Social Science Quotes

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” - Noam Chomsky

"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." -  Lord Hewart CJ

"Democracy essentially guarantees a certain level of mediocrity"- Elon Musk

"When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of" - Confucius

"I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult." - Albert Einstein

"Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. -  Albert Einstein

“In living through this ‘great epoch’, it is difficult to reconcile oneself to the fact that one belongs to that mad, degenerate species that boasts of its free will. How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will! In such a place even I should be an ardent patriot!” - Albert Einstein (1914), “Letter to Paul Ehrenfest”, early Dec

"The government you elect is the government you deserve." - Thomas Jefferson

"If you are not a Liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a Conservative at 35, you have no brain." - Winston Churchill

“History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools." - Ambrose Bierce

"You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you" - Pericles

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. “- Churchill

"It's become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity." - Victor Salva

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” -  Noam Chomsky

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

"I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia" - Macaulay

"Are we to keep the people of India ignorant in order that we may keep them submissive? It may be that the public mind of India may expand under our system till it has outgrown that system; that by good government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better government, that, having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not. But never will I attempt to avert or to retard it. Whenever it comes, it will be the proudest day in English history. To have found a great people sunk in the lowest depths of slavery and superstition, to have so ruled them as to have made them desirous and capable of all the privileges of citizens would indeed be a title to glory all our own" - Macaulay

"What is that power worth which is founded on vice, on ignorance, and on misery - which we can hold only by violating the most sacred duties which as governors we owe to the governed - which as a people blessed with far more than an ordinary measure of political liberty and of intellectual light - we owe to a race debased by three thousand years of despotism and priest craft? We are free, we are civilized, to little purpose, if we grudge to any portion of the human race an equal measure of freedom and civilization." - Macaulay

"The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable." - Arundhati Roy

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all" - Oscar Wilde

"Sadly, elections aren't about ideas, they are about candidates" - Billions

"We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." - Robert Houghwout Jackson, USSC

"A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transport" - Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá

"The lottery is a tax on stupid people" - Brian

"Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings." - Lorca

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon Constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no court can save it” – Judge Learned Hand

"Geography is a chorological science and History is a chronological science" - I. Kant

"India is a land of contrasts and the inequality is making the country look more and more like islands of California in a sea of sub-Saharan Africa” - Amartya Sen

“Development is more than  a rise in GDP or greater industrialisation, it is the progress of human freedom and capability to lead the kind of lives that people have reason to value” - Amartya Sen

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses  - especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” - Leonardo Da Vinci

"The problem with evil, is that in real life, it is not necessarily ugly. It can look very beautiful." - Harari

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” - Carl Jung

"One needs to reinvent the stranger (outsider) constantly to keep society alive.” A C Jordan

"It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones." - Nelson Mandela

"Freedom consists of the distribution of power and despotism in its concentration" - Lord Acton

"Money is just an information mechanism for labour allocation" - Elon Musk

"For all I know, by the time this book is published my view of the Soviet regime may be the generally accepted one. But what use would that be in itself? To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record being played at the moment." - George Orwell

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

"Being poor limits ones imagination" - Zhang (LoHP)

"History continues to show us that the universe isn't strange. We are." - Michael Stevens

"Violent, conspiratorial revolution, led by unconsciously power hungry people could only lead to a change in masters" - George Orwell

"The social contract comes alive only when someone is ready to sacrifice for it" - Shiv Visvanathan

"A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognise truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself as well as for others." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Without respect for others, we can't love, and thus give in to our animal impulses." - FD

"The more ardent my general love for Mankind, the more I hate individual people. And vice versa?" - FD

"In a realist, it is never the Miracles that generate faith, but faith that generates miracles" - FD

"Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation." - Henry David Thoreau

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” - not Mahatma Gandhi

"Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead" - Chanakya

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing" - Benjamin Franklin

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." - George Carlin

"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." -  P. C. Hodgell

"Civilized societies do not have thought crimes" - SOL

"The self is a fiction, a kind of story that we tell ourselves." - Westworld

"Justice is not a cloistered virtue but should withstand the respectful scrutiny of people" - Lord Atkins

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" - Issac Asimov

"Pseudo-religious veneration of imperfect people is a reality of human society" - TheCactapus

"Populism denotes a politics of impatience, exasperation... The collective quest is for a larger than life savior to recover the national self. A leviathan demon whose destruction only a messiah is capable of causing. This takes the focus away from Institutions/structures to personalities. Populism offers a biographical solution to structural problems." - Sajjan Kumar

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” - H. G. Wells

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." - Isaac Asimov

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within" - William James "Will" Durant

Yuval Noah Harari

"Gossip is essential for cooperation in large numbers, rumor mongers are the original fourth estate, they inform and protect society from the cheats and freeloaders. Enforce norms." - Noah Harari

"The maximum natural size of a group bonded by gossip is 150" - NH

"Imagined reality or social constructs are not lies, as long as people believe in them, they exist. Money, Human rights, Citizenship, Religion are part of the imagined reality that shape the objective reality around us." - NH

"Creativity is for geniuses, persistence is for the rest of us" - NH

"We didn't domesticate wheat during the agricultural revolution, no the Wheat domesticated us!" - NH

"Luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations" - NH

"Often a dramatic increase in the collective power of the species and it's evolutionary "success" go hand in hand with much individual suffering" - NH

"By giving kids their own room, privacy, autonomy behind closed doors, we are giving material life to Individualism" - NH

"Our most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order" - NH

"In the brain all data is freely associated, while compartmentalisation and bureaucracy  is needed to quickly retrieve the written data. Thus the invention of script has gradually changed the way humans think and view the world." - NH

"Complex societies beyond a certain size seem to require imagined heirarchies and unjust discrimination. They allow for strangers to know how to treat each other in an unequal world." - NH

"Biology enables, Culture forbids" - NH

"The network of artificial instincts that allow for large scale cooperation (by controlling how we behave, what we want, how we think etc) is called Culture." - NH

"Money lets you convert between goods and services, it enables cheap and easy storage and transportation of wealth." - NH

"Money builds universal trust, not in humans but in money itself and the impersonal system that backs it. This corrodes local traditions, intimate relations and human values" - NH

"Religion is a system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in a superhuman order. But only universal and missionary religions are unifiers, most ancient religions were local and exclusive." - NH

"In the last 300 years, theistic religions have increasingly lost their importance. But it's a time of intense religious fervor, unparalleled missionary efforts, bloodiest wars of religion in history when considering natural law religions like liberalism, Capitalism, Communism, Nationalism, etc. Communism is as much a religion as Buddhism." - NH

"Some religions such as Christianity and Nazism have killed millions out of burning hatred. Capitalism has killed millions out of cold indifference coupled with greed. Free market Capitalism cannot ensure profits are gained in ethical ways, growth becomes a supreme good." - NH

"Our modern Capitalistic economy creates credit believing in future growth - discovery of new resources, technology, efficient production. This entire system will eventually collapse since unlimited growth is not possible. The other side of the Invest commandment is Buy, Consumerism completes the circle providing the market for G&S " - NH

"The state and the market are the mother and father of the individual. They provide the food, shelter, education, welfare and employment! After the State intervened in family disputes, the market setting trends which upset tradition. People left their families and intimate communities to become Individuals." - NH

"Imagined community of the State and consumer tribes provide a substitute for the intimate communities. They supply the tribal bonds required" - NH

"Real peace is not the absence of war. It's the implausibility of war" - NH

"Nationalists believe that political self determination is essential for our happiness. Communists postulate that everyone would be blissful under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Capitalists maintain that only the free market can ensure the greatest happiness of the greatest number, by creating economic growth and material abundance and by teaching people to be self realiant and enterprising" - NH

"If we accept that our subjective well being is determined by a complex system of nerves, neurons, synapses and chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. Then as long as our biochemistry does not change, over generations people have not become happier." - NH

"Happiness depends on the correlation between objective conditions and subjective expectations. Mass media and the advertising industry might be unwittingly depleting the globes reservoirs of contentment." - NH

"Happiness is synchronising one's personal delusions of meaning with the prevailing collective delusions" - NH

"According to Buddhism, the root of suffering is the never ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction. The solution is to realise the impermanent nature of all their feelings and stop craving them." - NH

"10k years ago, during the Agricultural Revolution, Sapiens exerted peculiar selective pressures on chickens that caused the fat and slow ones to proliferate. It just so happened to be selective breeding. This is similar to how pollinating bees select colorful flowers" - NH

"Sex is child's play, you can just be born male or female. But gender is serious business, masculine and feminine qualities are cultural rather than biological, no society automatically crowns each male a man or every female a women. Nor are those titles, laurels that can be rested on once they are acquired. They have to prove it constantly, to themselves and others that they they are masculine/feminine enough through an endless series of rites and performances." - NH

"There are no longer natural famines in the world; there are only political famines. If people in Syria, Sudan or Somalia starve to death, it is because some politician wants them to" - NH

"Historians study the past not in order to repeat it, but in order to be liberated from it" - NH

"We cannot avoid being shaped by the past, but history gives us some freedom, to imagine alternative destinies." - NH

"Sensations, emotions and desires are highly refined algorithms, refined over millions of years by self replicating algorithms. The storm of emotions is the process of calculation." - NH.

"Foragers had to ask themselves what the animals dreamt and thought about in order escape from and hunt them. Thus their view of the cosmic compact was very different from the farmers" - NH

"During the Agricultural Revolution, humankind silenced animals and plants and turned the animist grand Opera into a dialogue between man and the gods. During the scientific revolution humankind silenced the gods too!" - NH

"Mind is the flow of subjective experiences, interlinked sensations, emotions and thoughts. This stream of consciousness constantly changes" - NH

"Humans certainly have a will – but it isn’t free. You cannot decide what desires you have... Every choice depends on a lot of biological, social and personal conditions that you cannot determine for yourself. I can choose what to eat, whom to marry and whom to vote for, but these choices are determined in part by my genes, my biochemistry, my gender, my family background, my national culture, etc – and I didn’t choose which genes or family to have." - NH

"Governments and corporations are coming to know the individual better than they know themselves and  if governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will." - NH

"70k ya Sapiens started talking, building the webs of culture, around 12k ya it became possible to feed these groups. 6k ya Ghosts and Spirits became the Gods in the Sumerian cities. 5k ya writing and money let these networks scale further." - NH

"In literate societies people are organised into networks, so that every person is only a small step in a huge algorithm. It is this algorithm as a whole - the bureaucracy which makes all the important decisions" - NH

"Just like the the first nuclear bomb was made by USA, the Egyptian pharaoh built a reservoir and the God Sobek dug canals. These are powerful fictional entities that organised millions of people under common beliefs." - NH

"Monotheists hold onto the infantile delusion that everything that happens is because of him. Like a 5 year old kid unable to comprehend the divorce is not due to him." - NH

"Religion is any all-encompassing story that confers superhuman legitimacy on human laws, norms, and values. It legitimises social structures by arguing that they reflect superhuman laws. These moral laws need not be created be god's, they can also be claimed as natural." - NH

"Religions seek to cement the world order by offering us a well defined contract. In a 'spiritual' journey we doubt conventions and such deals of the mundane world, we seek to escape the worldly order." - NH

"Religion in interested above all in order. It claims to create and maintain the social structure. Science is interested above all in power. As Individuals scientists and priests may give immense importance to the Truth; but the above is true as collective institutions. The uncompromising quest for Truth is a spiritual journey." - NH

"In modernity we gave up meaning for power. We are constrained by nothing except our ignorance." - NH

"The modern world positively requires uncertainty and disturbance. All fixed relations and ancient prejudices are swept away, and new structures become antiquated before they can ossify. It isn't easy to live in such a world, 'tis harder to govern it." - NH

"Humanism looks for answers to ethical questions by using sensitivity to understand these experiences collected over the years. The aim of existence is to distill the widest possible range of experiences into wisdom. To have taken the measure in feeling of everything human. Human experience is the supreme source of authority and meaning." - NH

"Whereas premodern narratives focused on external events and actions such as heroic deeds, the divine etc; modern art emphasizes feelings." - NH

"According to evolutionary humanists, anyone arguing that all human experience are equally valuable is either an imbecile or a coward." - NH

"In reality, there is no inner essence called the "self". There is only a stream of consciousness, and desires arise and pass away within this stream, but there is no permanent self that owns the desires, hence it is meaningless to ask whether I choose my desires deterministically, randomly or freely." - NH

"Decisions reached through a chain reaction of biochemical events, each determined by a previous event are certainly not free. When random accidents combine with determinstic processes, we get probabilistic outcomes. This too doesn't amount to freedom." - NH

"If humans are free then how could natural selection have shaped them? According to the theory of evolution all choices animals make reflect their genetic code. If an animal could "freely" choose what to eat, with whom to mate then natural selection has nothing to work with." - NH

"The left hemisphere is the seat not only of our verbal abilities, but also of an internal interpreter that constantly tries to make sense of our life, using partial clues to concoct plausible stories." - NH

"Your narrating self uses the average of the worst moment and the end moment of any experience to remember it. It uses our experiencing self as raw materials for the self contradictory stories it builds. While these stories shape what the experiencing self feels. Hunger felt during medical fasting, Ramadan and poverty is all very different." - NH

"We cling to dysfunctional marriages, dead end jobs. Govts stick to projects and wars. All because our narrating self would prefer to continue suffering in the future, rather than admit our past suffering was devoid of meaning." - NH

"Genus Homo’s position in the food chain was, until quite recently, solidly in the middle. For millions of years, humans hunted smaller creatures and gathered what they could, all the while being hunted by larger predators. It was only 400,000 years ago that several species of man began to hunt large game on a regular basis, and only in the last 100,000 years – with the rise of Homo sapiens – that man jumped to the top of the food chain." - NH

"That spectacular leap from the middle to the top had enormous consequences. Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into that position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc. As lions became deadlier, so gazelles evolved to run faster, hyenas to cooperate better, and rhinoceroses to be more bad-tempered. In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust. Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump." - NH

"Opinions is free, facts are sacred" - Washington Post

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

"The emergence of the professional politician marks the decline of democracy, since in a true democracy politics should be the privilege and duty of every citizen" - Simon Leys

"Rape is the sexual expression of power and anger" - Men who rape

"Exams rank different levels of mediocrity, that's all. Exceptional people don't do well at them" - S02E01 (The End of the F***ing World)

"The more abstract a truth which one wishes to teach, the more one must first entice the senses" - Nietzsche

“Reading is nothing; comprehension is everything” - Sarah Richards

“All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.” - P.D. James

"Those faced with unpredictable childhoods develop a fast life strategy that emphasizes insecure attachments, immediate gratification, and risky behaviors. Those with a more stable childhood, on the other hand, develop a slow life strategy that emphasizes long-term goals, greater investments, and reduced aggression." - Peter Karl Jonason

"It all adds up to normality." - Greg Egan

"Language is a guide to social reality. Though language is not ordinarily thought of as of essential interest to the students of social science, it powerfully conditions all our thinking about social problems and processes. Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication and reflection. The fact of the matter is that the “real world” is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached." - The Status of Linguistics as a Science, 1929, Edward Sapir

"Intuition aggregates tons of tiny contextual rules and subconsciously processes them to make simple predictions" - Dan

"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach" - Bernard Shaw

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” - Milton Friedman

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

"Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects." - Paulo Freire

"When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say." - George R.R. Martin

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain

“Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was.” - Donald Kingsbury, Courtship Rite

“Men are only as faithful as their options.” - Chris Rock

"It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer" - Benjamin Franklin

“Is this really the cause of your generation? Safe spaces and trigger warnings and microaggressions? That’s the trench you’re willing to die in?” - Sam Harris

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” - Max Planck

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.” - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Ultimately, saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.” - Edward Snowden

Quotes by Anonymous

"Secrecy is the first resort of scoundrels, but only when society has good moral values"

"Suffering is the forge of humility."

"Men guard emotions the way women guard sex."