There are few professions whose primary objective is to advance the cause of humanity rather than simply to make money or accrue power. Among this limited group of humanitarians I would number teachers, nurses, bookstore owners, and bartenders.— Jack McDevitt
The most colossal Jack McDevitt quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
It is not faith per se that creates the problem;
it is conviction, the notion that one cannot be wrong, that opposing views are necessarily invalid and may even be intolerable.
The real problem has to do with the inability by people to admit that a position they've held a long time might be wrong. That's all. Not that it is. Just that it might be. I don't know why it is, but we tend to fall in love with things we believe, Threaten them, and you threaten us.
Faith has its price. When misfortune strikes the true believer, he assumes he has done something to deserve punishment, but isn't quite certain what. The realist, recognizing that he lives in a Darwinian universe, is simply grateful to have made it to another sunset.
There's not much to be said for sightseeing.
You go somewhere that has a waterfall. You have a beer, watch the water go over the edge, and move on. Tours are all the same. In the end, the only thing that matters is the beer.
The uplifters are forever running around telling blockheads they would do better if they would believe in themselves. But they already do. That is why they are blockheads.
The measure of a civilization is in the courage, not of its soldiers, but of its bystanders.
... the truth is that when your people don't tell you what you need to know, it's a failure of leadership.
Idiots are not responsible for what they do.
The real guilt falls on rational people who sit on their hands while morons run wild. You can opt out if you want to. Play it safe. But if you do, don't complain when the roof comes down.
Put the money into schools. Rational ones that train young minds to think, to demand that persons in authority show the evidence for the ideas they push. Do that, and we won't need to provide a world for the Sacred Brethren who, given the opportunity, would run everyone else off the planet.
Truth, beaten down, may well rise again.
But there's a reason it gets beaten down. Usually, we don't like it very much.
The cultures we can look at had already grasped the essential unity of nature.
No board of gods can survive that knowledge.
Sometimes the cost of integrity is the loss of a friend.
Most of us sleepwalk through our lives.
We take all its glories, its wine, food, love, and friendship, its sunsets and its stars, its poetry and fireplaces and laughter, for granted. We forget that experience is not, or should not be, a casual encounter, but rather an embrace. Consequently, for too many of us, when we come to the end, we wonder where the years have gone. And we suspect we have not lived.
All of the important things ... will turn out to be universally shared. It's why there will be no true aliens.
Solitude is only a good idea if you have the right people along to share it.
When things go wrong, the standard management strategy is to decide who takes the blame. This should be an underling, as far down the chain as possible, but preferably with some visibility so people know management means business.
People who wear their religion on their sleeves talk a lot about going to Sunday school, reading the Bible, and doing good works. And I suppose there's no harm in that. But if I'd gone to the trouble to pull all this together ... and people never paid any attention to it, never bothered to try to find out how the world worked, then I think I'd get annoyed.
The problem is that too often the only people who can act don't want change.
Power doesn't so much corrupt as it breeds conservatism.
Man has always seen himself the peak of creation.
The part of the universe that thinks. The purpose for it all. It's no doubt a gratifying view, but the universe may have a different opinion.
So long as men and women are free, no one is safe.
People will be in danger because others can't operate vehicles responsibly or shoot straight. Because physicians are sometimes incompetent and lawyers dishonest. But most of all they will be in danger from ideas. It is the price we willingly pay to be free. Nor would we have it any other way.
One could not always put safety up front as the prime goal.
Do that, and who would ever achieve anything of note?
Of course, they (i. e., demons) had always been observed with some regularity, but that could usually be ascribed to an overabundance of piety or wine or imagination. Take your pick.
It can provide horrendous weapons to idiots.
Universal deities ... never seem to smile. Not in any culture. What's the point of having omnipotence if you don't enjoy it?
If you're paying attention to your wardrobe, Rudy believed, your mind isn't sufficiently occupied.
The queen of virtues is the recognition of one's own flaws.
Certain types of decisions can be safely ignored.
Some issues will go away with the passage of time, others will be so slow developing that the decision-makers will depart before the results of their neglect becomes manifest. Which brings us to the environment.
If you want data to survive, carve it in rock.
An optimist is somebody who thinks our various political and social systems, schools and churches, support groups and Boy Scout troops, jury trials and congressional committees, are on the up-and-up. That they are intended for the benefit of the members. The reality is that they are designed to keep everyone in line.
Tides are like politics. They come and go with a great deal of fuss and noise, but inevitably they leave the beach just as they found it. On those few occasions when major change does occur, it is rarely a good news.
Talking with most people usually involves a search for truth.
Talking with congressmen is strictly special effects.
Decisions are always made with insufficient information.
If you really knew what was going on, the decision would make itself.
Life is a walk in the fog. Most people don't know that. They're fooled by the sunlight into thinking they can see what's ahead. But it's the reason they are forever getting lost or falling into ditches or committing matrimony.
So long as you believe in some truth you do not believe in yourself.
You are a servant. A man of faith.
How does it happen that the most intractable types always rise to the top?
If you're right, and nobody really cares what's out there, I wonder whether we're even worth saving.
Faith is conviction without evidence, and sometimes even in the face of contrary evidence. In some quarters, this quality is perceived as a virtue.
Courage is perhaps our most admirable trait.
The man, or woman, who possesses it is able to plunge ahead, despite dangers, despite warnings, despite hazards of all kinds, to attack the task at hand. Often, it is indistinguishable from stupidity.
We could never know who we truly were until we heard the whispers of the stars.
I'm prepared to concede that stupidity does not help survival.
One must after all understand not to poke a tiger with a stick. But intelligence leads to curiosity, and curiosity has never been a quality that helps one pour his or her genes into the pool. The truth must lie somewhere between. Whatever the reason, it is clearly mediocrity, at best, that lives and breeds.
Somewhere we taught ourselves that our opinions are more significant than the facts. And somehow we get our egos and our opinions and Truth all mixed up in a single package, so that when something does challenge one of the notions to which we subscribe, we react as if it challenges us.
Katie commented that Americans had lost the ability to enjoy themselves.
"We watch television," Dave said.
Show me what a people admire, and I will tell you everything about them that matters.
But, come to think of it, there was no need to wait. Time travelers don't have to wait for anybody.
There is no justice. There are occasional acts of vengeance, or regret, but there's no real justice. In the natural scheme of things, it is not possible.
People tend to believe that good fortune consists of equal parts talent, hard work, and sheer luck. It's hard to deny the roles of the latter two. As to talent, I would only say it consists primarily in finding the right moment to step in.
Throughout our long and sorry history it has been men who supposed themselves to be exemplars of integrity who have done all the damage. Every crusade, whether for decent literary standards or to cover women's bodies or to free the holy land, had been launched, endorsed, and enthusiastically perpetrated by men of character.
So we have progressed to the point where we can move politicians around faster than light. I'm not sure I see the advantage.
See what the world looks like from orbit.
Well, in that way, at least, there was profit to be had. Nobody could look down at the planet, green and blue, with no borders in evidence and no sign of human habitation, and not get his perspective forever altered.