View Full Version : Quotes for the non-religious

09 Jun 2015, 09:26
So, my kids do "homework" in the summer...in the homeschooling community, there's a type of work known as "copywork and recitation"--they copy quotes from speeches, literature, etc and memorize them to the point where they can quote them. Most homeschooling families (being Christian, and usually of the more strict sort of Christian) use the Bible, not leaving much guidance for non-Christians. I generally use more science, nature, etc stuff, quotes on morality or life philosophy without a religious bent. The kids get a different quote every few days to practice writing, they look up unknown words, we talk about the meaning and context of the quote, we learn about the source and author of the quote, and they practice diction and expression while reading/reciting, etc.

Anyway...some pertinent quotes I've come across for this section of the forum (some of which are in their summer list)...

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”
― Isaac Asimov

A book is made from a tree. It is anassemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprintedwith dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice ofanother person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across themillennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head,directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, bindingtogether people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Booksbreak the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic. ~Carl Sagan

I have a friendwho's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with verywell. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," andI'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is butyou as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and Ithink that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees isavailable to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quiteas refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower.At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I couldimagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have abeauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter;there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also theprocesses. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attractinsects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see thecolor. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lowerforms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which thescience knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of aflower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts. ~Richard P. Feynman

(I have more to add, but I have to do some stuff)

B. de Corbin
09 Jun 2015, 09:38
I love the Feynman quote. Knowledge never diminishes aesthetic appreciation, it only increases.

You see that same "fear" in people who don't want to know about genes and hormones, and their connection to love and/or hate. But the emotion is still there, it doesn't evaporate, and it is fully experienced by the one who is affected. A certain depth is added, though, via knowledge, which I can describe as "splendid," or "awesome."

24 Oct 2015, 16:21
Sorry ... Had to bump this because of Feynman quote ... We each see beauty (as we as everything else) in our own ways ...