26 Total Quotes

Lewis Thomas Quotes

Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist

The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one center after another for signs of re recognition, for old memories and old connection.
Lewis Thomas
#Memory

Music is the effort we make to explain to ourselves how our brains work. We listen to Bach transfixed because this is listening to a human mind.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist

The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behavior control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers
Lewis Thomas
#Behavior

We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist #Animals

The only solid piece of scientific truth about which I feel totally confident is that we are profoundly ignorant about nature... It is this sudden confrontation with the depth and scope of ignorance that represents the most significant contribution of twentieth-century science to the human intellect.
Lewis Thomas
#Truth #Ignorance

The great secret of doctors, known only to their wives, but still hidden from the public, is that most things get better by themselves; most things, in fact, are better in the morning
Lewis Thomas
#Wives

Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.
Lewis Thomas
#Embarrassment

The uniformity of earth's life, more astonishing than its diversity, is accountable by the high probability that we derived, originally, from some single cell, fertilized in a bolt of lightning as the earth cooled.
Lewis Thomas
#Life

When committees gather, each member is necessarily an actor, uncontrollably acting out the part of himself, reading the lines that identify him, asserting his identity. We are designed, coded, it seems, to place the highest priority on being individuals, and we must do this first, at whatever cost, even if it means disability for the group.
Lewis Thomas
#Committees And Meetings #Acting And Actors

We are built to make mistakes, coded for error.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist #Mistakes

It hurts the spirit, somehow, to read the word environments, when the plural means that there are so many alternatives there to be sorted through, as in a market, and voted on.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist #Spirit

Human language... prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist #Language

We pass the word around; we ponder how the case is put by different people, we read the poetry; we meditate over the literature; we play the music; we change our minds; we reach an understanding. Society evolves this way . . .
Lewis Thomas
#People

We are a spectacular, splendid manifestation of life. We have language. . . . We have affection. We have genes for usefulness, and usefulness is about as close to a "common goal" of nature as I can guess at.
Lewis Thomas
#Affection

The great secret of doctors, known only to their wives, but still hidden from the public, is that most things get better by themselves; most things, in fact, are better in the morning.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist

The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist

Statistically, the probability of any of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in contented dazzlement of surprise.
Lewis Thomas
#Statistics

If you want to use a cliche you must take full responsibility for it yourself and not try to fob it off on anon., or on society.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist

We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch.
Lewis Thomas
#English Scientist