„Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings.“

—  Alfred Korzybski, Manhood of Humanity (1921), Context: Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time-binding capacity of their fellow men and women. One has to stop and think! There is nothing mystical about the fact that ideas and words are energies which powerfully affect the physico-chemical base of our time-binding activities. Humans are thus made untrue to "human nature." … The conception of man as a mixture of animal and supernatural has for ages kept human beings under the deadly spell of the suggestion that, animal selfishness and animal greediness are their essential character, and the spell has operated to suppress their REAL HUMAN NATURE and to prevent it from expressing itself naturally and freely. p. 71. Chapter: What is Man?
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Alfred Korzybski1
1879 - 1950
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Barend Cornelis Koekkoek photo

„The free artist must also have the spunk to tear himself away from his first ideas, for experience teaches us that these [ideas] are not always pure, but often false.“

—  Barend Cornelis Koekkoek painter from the Northern Netherlands 1803 - 1862
Herinneringen aan en Mededeelingen van…' (1841), (original Dutch, citaat van B.C. Koekkoek:) De vrije kunstenaar moet ook den moed bezitten zich van zijn eersten ideën te kunnen losrukken, want de ondervinding leert ons, dat dezelve niet altijd zuiver, ja dikwijls valsch zijn. p. 101

Simone Weil photo

„My purpose here is to denounce an idea which seems to be dangerous and false.“

—  Simone Weil French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist 1909 - 1943
On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God (1968), Context: My purpose here is to denounce an idea which seems to be dangerous and false. … Revolutionary trade unionists and orthodox communists are at one in considering everything that is purely theoretical as bourgeois. … The culture of a socialist society would be a synthesis of theory and practice; but to synthesize is not the same as to confuse together; it is only contraries that can be synthesized. … Marx’s principal glory is to have rescued the study of societies not only from Utopianism but also and at the same time from empiricism. … Humanity cannot progress by importing into theoretical study the processes of blind routine and haphazard experiment by which production has so long been dominated. … The true relation between theory and application only appears when theoretical research has been purged of all empiricism. “The teaching of mathematics,” p. 71-72

Henri Barbusse photo

„The idea of motherland is not a false idea, but it is a little idea, and one which must remain little.“

—  Henri Barbusse French novelist 1873 - 1935
Light (1919), Ch. XX The Cult, Context: The idea of motherland is not a false idea, but it is a little idea, and one which must remain little. There is only one common good. There is only one moral duty, only one truth, and every man is the shining recipient and guardian of it. The present understanding of the idea of motherland divides all these great ideas, cuts them into pieces, specializes them within impenetrable circles. We meet as many national truths as we do nations, and as many national duties, and as many national interests and rights — and they are antagonistic to each other.

Paul Dirac photo

„If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.“

—  Paul Dirac theoretical physicist 1902 - 1984
Context: If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards — in heaven if not on earth — all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins. Remarks made during the Fifth Solvay International Conference (October 1927), as quoted in Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations (1971) by Werner Heisenberg, pp. 85-86; these comments prompted the famous remark later in the day by Wolfgang Pauli: "Well, our friend Dirac, too, has a religion, and its guiding principle is "God does not exist and Dirac is His prophet." Variant translations and paraphrases of that comment are listed in the "Quotes about Dirac" section below.

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Iain Banks photo

„“So it’s false.”
“What isn’t?”
“Intellectual achievement. The exercise of skill. Human feeling.”“

—  Iain Banks, Culture series
Culture series, The Player of Games (1988), Chapter 1 “Culture Plate” (p. 5).

Douglas Hofstadter photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“