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Quick chemistry – I mean, nutrition – lesson. There are four kinds of fats: monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. The first two are “good” fats, saturated fat is bad fat and trans fat is by far the worst. Trans fats severely lower your HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and drastically increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which hardens and clogs your arteries, which leads to heart attacks. Oh, and it promotes diabetes, as well.

The United States is the fattest nation on earth. Sixty-five percent of American adults are overweight; 30 percent are obese. According to the American Obesity Association, 127 million Americans are overweight, 60 million Americans are obese and 9 million are “severely obese.” In the decade between 1991 and 2001, obesity figures ballooned along with our own figures: from 12 percent of us being obese in 1991 to 21 percent in 2001. [...] As of fall 2004, obesity is highest in Alabama (28.4 percent) and lowest in Colorado (16 percent). All that mountain climbing and hiking really must be good for you.

Morgan Spurlock from 'Don't Eat This Book'

 

The Big Bang in animal evolution was perhaps the most dramatic event in the history of life on Earth. During this blink of an eye in such history, all the major animal groups found today evolved hard parts and became distinct shapes, simultaneously and for the first time. This happened precisely 543 million years ago, at the beginning of a period in geological history called the Cambrian, and so has become known as the 'Cambrian explosion'

In near-surface waters, such as the angelfish's Amazonian habitat, sunlight exists in the form of a beam like a spotlight, as it does on entry through the Earth's atmosphere. But below these waters the beam formation is broken, and sunlight is scattered in every direction. So here objects are illuminated equally from all directions, and no shadows are cast. A mirror in these waters vanishes from sight because in the mirror one sees only a weak reflection of the environment. The mirror becomes an optical illusion – in the direction of the mirror there appears to be only the background environment, with nothing in the way. In the ocean a silver fish is effectively a mirror. A predator looking directly at a silver-sided, or mirrored fish from below sees only a reflection of the surface. So in the direction of the fish there is ... no fish!

Andrew Parker from 'In The Blink Of An Eye'

 

Besides justifying the transfer of wealth to kleptocrats, institutionalized religion brings two other important benefits to centralized societies. First, shared ideology or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other – by providing them with a bond not based on kinship. Second, it gives people a motive, other than genetic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others. At the cost of a few society members who die in battle as soldiers, the whole society becomes much more effective at conquering other societies or resisting attacks.

Obvious [...] part of the reason for states' triumphs over simpler entities when the two collide is that states usually enjoy an advantage of weaponry and other technology, and a large numerical advantage in population. But there are also two other potential advantages inherent in chiefdoms and states. First, a centralized decision maker has the advantage at concentrating troops and resources. Second, the official religions and patriotic fervor of many states make their troops willing to fight suicidally. The latter willingness is one so strongly programmed into us citizens of modern states, by our schools and churches and governments, that we forget what a radical break it marks with previous human history. Every state has its slogan urging its citizens to be prepared to die if necessary for the state: Britain's “For King and Country,” Spain's “Por Dios y Espana,” and so on. Similar sentiments motivated 16-th century Aztec warriors: “There is nothing like death in war, nothing like the flowery death so precious to Him {The Aztec national god Huitzilopochtli} who gives life: far off I see it, my heart years for it!”

Jared Diamond from "Guns, Germs, and Steel"

 

" We need protection from our own multi-millionaire, corporate terrorists, the ones who rip off our old-age pensions, destroy the environment, deplete irreplaceable fossil fuels in the name of profit, deny us our right to universal health care, takes peoples' jobs away whenever the mood hits them. What do you call a 19 percent increase in the homeless and the hungry from 2001 to 2002? Are these not acts of terrorism? Do they not cost lives? Is it not all part of a calculated plan to inflict pain on the poor and the working poor, just so that a few rich men can get even richer?"

Michael Moore from "Dude, Where's My Country"


 

"We are going to die and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. […] Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton . We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. [...] [T]here is more to personal identity than genes, as identical twins (who separate after the moment of fertilization) show us."

Richard Dawkins from "Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and The Appetite For Wonder"

 

"the opposite of 'injustice' is not 'justice,' but 'love'"

 Lawrence LeShan from "How to Meditate"

 

"The implications of directed neuroplasticity combined with quantum physics cast new light on the question of humankind's place and role, in nature. At its core, the new physics combined with the emerging neuroscience suggests that the natural world evolves through an interplay between two causal processes. The first includes the physical processes we are all familiar with - electricity streaming gravity pulling. The second includes the contents of our consciousness including volition. The importance of this second process cannot be overstated, for it allows human thoughts to make a difference in the evolution of physical events."

Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley from "The Mind & The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force"

 

"The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals 'utility' or the 'greatest happiness principle' holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. (...)

It must be admitted, however, that utilitarian writers in general have placed the superiority of mental over bodily pleasures chiefly in the greater permanency, safety uncostliness, and so on, of the former - that is, in their circumstantial advantages rather than in their intrinsic nature. (...)

Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. (...)

A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type; but in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence. (...)

It may be objected that many who are capable of the higher pleasures occasionally, under the influence of temptation, relegate them to the lower. But this is quite compatible with a full appreciation of the intrinsic superior of the higher. Men often, from weakness of character, make their choice for the nearer good, thought they know it to be the less valuable.

But I do not believe that those who undergo this very common change voluntarily choose the lower description of pleasures in preference to the higher. I believe that, before they devote themselves exclusively to the one, they have already become incapable of the other."

John Stuart Mill from "Utilitarianism"

 

"Altruism, compassion, empathy, love, conscience, the sense of justice-all of these things, the things that hold society together, the things that allow our species to think so highly of itself, can now confidently be said to have a firm genetic basis. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, although these things are in some ways blessings for humanity as a whole, they didn’t evolve for the “good of the species” and aren’t reliably employed to that end. Quite the contrary: it is now clearer than ever how (and precisely why) the moral sentiments are used with brutal flexibility, switched on and off in keeping with self-interest; and how naturally oblivious we often are to this switching. In the new view, human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse."

Robert Wright from "The Moral Animal: Why We Are The Way We Are: The New Science Of Evolutionary Psychology"

 

"The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labor, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seems to have been the effects of the division of labor..."

Adam Smith from "The Wealth of Nations"

 

"No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed against permitting a legislature or an executive, not identified in interest with the people, to prescribe opinions to them and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear."

John Stuart Mill from "On Liberty"

 

"It is easier to write ten volumes of philosophy than to put one principle into practice."

Leo Tolstoy in Stefan Zweig, "Tolstoy: Struggle for Realization," Master Builders: A Typology of the Spirit

 

"Personality can never develop unless the individual chooses his own way, consciously and with moral deliberation."

Carl G. Jung from "The Development of Personality"

 

"The State, its laws, its arrangements, are the rights of its members; its natural features, its mountains, air and waters are their country, their fatherland, their outward material property; the history of this State, their deeds..."

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel from "The Philosophy of History - The Idea of The State"

 

"Nothing at first can appear more difficult to believe than that the more complex organs and instincts have been perfected, not by means superior to, though analogous with, human reason, but by the accumulation of innumerable slight variations, each good for the individual possessor."

Charles Darwin from "The Origin of Species"

 

"It has been objected, that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us."

Kark Marx and Friedrich Engels from "The Communist Manifesto"

 

"The aim of this society is the triumph of the principle of revolution in the world, and consequently the radical overthrow of all presently existing religious, political, economic and social organizations and institutions and the reconstitution first of Europeans and subsequently of the world society on the basis of liberty, reason, justice and work."

Michael Bakunin from "Anarchism"

 

"It is the very essence of our striving for understanding that, on the one hand, it attempts to encompass the great and complex variety of man's experience, and that on the other, it looks for simplicity and economy in the basic assumptions."

Albert Einstein from "My Views"

 

"There was a path that led from violence to right or law. What was that path? It is my belief that there was only one: the path which led by way of the fact that the superior strength of a single individual could be rivaled by the union of several weak ones."

Sigmund Freud to Albert Einstein on "Why War?"

 

"What is understood, need not be discussed."

Loren Adams

 

"It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend of his faults.... To speak painful truth through loving words — that is friendship."

Henry Ward Beecher from "Life Thoughts"