

It had never occurred to me before that music and thinking are so much alike. In fact you could say music is another way of thinking, or maybe thinking is another kind of music.

Only the educated are free.

I am not a Marxist.

The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.

In the binary system we count on our fists instead of on our fingers.

What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world.

Pure mathematics is the world's best game. It is more absorbing than chess, more of a gamble than poker, and lasts longer than Monopoly. It's free. It can be played anywhere - Archimedes did it in a bathtub.

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.

I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.


What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.


Infinity is a floorless room without walls or ceiling.

One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulas have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers...

Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?

With my full philosophical rucksack I can only climb slowly up the mountain of mathematics.

We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans.

But let us begin. Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need – not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”- a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes [Kurds and Iraqis].

No one is so poor as an ignorant person.

You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.


The man ignorant of mathematics will be increasingly limited in his grasp of the main forces of civilization.

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.

When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.

The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.


Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.


One watches them on the seashore, all the people, and there is something pathetic, almost wistful in them, as if they wished their lives did not add up to this scaly nullity of possession, but as if they could not escape. It is a dragon that has devoured us all: these obscene, scaly houses, this insatiable struggle and desire to possess, to possess always and in spite of everything, this need to be an owner, lest one be owned. It is too hideous and nauseating. Owners and owned, they are like the two sides of a ghastly disease.

Judge a person by their questions rather than their answers.

If you go to sleep dreading tomorrow, you will wake up dreading today!

Whoever in debate quotes authority uses not intellect, but memory.

You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness.

I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.

Live your life as you would have others live theirs.

It's never too late to be what you might have been.

While reforms are gradually taking hold, the majority of classrooms still rely on a traditional mathematics curriculum, that, as one cynical observer remarked, is largely composed of eight years of 15th century arithmetic, two years of 17th century algebra and one year of 3rd century BCE geometry.

I know that two and two make four - & should be glad to prove it too if I could - though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 & 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure.

A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars. That's subtraction.