"Audentes Fortuna iuvat” ("Fortune favours the bold") - Virgil's Aeneid / Alexander the Great Quotes (The sound bites of great teachers): These say much about me, or at least much about my sympathies and inclinations, and are said, in the most part, by those who can 'say' things with more grace and pertinence than I could hope to muster. "The first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone"- Martin Amis "There's nothing like that eureka moment, when you discover something no one knew before; I won't compare it to sex, but it lasts longer"- Stephen Hawking"I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was unexplored ..."- David Attenborough"Love-life is a rather grandiose term for staring at women on the bus"- Mark (David Mitchell, Peep Show)"Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal" - Charles Darwin"Aquinas believed that every single sperm contained a micro-embryo inside it. Thus, hand-jobs would be genocide. As for blow-jobs, don't start." - Christopher Hitchens"Alright"- Karl Pilkington "I celebrate Christmas ... People say you shouldn't even say the word Christmas because it's got Christ in it; I go, I say the word Thursday and it's got 'Thor' in it" - Ricky Gervais"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"- Christopher Hitchens"We are walking archives of ancestral wisdom. Our bodies and minds are live monuments to our forebears' rare successes. This Darwin has taught us." - Helena Cronin"“We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” - FDR"What is more likely? That the laws of nature have been suspended in your favour, and in a way that you approve, or, that you have made a mistake" - Christopher Hitchens"I was born into a world of just under two billion people. Today there are nearly seven billion of us ... We are at a crossroads where we can choose to cooperate or carry on regardless. Can our intelligence save us? I hope so.." - David Attenborough"The atoms and molecules in your body are traceable to the crucibles in the centres of stars, that manufactured these elements over its lifespan; went unstable in death, exploding its enriched guts across the galaxy, scattering it into gas clouds that would ultimately collapse and make a star, and have the right ingredients to make planets, and people.Which means we are part of this universe: Not only are we part of the universe but the universe is in us. - Neil deGrasse Tyson“She's got no charisma of any kind [but] I can imagine her being mildly useful to a low-rank porn director.” ― Christopher Hitchens, (on Sarah Palin)"A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic."- Carl Sagan“A lot of conspiracy theorists find it comforting, secretly. The idea of the Illuminati and the CIA and whoever controlling our lives and destinies. You know, because that means that at least someone is in control, at least someone is at the steering wheel. And it’s not a runaway train. Paranoia is a security blanket, a massive security blanket. Whereas I think that yes these people do try to have an influence, and they often do have a very big influence; the CIA’s unique method of funding its wars over the last thirty years has contributed to the crippling drug problems of most of the Western world. So, yes they have an effect. Do they control our destinies? No, they don’t. They are nowhere near that powerful or organised. Does anything human control our destinies? No. Does this mean that God does? No, for all I know, God might just be a simple, two-line, iterative equation, with no more awareness of itself than that.”- Alan Moore "Who do you think you are? You are an ape. A mammal, a reptile, a fish, a worm, a ball of cells. And finally, a single cell floating in the saline womb of the primordial seas." - Ernst Haeckel"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.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."- Karl Marx "We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born...The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?"- Richard Dawkins"Science doesn’t concern itself with the non-existence of something. The periodic table of imaginary things would be too big for a classroom- infinitely big in fact, and rather pointless."- Ricky Gervais"How might a decalogue look if it were written for the twenty-first century?I never quite trust myself in starting a sentence by saying, 'thou shalt not', but nevertheless, let's see if we can adapt this famous question...Number One: Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or colour. Number Two: Do not even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves. Three: Despise those who use violence, or the threat of it, in sexual relations.Number Four: Hide your face and weep, if you dare to harm a child. Number Five: Do not condemn people for their inborn nature; why would God create so many homosexuals, in order to torture and destroy them?Number Six: Be aware that you too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature; try and think and act accordingly. Number Seven: Don't imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospectus, rather than with a knife. Number Eight: Turn off that ^#!^ING cellphone; you have no idea how UNimportant your call is to us. Number Nine: Denounce all jihadists and crusades for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repressions. Number Ten: Be ready to denounce any god, or any faith, if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above. In short, don't swallow your moral code in 'tablet' form." - Christopher Hitchens"Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered."-Stephen Jay Gould"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."—Carl Sagan"Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made; a clock, without a craftsman"- Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen "Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good”- Thomas Paine "The world is a fine place, and worth the fighting for" - Ernest Hemingway 'Four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world, four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive... this is the story of how a few of them, came to be, as they are.' -- David Attenborough ' For he did not wish tribute, nor song, nor monuments, nor poems of war and valour. His wish was simple “Remember us”, he said to me. That was his hope, Should any free soul come across that place, In all the countless centuries yet to be, May all our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones, "Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here by Spartan law, we lie." ' - Dilios delivering King Leonidas' message ---- "A good conversationalist listens to what others are saying, instead of waiting for their own turn to speak" ---------- 'For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled... and so civilisation is built on the backs of a billion wretched and forgotten peoples".