What is the most important thing you could be working on in the world right now? ... And if you're not working on that, why aren't you?

— Aaron Swartz

The most passioned Aaron Swartz quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

With enough of us, around the world, we'll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge - we'll make it a thing of the past.


Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.


There is no justice in following unjust laws.


Real education is about genuine understanding and the ability to figure things out on your own; not about making sure every 7th grader has memorized all the facts some bureaucrats have put in the 7th grade curriculum.


But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground.

It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral - it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.


Books are totally useless unless you take their advice.

If you just keep reading them, thinking "that's so insightful! that changes everything," but never actually doing anything different, then pretty quickly the feeling will wear off and you'll start searching for another book to fill the void.


As the Internet breaks down the last justifications for a professional class of politicians, it also builds up the tools for replacing them.


Reality is painful -- it's so much easier to keep doing stuff you know you're good at or else to pick something so hard there's no point at which it's obvious you're failing -- but it's impossible to get better without confronting it.


There is no justice in following unjust laws.

It's time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.


Steadfastness is a noble quality, but unguided by knowledge or humility, it becomes rashness, or obstinacy.


I don’t want to be happy. I just want to change the world.


Now everyone has a license to speak, it’s a question of who gets heard.


About Aaron Swartz

Quotes 23 sayings
Profession Computer programmer
Birthday November 8, 1986

Being around some of the bright lights of the technology world and having them expect great things helps you sit down and do it seriously.


Creativity comes from applying things you learn in other fields to the field you work in.


Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.


No, you can’t force other people to change.

You can, however, change just about everything else. And usually, that’s enough.


Think deeply about things. Don’t just go along because that’s the way things are or that’s what your friends say. Consider the effects, consider the alternatives, but most importantly, just think.


The adults were completely wrong.


Life is short ... so why waste it doing something dumb?


What is "this drive"? It's the tendency to not simply accept things as they are but to want to think about them, to understand them. To not be content to simply feel sad but to ask what sadness means. To not just get a bus pass but to think about the economic reasons getting a bus pass makes sense. I call this tendency the intellectual.


But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.

The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You'll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.


Most people's major life changes don't come from reading an article in the newspaper; they come from reading longer-form essays or thoughtful books, which are much more convincing and detailed.