Tim Longhurst's Blog

Progressive Quotes

November 17th, 2005 · 3 Comments

New ideas

“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”
-John Cage

“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The world will not be inherited by the strongest, it will be inherited by those most able to change.”
-Charles Darwin

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
-Will Rogers

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are just rearranging their prejudices.”
-William James

“The thought manifests as the word:
The word manifests as the deed:
The deed develops into habit:
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.”

Big Visions

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer

“By logic and reason we die hourly. By imagination we live.”
-John Butler Yeats

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold – brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”
-Archibald McLeish


“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
-Albert Einstein

“When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
-Jonathan Swift
Thoughts on Various Subjects

Advice to radicals

“You have to be the change you want to see in the world.”
-Mahatam Gandhi
Indian independence leader

“To be trully radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”
-Raymond Williams

“If you want to say something radical, you should dress conservative.”
Steve Biko
South African anti-apartheid activist, murdered in police custody

“The first duty of the revolutionary is to get away with it.”
-Abbie Hoffman
US Anti-Vietnam Campaigner

“I began revolution with 82 men. If I had [to] do it again, I’d do it with 10 or 15 of absolute faith.”
-Fidel Casto, Cuban revolutionary who ousted President Batista in 1959

“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
-Mahatma Gandhi
Indian independence leader

“Dare to be naive.”
-Buckminster Fuller


“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
-George Orwell
Social Commentator

“All great truths begin as blasphemies.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Fitting in

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society.”
-Jiddu Krishnamurti
Indian spiritual philosopher

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Nobody realizes that some people expend a tremendous amount of energy merely to be normal.”
-Albert Camus

“A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.”
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing


“Do it big or stay in bed.”
-Larry Kelly

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”
-Oscar Wilde

“If we don’t do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable.”
Petra Kelly
German politican, anti-nuclear activist and co-founder of the Green Party


“When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.”
-Dom Helder Camara
Radical Brazillian Catholic Priest


“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”
-Jean-Paul Sartre

“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.”
-David Friedman

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
-John F. Kennedy

Respect for the law

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty… to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is… expressing the very highest respect for law.”
-Dr Martin Luther King

Living and dying

“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you’ve got.”
-Janis Joplin

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are, if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”
-Joseph Campbell

“Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”
-Emiliano Zapata
Mexican revolutionary

“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when, You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now!”
-Joan Baez

“I will burn, but this is a mere incident. We shall continue our discussion in eternity.”
-Michael Servetus
Spanish physician and theologian, commenting to judges of the Inquisition after being condemned to the stake as a heretic


“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his posessions.”
Jesus of Nazareth
Rebellious Jewish prophet, champion of the oppressed, scourge of the rich, founder of Christianity

“The problem with the World Bank has to do with development – the spreading of Western over-consumption worldwide.”
-Herman Daly
US economist
Formerly of the World Bank

“In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves; the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.”
Ivan Illich
Austrian-born philosopher

“Our civilization is locked in the grip of an ideology – corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of this ideology leads to a worship of self-interst and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the ideas that don’t.
-John Raulston Saul
Canadian novelist, essayist and commentator


“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest of men will do the wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
-John Maynard Keynes

Making a difference

“People have power when other people think they have power.”
-Wyche Fowler

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
-Tenzin Gyatso,
Temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet

Lots of people

“Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith

Wealth and ownership

“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him whose.”
-Don Marquis

“The first man who, having fenced off a plot of land, thought of saying, ‘This is mine’ and found people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders, how many miseries and horrors might the human race had been spared by the one who, upon pulling up the stakes or filling in the ditch, had shouted to his fellow men: ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are lost if you forget the fruits of the earth belong to all and that the earth belongs to no one.'”
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau
French philosopher

Our connection with the Earth

“Only in the last moment in history has the delusion arisen that people can flourish apart from the rest of the living world.”
-E.O. Wilson

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.”
-Stewart Udall

“The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth.”
– Thomas Berry

“We who have a Voice must be a Voice for the Voiceless!”
-Oscar Romero,
El Salvadorean Archbishop of San Salvador who was assassinated for speaking out against government-sanctioned death squad activities.


“Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask; by whom has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?”
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsy


“Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.”
– Graham Greene

“Those who are ready to sacrifice freedom for security ultimately will lose both.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“People who are willing to give up freedom for the sake of short term security, deserve neither freedom nor security.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“When the people fear the government you have tyranny…when the government fears the people you have liberty.”
-Thomas Jefferson


“To understand everything
is to forgive everything”

Letting your light shine

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson (frequently quoted as Nelson Mandela)

The above progressive quotations are for rebels, radicals, revolutionaries and all people who believe in a healthy and sustainable world. If you’ve got a quote you like, add it as a comment below – I’ll incorporate my favourites into this page.

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Category: Guide to better living

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