„An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation“

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Jimmy Wales photo

„Simply having rules does not change the things that people want to do. You have to change incentives.“

—  Jimmy Wales Wikipedia co-founder and American Internet entrepreneur 1966
Interview with Reason magazine (June 2007) http://reason.com/news/show/119689.html

William James photo

„A third peculiarity of the assurance state is the objective change which the world often appears to undergo.“

—  William James American philosopher, psychologist, and pragmatist 1842 - 1910
Context: The characteristics of the affective experience which, to avoid ambiguity, should, I think, be called the state of assurance rather than the faith-state, can be easily enumerated, though it is probably difficult to realize their intensity, unless one has been through the experience one's self. The central one is the loss of all the worry, the sense that all is ultimately well with one, the peace, the harmony, the willingness to be, even though the outer conditions should remain the same. The certainty of God's 'grace,' of 'justification,' 'salvation,' is an objective belief that usually accompanies the change in Christians; but this may be entirely lacking and yet the affective peace remain the same — you will recollect the case of the Oxford graduate: and many might be given where the assurance of personal salvation was only a later result. A passion of willingness, of acquiescence, of admiration, is the glowing centre of this state of mind. The second feature is the sense of perceiving truths not known before. The mysteries of life become lucid, as Professor Leuba says; and often, nay usually, the solution is more or less unutterable in words. But these more intellectual phenomena may be postponed until we treat of mysticism. A third peculiarity of the assurance state is the objective change which the world often appears to undergo. 'An appearance of newness beautifies every object,' the precise opposite of that other sort of newness, that dreadful unreality and strangeness in the appearance of the world, which is experienced by melancholy patients, and of which you may recall my relating some examples. This sense of clean and beautiful newness within and without one is one of the commonest entries in conversion records. Lecture X, "Conversion, concluded"

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Julius Caesar photo

„Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in war, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.“

—  Julius Caesar Roman politician and general -100 - -44 a.C.
The Civil War, Book III, 68; variant translation: "In war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes."

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Niklaus Wirth photo
Alexander H. Stephens photo
Viktor E. Frankl photo
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Rick Warren photo
Winston S. Churchill photo

„To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.“

—  Winston S. Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1874 - 1965
Winston Churchill (June 23, 1925), His complete speeches, 1897–1963, edited by Robert Rhodes James, Chelsea House ed., vol. 4 (1922–1928), p. 3706. During a debate with Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden. Often misquoted as: To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe photo
Barack Obama photo

„That’s precisely what the founders left us: the power to adapt to changing times. They left us the keys to a system of self-government – the tool to do big and important things together that we could not possibly do alone.“

—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
Context: That’s precisely what the founders left us: the power to adapt to changing times. They left us the keys to a system of self-government – the tool to do big and important things together that we could not possibly do alone. To stretch railroads and electricity and a highway system across a sprawling continent. To educate our people with a system of public schools and land grant colleges, including Ohio State. To care for the sick and the vulnerable, and provide a basic level of protection from falling into abject poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth. To conquer fascism and disease; to visit the Moon and Mars; to gradually secure our God-given rights for all our citizens, regardless of who they are, what they look like, or who they love.  We, the people, chose to do these things together. Because we know this country cannot accomplish great things if we pursue nothing greater than our own individual ambition.  Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner.  You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted. We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours.  As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government.  The founders trusted us with this awesome authority. We should trust ourselves with it, too. Because when we don’t, when we turn away and get discouraged and abdicate that authority, we grant our silent consent to someone who’ll gladly claim it.

Douglass C. North photo