Back to Observations by Topic

The Most Popular Observations + our Neglected Favourites.


Every now and then, we google the name "Dr. Idel Dreimer" – simply to find out whether Google is paying any attention to us. We go as quickly as possible to the last page available, and then click on the option which promises to give us "all results."

When Google shows us forty pages of references to Dr. Dreimer, we are mightily pleased; if Google shows only twenty-eight, we simply conclude that Google has become exceedingly lazy, or displays shockingly poor judgment in determining what is important in the world.

Our next step is to see if any of our Observations -- the ones planted in the Quote Garden -- have been plucked for display on other sites. We assume that these are the most "popular."

Here is an approximate list:

0. Art is man’s challenge to Time, his rebuke to Chaos; the protest will survive neither the triumph of fire, nor the finality of ice -- but it is better than the silence of consent.

96. Money is like water: in sufficient volume, it erodes the bedrock of principle, and cuts its own channel.

83. Money that is obtained without effort is spent without conscience.

692. Just as the old, looking back, idealize the past, so the young, looking forward, idealize the future. Illusion is the stuff of memory -- and is at the heart of hope.

534. The level path is easy, but it will not bring you to the mountaintop.

612. The trouble with brains is -- they are so easily washed.

651. Gazing at the stars will not save you from the abyss at your feet.

712. You may not hit a home run -- but that's no reason to stop swinging.

729. Reality is always the dowdy sister to Fancy.

888. If a tribe becomes too rational — perhaps it will always succumb to the tribe that has the determination that only blind belief can confer.

462. Certainty is most passionate in the absence of evidence.

586. It's a cruel world: idealistic dreams usually end up costing as much as regular stupidity.

375. Fond faith thrives best in rich deceptive soil --
        Where knaves sow dreams that witless fools embroil.

168. When equality is the aim, mediocrity is the result; when excellence is the aim, equality finds its true place.

279. Most will give up an acre of freedom for a closet of security.

520. Religion is speculation pretending to be revelation.

709. It's better to be perfectly useful than uselessly perfect.

160. Try to look on the bright side of things; if the bright side is not immediately evident, keep looking. It is better to be busy than depressed.

596. Religion is concerned with how the world should work; science with how the world does work.

550. No mourning can heal the wound of neverness.

502. The universe is a great mystery. You can make up as many happy and flattering stories about the mystery as you want. They are still just stories-- and the mystery is still a mystery.

139. Where there are gaps in knowledge, religion tends to seep in.

766. Ice cream – the great melter of all resolve.

674. Happiness is always the serendipitous result of looking for something else.

791. The universe is a great mystery-- but there seems to be an irresistible impulse to explain it in human terms -- with distinctly human Gods inordinately preoccupied with their precious human creations. Objectively, this inclination seems to betray an infantile self-absorption. Why should the universe care more about homo sapiens than elephants, or jaguars, or some other life form elsewhere in its undefined vastness? Isn't it about time we grew up?

441. Religion is superstition made respectable by tradition.



Our Personal Favourites

These are about eighty favourite observations which do not appear in The Quote Garden, or are blooms which do appear but have not seemed worthy of plucking for re-plantation elsewhere. We do not claim they should be popular -- we just find them either useful or in some way appealing.

8. If, in the interests of an ideal circumstance, single-celled organisms had chosen equality as the ultimate good, then the present population of the world would consist entirely of single-celled organisms.

47. While it may not be appropriate in every venue, and on every occasion, mockery is the guardian of reason, the enemy of pretension, and the mirror to folly. No belief, no passion, no commitment should be considered immune from the acerbic test of ridicule.

84. In the fashioning of any government enterprise, efficacy is but a footnote to empire.

97. No principle
      Is invincible
      In the flow
      Of big dough.

108. The universe is just God, struggling to create himself.

197. Life is not so much like a novel, in which each chapter informs the next, and the hero is wiser at the end; rather, it is like a series of echoing but enigmatic haiku, with the last no more revealing than the first.

225. Beware those who claim to know the "mind" of "God:" they are deluded or evil, fools or liars.

239. Power, once possessed, is never relinquished except under delusion or necessity.

243. Being on the side of the angels allows for many a pact with the devil.

275. The propensity of porkers is to pan pearls.

321. Pretending there is no abyss will not repeal the law of gravity.

356. While science has shed considerable light on dark prejudices, and social views have altered accordingly, religion clings, like a rather desperate limpet, to a rock of ‘certitudes’ made untenable in the rising tide of knowledge.

367. To limit freedom of speech in the hope that none will ever be offended is a blighted seed – a precursor of decay. Its flower is a failure of honesty, its fruit -- the imprisonment of the mind.

393.  Self-delusion: short term self-protection in exchange for longer term self-destruction.

407. A concerted attempt to shield people from experiencing hurt feelings may appear noble; but a price is paid in the coin of freedom, and in the currency of truth.

410. If man was made in the image of God, God must have started as a single-celled organism.

416. The claim that something should be beyond criticism is a sure sign of its inadequacy.

430 Some cling to religion as the infallible source of morality; in fact, religions – which are created by societies – encapsulate the moral values already established and inherent in those societies. The appeal to religious values is simply an appeal to tradition dressed up as divinity.

447. In the pigsty of reality – always the cruel hope of a silk purse.

474. The gloomy notion of original sin has been replaced with the happy presumption of original goodness. During the process, human nature has remained unchanged.

492. Ideals are often like the Sirens of mythology – a seductively attractive lure to shipwreck.

522. Climate "science:" the wolf of politics wearing grandma’s lab coat.

539. The determined pretence that tribal – that is cultural – differences are unimportant is one of the chief follies of the age.

566. "Tolerance" becomes totalitarian when it denies the right to criticize.

572. Herds may do much ill-considered and foolish trampling; the choice between being a trampling fool -- or a wise man trampled -- is not difficult to make.

573. Equality is not in the natural blueprint of things. Thus it will not be found among living creatures.

582. Political correctness values feelings over facts, fiction over freedom.

657. The greatest threat to freedom in the West is political correctness – the despotism disguised as virtue.

670. Religion – an intellectual colouring book for adults.

687. The term "affirmative action" suggests that a re-naming of the Devil will alter the nature of his deeds.

701. Political correctness – a gloss of lipstick on the snout of truth.

706. A refusal to face reality allows it to stab you in the back.

726. Celebrity does not preclude stupidity.

740. Inequality is at the heart of change, life, and progress. Only dead things have a remote chance of being considered equal.

770. What does work is often disdained – because it fails to support the idea of what should work.

801. Socialism is based on the premise that human beings would prefer to be ants.

803. There can be no innocence where a feeling is determined to be hurt.

815. Political correctness is an intellectual arsenic in the body politic – a slow, subversive, deadly poison.

817. When enough people share the same insanity, it is considered normal.

838. Some days, we think the world has gone completely mad. On other days, we are absolutely sure of it.

844. Old age: haunted by the past, daunted by the future.

854. The man unwilling to fight for his convictions will find himself at the mercy of those determined to impose their own.

857. Inequality is the bite of the apple – the original sin – both necessary and deplorable – at the heart of all existence.

864. All life flows in a sweeping, deliberate curve – in the inevitable arc of tragedy.

873. Every human society blends the elements of co-operation and competition; they are forces opposite yet complementary -- the yin and yang of the body politic.

883. The best remedy for hurt feelings is not complaint, but accomplishment. 

894. Ideals are for inspiration, not implementation.

909. As long as there is speech, feelings will be hurt.

917. An obstacle is not a roadblock -- it is an inspiration for creative detours.

918. Ingenuity is the child of challenge.

946. Truth is like a skeleton in the closet -- it will rattle its way out eventually.

951. All religion is rubbish. The problem is that the human brain appears to have evolved with a large Rubbish Reception Centre.

961. Success is a target most often hit when the aim is excellence.

970. Laughter arises from the sudden, triumphant perception of incongruity.

979. The more cherished the illusion, the more reviled is the teller of truth.

986. The difference between what is believed and what is known accounts for a world of stupidity.

992. Morality is not divinely revealed, but socially derived. It represents an adjudication between the desires of the individual and the requirements of the tribe. That adjudication may have some universal elements essential to survival, but it may also vary according to beliefs and circumstances. The moral values inspired by the belief that a good harvest depends upon the appeasement of the Gods with human sacrifice differ from those which arise from a belief in the efficacy of a well-designed irrigation system. The values of the tribe under constant threat of attack are unlikely to be identical to those of the tribe which co-exists peacefully with its neighbours. Morality is, essentially, utilitarian rather than holy.

995. That morality is best which allows for the greatest liberty of citizens which is consistent with the well-being of the society of which they are a part.

1003. The older we get, the more we realize that things often go wrong. Thus the impetuousness of youth cools to the caution of age.

1008. Creativity differentiates and isolates; happiness is most often found with the herd.

1029. The indignant response to the sin of cultural appropriation may be likened to laws against blasphemy: they are both attempts to compel reverence where it is not being freely given.

1048. The more ancient the grievance, the more likely it is to become a raison d'ętre, incapable of being appeased.

1050. Morality has nothing to do with God -- and everything to do with social interaction. There is no "morality" for a lone castaway on an uninhabited island. His actions can be considered neither moral nor immoral -- for they affect no one but himself. With the addition of another castaway -- or a troop of monkeys -- the potential for morality -- or immorality -- is introduced.

1089. Tolerance is a poor defence against knavery.

1095. Religion -- the happy marriage of gullibility and mendacity.

1129. Plagiarism: a surprising admission of inadequacy.

1130. When excellence plays second fiddle to diversity, the tune will stink.

1137. It is the unpleasant -- but necessary -- task of the curmudgeon to tell people that what they most desire is either improbable or impossible.

1145. The great political divide has its roots in psychology: Those on the left are idealistic and gullible; those on the right realistic and apprehensive. One side focuses on hopeful intentions, the other on unsatisfactory results.

1160. "Islamophobia" -- the irrational fear of Islam -- scarcely exists. An example would be the belief that agents of Islam are reading our thoughts through the television set. Overwhelmingly, the fear of Islam is perfectly rational -- it is based on the fact that the religion is oppressive and threatening in theory, and is interpreted literally by significant numbers. The attempts to vilify those who fear Islam represent stupidity wearing the mantle of "tolerance."

1166. The secret to a successful murderous dictatorship is to call it socialism.

1175. The Genie of power is notoriously reluctant to return to his bottle.

1190. Political correctness is the new religion -- determined to make up enough commandments to ensure that everyone is a sinner.

1191. Hiding one's face during ordinary social interactions is ridiculous, divisive, and subversive.

1201. Socialism, multiculturalism, and political correctness are all informed by the principle of equality. Since "equality" is an unattainable ideal state, coercion and oppression are intrinsic to all three.

1205. Political correctness is the inedible fruit of unreasonable expectations.

1208. Truth will always be ignored if it challenges a cherished illusion.

1213. We are witnessing a period of self-loathing in western societies which is based on a sense that "equality" is the bedrock reality of the human condition. Using that standard, everything which is "successful" offends the egalitarian moral imperative, and, in that sense, is a failure. Conversely, anything manifestly unsuccessful represents an oppressed virtue in dire need of promotion and respect.

1218. In some music, one hears the metronome of the soul.

1234. Heaven sounds awfully boring -- like rice pudding without the raisins.

1243. Finding something which -- by some elasticity of the imagination -- might be termed "racism" is like discovering a well-travelled broomstick in the garden shed. A gleeful dance of moral triumph around the ritual bonfire is assured.

1252. One of the great -- but largely unacknowledged -- sources of human wisdom is the simple, lowly, bullshit detector.

1258. Meaning is in the moment, not in eternity.

1265. The cultural grievance industry -- like any other -- will fold when it ceases to be profitable.

1276. Tolerance, like enthusiasm, is an attitude not a virtue. Few proclaim moral superiority in their tolerance of random shootings, or their enthusiasm for wife-beating.

1280. Intolerance can be just as virtuous as tolerance: It is better to be intolerant -- rather that tolerant of -- evil, injustice, and stupidity.

1298. The universe has a significant design flaw: our desires and our realities are galaxies apart.