Back to Observations

 Most Popular Observations + our Neglected Favourites.


We occasionally google our name to see if any of our Observations -- the ones planted in the Quote Garden -- have been plucked for display on other sites. Some of them appear under the heading: Images for dr. idel dreimer. We assume that these are the most "popular."

Here is an approximate list:

63. Adversity and failure are woven into the fabric of existence; without them, there can be neither test of mettle nor triumph of success.

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

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

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.

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

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

291. Disappointment is as inevitable as hope is necessary.

406.  “Science” is one of the most dangerous words in the English language. It suggests the authority of facts, and the reliability of evidence. But too often “science” is a gloved puppet worn on the hand of human motive.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

729. Reality is always the dowdy sister to Fancy.

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

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

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

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

1279. Tolerance may be viewed as an empathetic sensitivity, a foolish appeasement, or an enablement of evil. Its virtue is determined by its direction.

1785. Perfection is incompatible with change, and hence with the pulse of life.

1831. We yearn for meaning – but all we get is experience.

1877. The truth is often impolite

From www.askatheists.com:

1471. Nobody has all the answers -- but questions are essential. Nothing further will be discovered by those who find truth in fantasy -- and stop asking questions.

1996. The conventional, hopeful construction of "God" requires a clinical re-assessment. It is claimed he created this world of ruthless predation -- where most life forms must survive by eating others. He then appears to the top predator, and -- in return for reverence, obsequious praise, and undying devotion -- offers a compensatory escape -- paradisal and eternal -- from the unsavoury cauldron. No -- not just yet -- only when you are -- conveniently -- dead. The gullible murmur "saviour." The narrative says "psychopath."

1839. Belief in nonsense can be a powerful force. The lack of facts and logic requires an over-compensation in steely stubbornness and desperate determination.

1714. The development of varied, extraordinarily complex, conscious living creatures from inanimate matter is nothing less than miraculous. But there is nothing inherently moral about the process or the result. Most living creatures are caught up in a ruthless scheme of necessary murder -- and morality is a rather rare concept derived from the lives of a few of the most complex creatures who live in social groups. The great error of religion is to assume that what is miraculous must also be moral. It simply isn't.

1377. Religion is such a boon! When you think you know the mind of God, you can put your own at rest. Then it can -- and often does -- remain happily inactive for a lifetime!

1379. The atheist cannot prove that "God" does not exist -- but why should he have to? Surely it is up to those who insist that we respect God's infinite wisdom and perfect knowledge to perform the minimal comforting courtesy -- to make the token nod to reason -- by proving -- first -- that he does exist.

1377. Religion is such a boon! When you think you know the mind of God, you can put your own at rest. Then it can -- and often does -- remain happily inactive for a lifetime!

1341. Perfection is incompatible with change; there is a certain prudent practicality -- or unacknowledged irony -- in the religious notion that you have to be dead to experience it.

1295. The choice is clear: to live with the uncomfortable truth -- that the universe is a great mystery whose origin and secrets we may never fully understand -- or to subscribe to a comforting lie -- that the universe was created solely for our benefit by a species-obsessed deity whose thoughts on every conceivable subject have been -- and continue to be -- accurately divined by self-proclaimed human intermediaries. It's a choice between reasonable calm -- pursuing the truth by sticking to the evidence -- and pathetic bluster -- the manufacturing of an unreasonable conclusion.

1386. Many believe that without God, there can be no morality. But without men, there can be no Gods. Gods are mere reflectors -- they mirror the moralities of men.

1321. Complex things do not begin with complexity, but with simplicity; that is why "God" is an unconvincing ultimate first cause for the universe -- he is never described as simple -- but always in terms of a powerful "divine" complexity.


Our Personal Favourites

These are about 160 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.

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

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

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.

726. Celebrity does not preclude stupidity.

737. If you don't understand the cause of the problem -- your solution will become part of it.

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'être, 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.

1336. "Affirmative action" -- and all endeavours based on that template -- embrace a signal perversity: the remedy for injustice is further injustice.

1338. Nostalgia Quotient: the number of tomorrows you would give up to relive a yesterday.

1371. Multiculturalism is a fine theoretical concept which ignores both the reality of instinctive human tribalism, and the fact of antithetical cultural values.

1374. Those in favour of "open borders" have -- reportedly -- been reluctant to provide public access to their own fenced gardens.

1386. Many believe that without God, there can be no morality. But without men, there can be no Gods. Gods are mere reflectors -- they mirror the moralities of men.

1395. Gods come with a variable -- but always limited -- warranty. The devout Christian or Muslim of today -- would -- as a citizen of ancient Egypt, China, or Peru -- have had a similar commitment to Gods now long past their expiry dates.

1398. Optimism is both useful and natural; it is also the nose-ring by which the masses are led to folly.

1421. Certainty in the absence of evidence is the great inspirational strength -- and the great moral weakness -- at the heart of any religion.

1422. With enough dedication and perseverance -- success is assured; you may not achieve your goal -- but you will discover the difference between fantasy and reality.

1428. Morality has no need of Gods -- it is socially derived -- a clause in every social contract. There is no practical morality for the lone castaway on a desert island -- for he can neither be sinned against nor sinning.

1459. "Diversity is our strength" -- a phrase used by politicians in the belief that, with sufficient repetition, an attractive lie will acquire the lustre of unimpeachable truth.

1465. The human condition assures moral failure: too earnest a pursuit of perfection -- which is ultimately unattainable -- involves a degree of heartlessness -- the zeal of puritanical oppression; a lax or less committed approach suggests complacency in the face of evil -- the lack of a moral compass.

1494. Protect us from the idealists -- for their good intentions and gullibility will lead us to the inferno.

1509. In the garden of governments, democracy is the fragile orchid -- dictatorship the ineradicable dandelion.

1511. Cynicism is the armour of the wounded idealist.

1515. Creativity is the willingness to experiment.

1527. Sometimes stupidity is just as bad as evil.

1575. The struggle gives success its savour.

1579. What sounds good and what works inhabit different universes.

1587. In the current age, the signalling of virtue is more important than achieving it.

1621. Every ideal has an inner jackboot.

1640. The egalitarian society is a utopian dream. There will always be elites of wealth, power, influence, talent, creativity, sophistication, and intellectual accomplishment. The goal should be that the barriers to success in any sphere be minimized.

1646. Much evil is done in the name of virtue.

1653. Freedom from religion is more important than freedom of religion -- just as the right to peace and quiet must trump the right to play loud, repetitive, unpleasant music.

1660. The kryptonite for equality is change.

1688. To hold that men are equal is an insulting over-simplification -- it represents a false accusation of uniformity among beings complex, varied, and uniquely different.

1700. Wisdom lies in the acceptance of the perfectly correct amount of imperfection.

1704. There can hardly be a more certain way of ensuring resentment against Muslims than by establishing penalties for criticizing their uncompromising and often hostile religion.

1720. A benign dusting of good intentions seems to justify an avalanche of bad results.

1748. Sweden is the canary in the multicultural coal mine.

1752. The problem of socialism is the problem of human gullibility.

1781. By holding that feelings are more important than facts, political correctness suggests a radical distortion of the moral compass. The conclusion: "I am angry; therefore I am right," sounds perfectly reasonable.

1791. Political correctness -- which places feelings before facts -- is an attempt to sentimentalize human experience.

1801. Islam is as Islam does.

1800. Being kind to people with bad ideas -- is just another bad idea.

1805. Political correctness must bear the shame of the evils it dares not address.

1813. "Tolernuts:" A tolerance to excess which assumes the equality of all things, and therefore refuses to make moral distinctions or value judgments. It results, paradoxically, in intolerance of any attempt to discriminate on moral grounds, or to claim that some things are better than others, and thus may be said to enable evil, and champion absurdity.    

1831. We yearn for meaning -- but all we get is experience.

1837. The line between idealism and stupidity is often imperceptible.

1842. We live with monsters, dream of angels. The monsters are change, inequality. competitive struggle, and capitalism. The angels are perfection, equality, ordered ease, and socialism. The monsters can -- to some extent -- be tamed for social respectability -- but not slain -- since they are inseparable from the energy that is life. The attempt to breathe life into angels may appear noble, but it creates evils greater than those we already bear.

1850 The price of  tidiness is eternal fussing.

1855. Those who seek to destroy one hierarchy will invariably create another. The form is vulnerable -- not the concept; hierarchy is intrinsic to all existence.

1864. The primary goal of signalling virtue is not to achieve virtue -- but to enhance reputation.

1871. Multiple Cake Syndrome -- the desire to have one's cake and eat it, too -- to pretend that things mutually exclusive are actually compatible -- may be considered a reliable constant in the lexicon of human psychology.

1877. The truth is often impolite.

1884. The human condition is sufficiently imperfect that calls for revolution will always get a sympathetic hearing. Those who favour evolution may be disdained for their caution -- but evolution has an impressive track record.

1906. Capitalism allows for the alignment of self interest and societal prosperity. In the hope of greater societal prosperity, socialism denies self-interest, and achieves social misery. The honey of self-interest works better than the vinegar of coercion.

1912. The inarticulate nincompoop is never a threat -- he is easily identified and dismissed. Far more dangerous is the articulate, plausible, virtue-signalling nincompoop -- who may convince you to share in his stupidity.

1921. Many bad ideas wear the sheen of virtue.

1923. Evil is most successful when it poses as virtue.

1924. In the temple of infinite tolerance, there is no distinction between good and evil -- between devil's curse and angel's prayer. 

1926. Those who seek social justice should be aware of the two extremes -- the justice of function -- which rewards speed, strength, determination, and cunning -- and the justice of being -- which rewards all just for "being" there. The first is the law of the jungle -- which must be modified to gain the benefits of social co-operation. The second is a socialist fantasy -- which ensures dysfunction, de-humanization, and despair.

1927. The justice of function values competition -- it is the law of the jungle. The justice of being pretends to equality -- a state wherein all are rewarded regardless of merit. Civilized justice requires some middle path -- but there is no  map currently on file.

1933. The claim that all men are equal is nonsense -- but often repeated -- because fantasy flatters, and the truth hurts.

1941. The transgender lobby requires us to value feelings over facts -- to deny the observable and defining link between gender and reproductive function. But misfortune should not justify tyrannical impulse, spineless compliance, or compassionate dishonesty. If that were the case,  we would abandon speech to please the deaf, and give up vision to placate the blind.

1942. Placing feelings above facts paves the way for tyranny: the rationale for any position becomes based on emotion -- which is individual, varied, unpredictable -- and -- by definition -- not subject to evidentiary dispute. Anyone who is  aggrieved, angry-- or even homicidal -- may claim an automatic privilege of virtue.

1947. Laws against blasphemy represent admissions of error; they proclaim that some beliefs are so stupid, so vulnerable to criticism, that fear is the only means of protecting them from ridicule. 

1956. Those who are "woke" will soon discover they are not "woke" enough. Impossible standards have no limit to their theoretical requirements of orthodoxy. This phenomenon may be referred to as the inexorable law of unattainable ideals.

1966. Equality cannot survive in a world of freedom or of choice. Freedom implies choice -- and any choice makes a powerful anti-egalitarian statement: some things are better than others.

1967. Buzzwords such as "diversity," inclusivity," and "equality" soothe the ear but cloud the mind. "Diversity" must reject the fact that some ideas work better than others; "inclusivity" cannot reward competence; "equality" must eschew the triumph of excellence. The modern choice -- virtue signalling over virtue creation -- façade over function -- is both restrictive and destructive.

1975. The determination to be a cultural minority carries with it the logical consequence: You will not be in the majority -- as trivial or as consequential as that may be.

1986. Affirmative action policies are discriminatory pigs gussied up with egalitarian lipstick.

1987. No memories more cruel than those of happier times.

1994. In the realm of crystal palace construction -- the law of diminishing -- and ultimately negative -- returns -- is one of the most difficult to accept. The determination to perfect the imperfectible does not result in the slightly imperfect, but in the definitively disastrous.  

2002. It is a great mistake to confuse equality with justice. When things with unequal function are equally valued, justice has deferred to delusion. 

2013. Consistently talking about "white" or "black" culture is a handy short-cut -- but -- dangerously -- it confuses correlation with causation: it suggests a necessary link.  If you believe skin colour is the cause of culture, you perpetuate an unbridgeable divide -- because skin colour is neither chosen nor changeable.

2016. While true racism exists, it is less common than the frequent use of the word suggests. The real cause of the "racial" divide is cultural dissonance. As cultural disparities fade, so "racism" will decline.

2029. The ideal moment is seldom recognized in the present. It seems, most often, to beckon from the future, or to reproach from the past.

2037. Idealism is as idealism does.

2053. Liberty cannot lead to equality, because liberty allows choice. No one who has the freedom to choose the best will choose mere equality.

2062. Life will not give you meaning -- you must give meaning to life.

2069. Slogans and buzzwords are often like leaky buckets: they may look pretty good -- but given the test -- they don't hold water.

2076. Never underestimate the persuasive power of communal irrationality. 

2085. Without hint of ultimate cessation, affirmative action policies reveal the unacknowledged assumption at their core: the favoured groups are inherently inferior, and will never be able to succeed on their own merits; they will require permanent coddling. Thus the "attack" on "racism" is premised on the evil it claims to abhor.

2104. The idea of "cancelling" western culture is a popular delusion. It is the childish impulse of the farmer who thinks that when the goose is dead, the supply of golden eggs will be enhanced.

2112. The great modern folly is to believe that you can have all the advantages of western civilization -- which arise from an emphasis on competition, hierarchy, and competence -- by getting rid of competition, hierarchy, and competence.

2135. Affirmative action is a fraud: it claims to provide the delectable delight -- equality of result -- but deceptively obtained -- with the nauseating sacrifice of equality of opportunity. It is mere mirage -- a three dollar bill plucked from the socialist conjuror's execrable hat.

2136. The idealist would have the lion and gazelle lie down together on the plain, and, gazing at the stars, philosophize about equality. The realist knows that the lion has difficulty discussing such things before dinner.

2138. The occupants of a small lifeboat may have the virtuous instinct to welcome onboard hundreds of other survivors of the sinking ocean liner. But too many will reduce the freeboard and ensure that all will perish.

2146. Lies are like cockroaches -- if you find one, there are more where it came from.

2148. Laughter arises from a sudden, triumphant perception of incongruity. It is agnostic with respect to feelings -- and thus is the bête noir of political correctness.