I have suffered a great deal from writers who have quoted this or that sentence of mine either out of its context or in juxtaposition to some incongruous matter which quite distorted my meaning, or destroyed it altogether.

— Alfred North Whitehead

The most sensual Alfred North Whitehead quotes that will transform you to a better person

The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of 'independent existence.' There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.

75

If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you;

but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.

71

There are no whole truths: All truths are half-truths.

70

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.

70

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.

68

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.

The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.

64

...the self-satisfied dogmatism with which mankind at each period of its history cherishes the delusion of the finality of existing modes of knowledge.

54

Religion is the last refuge of human savagery.

54

Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophic thought has done its best, the wonder remains.

52

Symbolism is no mere idle fancy or corrupt degeneration: it is inherent in the very texture of human life.

34

From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery.

34

True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.

27

About Alfred North Whitehead

Quotes 327 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Mathematician
Birthday October 16

We think in generalities, but we live in detail.

26

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.

25

Speech is human nature itself, with none of the artificiality of written language.

25

God is in the world, or nowhere, creating continually in us and around us.

Insofar as man partakes of this creative process does he partake of the divine, of God, and that participation is his immortality.

23

In a sense, knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows, for details are swallowed up in principles. The details for knowledge which are important, will be picked up ad hoc in each avocation of life, but the habit of the active utilization of well-understood principles is the final possession of WISDOM.

21

I put forward as a general definition of civilization, that a civilized society is exhibiting the five qualities of Truth, Beauty, Adventure, Art, Peace.

20

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

18

Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of life is to grasp as much as we can out of that infinitude.

17

Wisdom alone is true ambition's aim, wisdom is the source of virtue and of fame;

obtained with labour, for mankind employed, and then, when most you share it, best enjoyed.

17

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience.

16

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.

15

Ninety percent of our lives is governed by emotion.

Our brains merely register and act upon what is telegraphed to them by our bodily experience. Intellect is to emotion as our clothes are to our bodies; we could not very well have civilized life without clothes, but we would be in a poor way if we had only clothes without bodies.

15

Inventive genius requires pleasurable mental activity as a condition for its vigorous exercise

15

The chief error in philosophy is overstatement.

15

It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious.

15

It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.

12

Algebra is the intellectual instrument which has been created for rendering clear the quantitative aspects of the world.

12

In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defeat, but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress toward a victory.

12

The pursuit of mathematics is a divine madness of the human spirit.

12

Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language.

12

It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

11

Without adventure civilization is in full decay.

11

Thus the negative perception is the triumph of consciousness.

11

I would be a billionaire if I was looking to be a selfish boss. That's not me.

10

Periods of tranquillity are seldom prolific of creative achievement. Mankind has to be stirred up.

10

The absolute pacifist is a bad citizen;

times come when force must be used to uphold right, justice and ideals.

10

Seek simplicity but distrust it.

9

The vastest knowledge of today cannot transcend the buddhi of the Rishis in ancient India; and science in its most advanced stage now is closer to Vedanta than ever before.

9

Education should turn out the pupil with something he knows well and something he can do well.

8

Seek simplicity, and distrust it.

8

It does not matter what men say in words, so long as their activities are controlled by settled instincts. The words may ultimately destroy the instincts; but until this has occurred, words do not count.

8

The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment.

8

The science of pure mathematics, in its modern developments, may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit.

7

Rationalism is an adventure in the clarification of thought.

7

Human nature loses its most precious quality when it is robbed of its sense of things beyond, unexplored and yet insistent.

7

Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.

7

Every really new idea looks crazy at first.

7
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