Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten Thought-Provoking Quotes

quotation-marksI'm fascinated by quotations. It's one thing to make your point in a paragraph, a chapter, or a book. But it's quite another thing to thoroughly articulate a philosophy in only a sentence or two.

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities. - Aldous Huxley
I've heard it said in so many ways- in order to find contentment you need to stop consciously searching for it. Live a good life, and with luck, happiness will come to you, probably in a form you did not expect.

Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness. - Cullen Hightower
Ignorance loves company!

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. - George F. Will
I wouldn't call myself a pessimist, but rather a skeptic or a realist, which are just gradations of the same perspective. For example, many MS patients hear about potential treatments and instantly make the leap to HOPEFUL. I, on the other hand, prefer to maintain a healthy skepticism about potential treatments like CCSVI. I research the issue. I even submit to the treatment, all the while accepting that it may or may not work for me. In this way, my skepticism will either be proven (consolation prize), or I'll actually see some benefit (grand prize). But I won't get my hopes up, only to have them come crashing down. Although I am motivated by a general sense of hope, I am careful not to go “all in” on any specific prospect.

Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window, except that the birds might eat them. - Dr. Martin Henry Fischer
I like this quote because it speaks to my growing dissatisfaction with the medical establishment, especially the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma does exactly what they're designed to do, which is to maximize profits instead of patient well-being. So it's not the companies that are broken; it is the system. The companies endeavor to meet their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, within the constraints of the law- end of story. It's just that, and I hate to say this as a committed free-market advocate, capitalism simply is not the appropriate instrument to provide patients with the best drugs, treatments, and cures. Yet, I fear the situation would only be worse if the government ran the pharmaceutical industry. What a dilemma.

Most advances in science come when a person for one reason or another is forced to change fields. - Peter Borden
Today, interventional radiologists and other vascular specialists, because of CCSVI, are interested in what has always been considered a neurologist’s disease- multiple sclerosis.

Seek simplicity, and distrust it. - Alfred North Whitehead
Occam's razor is a principal which recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, or in essence, offers the simplest solution. This speaks to the first half of the above quote.

Yet, common sense and human experience tell us that if something is too good to be true, perhaps too simple, then we should distrust it. This speaks to the second half of the quote.

I love quotes like this, only five words long, which shed light on an essential human paradox.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. - Bertrand Russell
Everyone knows that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, or is it? The popularity of a hypothesis does not render it legitimate.

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. - James F. Byrnes
This is another quote that speaks to a basic conundrum of human existence. If we live our lives too conservatively, we may avoid the great negative results but also the significant positive results. Each individual seems to be preprogrammed with one tendency or the other. Due mostly to my internal wiring, and perhaps somewhat due to my personal experiences, I am uncomfortable with too much safety and more inclined toward taking what I consider a reasonable amount of risk. To each his own.

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. - Douglas Adams
I have a particular interest in the "why am I here" quotes, especially humorous ones.

And I'll leave you with this unsatisfying quote:
1. Never tell everything at once. - Ken Venturi

1 comment:

  1. Oh.. huge collection of nice quotes.
    Here is one for you
    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."