Quotes (1)

  • The most wonderful discovery made by scientists is science itself." [1977] "Dissent is the mark of freedom. And as originality and independence are private needs for the existence of a science, so dissent and freedom are its public needs. The safeguards which it must offer are apparent: free inquiry, free thought, free speech, tolerance. These freedoms of tolerance have never been notable in a dogmatic society, even when the dogma was Christian. Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetimes." "I grew up to be indifferent to the distinction between literature and science, which in my teens were simply two languages for experience that I learned together." "It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance." en during _The Ascent of Man (1973)_ in a scene filmed at a Nazi death camp] "You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. . . it will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life." [October 1968] "Sooner or later every one of us breathes an atom that has been breathed before by anyone you can think of who has lived before us - Michelangelo or George Washington or Moses." [October 1968] "I had blundered into this desolate landscape as instantly as one might wake among the craters of the Moon. The moment of recognition when I realized that I was already in Nagasaki is present to me as vividly as when I lived it." [upon the horrors of visiting Nagasaki after the U.S. dropped the bomb upon that city] "When you and I recall the past, we imagine it in this direct and homely sense. The tool that puts the human mind ahead of the animal is imagery. For us, memory does not demand the preoccupation that it demands in animals, and it lasts immensely longer, because we fix it in images or other substitute symbols." "Animals do not have words, in our sense: there is no specific center for language in the brain of any animal, as there is in the human being. In this respect at least we know that the human imagination depends on a configuration in the brain that has only evolved in the last one or two million years. In the same period, evolution has greatly enlarged the front lobes in the human brain, which govern the sense of the past and the future; and it is a fair guess that they are probably the seat of our other images. (Part of the evidence for this guess is that damage to the front lobes in primates reduces them to the state of Hunter's animals.) If the guess turns out to be right, we shall know why man has come to look like a highbrow or an egghead: because otherwise there would not be room in his head for his imagination." " . . . the human gift is the gift of imagination - and that is not just a literary phrase." "Almost everything that we do that is worth doing is done in the first place in the mind's eye." "Seeing is believing. Yet seeing is also imagining." "I doubt if there is much to choose here between science and the arts: the imagination is not much more free, and not much less free, in one than in the other. All great scientists have used their imagination freely, and let it ride them to outrageous conclusions without crying "Halt!